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City Region Bus Services set for Shake Up

Bold plans to deliver radical improvements in bus services across the Liverpool City Region are being finalised by the region’s combined authority.

The Bus Services Improvement Plan (BSIP) will be a blueprint for delivering improvements designed to encourage more people to travel by bus. The plan is being produced with input from bus operators and local authorities in response to the government’s National Bus Strategy, with the region bidding for a share of £3 billion of national funding.

Building on the existing LCR Vision for Bus, it will drive ambitious plans to provide services that are more frequent, reliable, and affordable while making it easier for passengers to understand and use.

Key areas for investment include frequency improvements, fare reductions, zero emission vehicles and bus lanes.

Alongside work already taking place to reform bus services across the region, with franchising identified as the Combined Authority’s ‘emerging lead option’, the BSIP will help deliver big improvements to bus journeys in all parts of the region.

Improving bus services is a vital part of Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram’s ambition for a London style transport system, as 82% of public transport journeys in the region are taken by bus. Under Mayor Rotheram’s plans, getting around the region will be quick, cheap and reliable.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram says:

“Good public transport is vital for connecting people with each other and with opportunity, with people in our region overwhelmingly relying on the bus to get about. Thanks to the failed deregulation of the 1980s, too many bus services don’t work for the people who use them.
“I’m determined to fix that. Getting around our region should be quick, cheap and reliable – like it is in London. If it’s good enough for the capital, then it’s more than good enough for people in our region.”

The bus service improvement plan will include the four key areas of improvement that were agreed as part of the LCR Vision for Bus in July 2019 and shaped by city region residents and businesses through the Big Bus Debate:

  • Punctuality and reliability of bus services
  • Ticketing and the cost of travel
  • Network design (hours of operation, service frequencies, network coverage and integration)
  • On-board experience

Along with this, a customer charter is also being developed, which will set out the standards passengers should expect when travelling by bus.

The outline approach for the BSIP will go before the Combined Authority’s Transport Committee on Thursday 16 September followed by the Combined Authority on Friday 24 September. The final BSIP will be submitted to the Department for Transport by 31 October.