Bus travel by young people rises by 142%
YOUNG people are bucking a national trend and making more bus journeys across the Liverpool City Region (LCR) which includes Halton.
Figures show trips made in the six areas which make up the LCR by young people has risen by 142% in the last three years as a result of a trailblazing approach to buses.
The LCR Bus Alliance has been up and running for 12 months and is a formal partnership between Merseytravel and the area’s two biggest operators, Arriva and Stagecoach. Since 2014, bus journeys made by all paying passengers have gone up by 16.2% overall, smashing the 10% target set for the end of 2017-18, and bucking the trend of long-term bus passenger decline nationally.
While operating on an informal basis since 2014, a formal partnership agreement was signed between the three firms in September 2016 commit- ting to more than £52m invested in the first year of a joint annual business and investment plan.
Key achievements to date include £37.5m investment in new buses, with the average age of fleets under seven years old, Wi-Fi and USB charging points fitted on new vehicles as standard and retrofitted in older ones, of which 70% of buses are already low emission.
The 142% increase in young people’s bus journeys are a result of MyTicket which offering unlimited bus travel, a 50% discount on adult fares, and age eligibility up for special tickets and discounted fares up to and including 18 years old.
Metro mayor Steve Rotheram said: “Bus is often the forgotten hero in the contribution it makes to the economy and in supporting communities.
“It helps people get to work, education, do the shop or make their hospital appointments and is responsible for 136 million journeys a year in our city region alone.
“While there is much more to do to improve the bus offer, the successes of ● the Bus Alliance are already notable and encouraging, not least the massive increase in young people taking the bus, giving them greater freedom and opportunity.
“I want us to continue to build on this success, looking at what support we could offer to apprentices in their late teens and early 20s.”
Other moves as part of the partnership has involved pooling resources to clean buses after the morning peak to help keep them tidy and inviting for the rest of the day, and improving customer service training to better help drivers support passengers.
Independent watchdog Transport Focus passenger director David Sidebottom said: “More than nine in 10 bus passengers in the Liverpool City Region are satisfied with their service.
“This shows that the Bus Alliance’s approach of listening to passengers, and focusing on their key priorities – a punctual, reliable, and value for money service on clean and comfortable buses – can make a real difference.”