New bus alliance partnership signed in Liverpool

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Kevin O’Conner, Managing Director of Arriva UK Bus, said the partnership would help secure sustained investment in the region’s bus services
Kevin O’Conner, Managing Director of Arriva UK Bus, said the partnership would help secure sustained investment in the region’s bus services

Arriva and Stagecoach sign agreement with Merseytravel which also signals the release of £4.7m on funding from OLEV

The Liverpool City Region is set to benefit from improved bus services and investment in the local economy after Arriva, Stagecoach and Merseytravel signed a new five year voluntary partnership agreement which is expected to deliver more than £25m worth of investment in bus services in year one.

The Liverpool City Region Bus Alliance has seen a commitment from the operators to provide modern bus fleets with an average age of no more than seven years.

A range of new services and customer-focused improvements agreed in the deal include improved smart ticketing, WiFi and USB charging on all new buses.

The formal signing of the Bus Alliance agreement also releases additional Government OLEV (Office for Low Emission Vehicles) funding of £4.7m – the single biggest award out of the last round of funding in July – for 72 new buses.

All of these vehicles will be operated by Arriva. They will consist of 51 hybrids, 12 electrics and nine CNG gas buses.

The two operators will partner fully on a range of initiatives including marketing campaigns, on-bus cleaning and customer service training.

The agreement promises improved links to the city’s John Lennon Airport, as well as the continuation of the Stagecoach-operated N1, a new night bus service currently being piloted between Liverpool and Chester.

Both operators will also sign up to clearly defined targets around punctuality and passenger satisfaction.

Kevin O’Connor. Managing Director of Arriva UK Bus, told CBW: “We’re thrilled to sign the Bus Alliance, a partnership that will bring great benefits to passengers and the Liverpool City Region.

“This innovative partnership helps secure continued sustainable investment for the Region’s bus services, including through more new and greener vehicles, simpler ticketing, greater integration and improved customer services.

“By making bus travel an even more attractive choice and delivering improvements to the network, the Alliance between Merseytravel and commercial operators will also support Liverpool City Region’s current and future economic growth. The Alliance shows just what can be achieved by working together and, most importantly, it will deliver benefits for passengers.”

Elisabeth Tasker, Managing Director of Stagecoach Merseyside & South Lancashire, said: “Buses are central to life in Merseyside, from getting people to work, helping shoppers access our high streets, and connecting people with education, health and leisure opportunities.

“Merseyside already has one of the highest levels of bus satisfaction in the country and working through the new Alliance, with significant investment from Stagecoach, we can deliver an even better customer experience and get more people on board the bus.”

Cllr Liam Robinson, Chairman of the Merseytravel Committee, said: “This is a real step forward in improving bus services and facilities for everyone in the city region – not just for existing users but for encouraging potential new users to give it a try.

“This investment will mean we can do some transformational work together, but that’s not forgetting what we’ve already achieved as an informal partnership, with one of the best young people’s ticketing offers outside London, with all young people’s tickets now available up to and including 18.”

Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool and Chairman of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, added: “By signing this landmark Alliance, our City Region has once again developed an innovative way to get people a better deal, meaning higher quality buses, more reliable and better services for users.

“There will be 72 brand new buses on our network – one of the very real, visible benefits of this Alliance. We’re all working hard to give our city region one of the best transport networks in the world.”

Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: “I’m delighted and honoured to be asked to chair this Alliance.

“We’ve worked closely with Merseytravel over many years to help get improved public transport across the city region and have particularly hailed the youth fare offer as an example for others to follow – I hope that through me chairing this Alliance we can help make buses even better.”