Sefton Borough – Review of bus network – commercial and subsidised

This is a vital issue for bus users as it could lead to changes in the bus network across Southport. Those with an interest in local bus services need to ensure that their voice is heard. The rest of this posting is taken directly from Merseytravel’s briefing note. Please read on:-

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Merseytravel Briefing Note:

Sefton Bus Network Review

We are currently undertaking a phased approach in reviewing the bus network across the Liverpool City Region. The next area to be reviewed is Sefton, following work in Kirkby and St Helens earlier this year.

A key aim of the work, and that of the Bus Alliance (a formal partnership with operators Arriva and Stagecoach), is to create a simpler and clearer, and where possible, more direct network to help encourage people on board, driving more investment for bus services.

Historically bus routes have been considered on a piecemeal basis and the idea is to consider the commercial network and the supported network – that which relies on public subsidy via Merseytravel – as a whole for the first time, to ensure it best reflects current working and living patterns and new developments and how they are served.

As part of the reviews we are looking at how working in partnership can help us make efficiency savings – ensuring that increasingly limited resources for supported bus services are focused where there is most need.

We are working innovatively at a time when other areas across the country, due to budget pressures, are looking to significantly reduce or even remove their supported bus services, leaving some communities without services altogether.

As part of this review, we are looking for people to tell us how they use the bus network in the area, particularly any supported bus service.

A series of drop-in events are being held, starting next week, where members of the public will have the opportunity to speak to representatives from Merseytravel about bus services across the area. Previous events in Kirkby and St Helens provided useful feedback which helped to inform the changes to the bus network.

There will be six drop-in events taking place across the Sefton borough and in Liverpool over the next few weeks:

• Monday 26th September, 10am – 3pm – Maghull Central Square
• Tuesday 27th September, 10am – 3pm – Crosby Village
• Thursday 29th September, 10am – 3pm – Marian Square, Netherton
• Friday 30th September, 10am – 3pm – Chapel Street, Southport
• Monday 3rd October, 9am – 5pm – Bootle Strand
• Wednesday 5th October, 9am – 5pm – Williamson Square, Liverpool

There will also be an opportunity to provide feedback on bus services in Sefton via an online survey on the bus review pages on the Merseytravel website at www.merseytravel.gov.uk/busreview

With help from the feedback received from these events and via the Merseytravel website, proposed changes to the network will be drafted and an additional drop-in event and online consultation scheduled to give the public an opportunity to comment on them, details of which will be published on the Merseytravel website.

As in other areas where we’ve already undertaken these reviews, it is anticipated that we will work with the operators to extend or re-route some commercial services (i.e. those without public subsidy) to cover areas previously served by publicly supported services.

To make the network easier to understand we are also planning for services on the same routes to operate under the same number whatever the time of day where possible.

While there will be some changes to how people make their journeys as a result of the review, there is opportunity to make the network better reflect demand. Reviews in Kirkby and St Helens have seen improved services to key areas of employment, education and leisure.

We will be working with all operators, to endeavour that passengers will have alternative provision available within their area if a service is removed or changed. Any changes will come into effect in January 2017.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Jeanette Townson, Bus Development Manager on email at comments@merseytravel.gov.uk

Thanks to Cllr. John Dodd for the lead to this story.

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