This week is national Catch the Bus Week, and in the Liverpool City Region (LCR) there are more reasons than most to give the bus a try.
• Bus users in the LCR are some of the most satisfied of any major city region in the UK with an overall satisfaction rating of 89 per cent according to Transport Focus*
• The LCR has one of the best young people’s ticketing offers outside London with all young people’s tickets now available up to and including 18, including MyTicket – a £2 any bus, any operator ticket that can be used all day, every day.
• Frequent services – on the busiest routes the majority of daytime services operate every ten minutes or less with some as frequent as every few minutes.
• Free Wi-Fi and USB charging points are being rolled out on new buses.
• The ‘Quality Bus Network’ is working to make bus travel more convenient and quicker on key routes, with more regular buses during the day, better information and routes where drivers can accept tickets from the other bus companies operating on that route.
• Walrus – sales of tickets on the smartcard hit the million mark in February 2016, making it the most active smartcard scheme in any City Region outside London. Tickets can be bought at more than 800 PayPoint outlets.
Claire Haigh, Chief Executive of Greener Journeys –a campaign dedicated to encouraging people to make more sustainable travel choices – said: “Catch the Bus Week is now in its 4th year, and once again we are delighted to see the entire bus sector coming together to promote the benefits of the bus. Merseytravel’s road shows for last year’s Catch the Bus Week were a great success and this year could be even more popular after the big improvements made to buses in the region thanks to the Liverpool City Region Bus Alliance.
“So much of our daily lives depend on the bus – from getting to school, to work, to the shops and to visiting family and friends – and this week is the perfect time to show the whole of Merseyside the very best of what buses can offer.”
A number of improvements to bus in the LCR have been made as a result of the LCR Bus Alliance ‘lite’ such as MyTicket and the roll out of Walrus, with further initiatives to be taken through a more formal partnership of Merseytravel, Arriva and Stagecoach who represent 90 per cent of the area’s commercial bus market.
Initial Alliance developments include a £19m investment in greener buses with free Wi-Fi and USB charging points, the introduction of one point of contact for customer service, new customer service training for drivers, improved links to John Lennon Airport and the rail network, the development of a trial 24-hour bus route and a strategic review to create a simpler, clearer bus network.
Cllr Liam Robinson, Chair of Merseytravel said: “Working with operators we’re continually looking at what we can do to get more people taking the bus, from value for money fares to the quality of the buses and services. This is about showcasing what we’ve achieved so far while also finding out the views of existing users and non-bus users to help make bus the way more of us choose to travel.”
“At Arriva we’re supporting Catch the Bus Week nationally as it is a great opportunity to remind everyone of the benefits of bus travel”, commented Arriva Regional Managing Director Phil Stone “We are also delighted to be working with Stagecoach, Merseytravel and Greener Journeys as we can best make a positive case for bus travel together. Arriva has committed heavily to investment in new buses and improvements like Wi-Fi, but we’re keen to hear what more we can do to make bus the preferred way of travelling round the region.”
Elisabeth Tasker, managing director of Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire, said: “Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire has always been focused on delivering the very best experience for our passengers, and this continues to be our first priority. We’re continually investing in our fleet: our comfortable, fully-equipped buses now come complete with Wi-Fi and USB charging points and our eco-friendly fleet runs on Biofuel formed from recycled oils and fats. These aspects ensure that we’re offering every passenger travelling with us a great transport option that gets them quickly, sustainably, and affordably to their destinations.
“Catch the Bus Week is a great initiative and we’re delighted to be on board and promoting bus travel across Merseyside! We believe that learning from our customers and doing everything we can to innovate and improve our offering is crucial to the long-term success of the business. We’re very pleased that Merseytravel and Arriva are joining with us to further these aims and we look forward to hearing from people in Merseyside and working to add even more improvements to our services.”