Liverpool City Region has taken the first steps into transport reform and aims to put bus services back into public control.

Local leaders of the combined authority voted through the changes last week, confirming the move to a London-style business model, reversing the deregulation of the 1980s.

The move was one of five election pledges made by the region’s Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram.

Following the meeting, he said: “Today we have taken a massive step towards putting that right.

“Thanks to devolution we have the power to roll back the 1980s and reverse four decades of disastrous deregulation.

“We’re taking back control of our bus network and running it in the interests of local people – not private shareholders.”

Public support

Over the last few months, Acorn Liverpool, a local community union, have been pushing for this move. The group petitioned outside the Northern Powerhouse meeting last month, collecting over 500 signatures.

During the meeting last week, Mayor Rotheram praised the work that the union, who have tirelessly campaigned to get the franchise model adopted.

A representative of the union said: “This isn’t the end of course, the buses won’t be in public control tomorrow, but we’re well on the way, we’re getting our buses back!”

The Acorn team put together a cardboard bus to get the message out to local people.

Last month MNL reporter Mia O’Hare caught up with Acorn Liverpool to talk about their push for a bus revolution. You can read that here.

How will your bus journey change?

The new plans aim to further integrate buses with other aspects of transport, much like the new fleet of publicly-owned trains.

Eventually it is hoped that the region will move away from the current system and introduce an approach similar to London’s Oyster model, making tickets more cheaper and accessible in the process.

Mayor Rotheram added: “I want to make travelling round our region cheaper, quicker, greener and more reliable

“To simplify ticketing under a tap-and-go system that means you’ll always pay the cheapest fare.”

As well as a more commuter-friendly model, the combined authority hope that the move will also help the region to reach the city’s net zero target.


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