Bus operators Arriva and Stagecoach have confirmed a series of changes to bus services in the Liverpool City Region.
The private operators have finalised the number of changes and reductions to routes across Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and the Wirral that will begin on Sunday September 4. Several services considered to be ‘vital routes’ have been protected from the original proposals after Mayor Steve Rotheram and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority stepped in to provide funding support to save them.
These include the 492 and 495 to Birkenhead, 37 from St Helens to Eccleston and the 76 and 78 from Halewood to Liverpool city centre. Currently, the majority of bus services in the Liverpool City Region are operated on a commercial basis by private operators – predominantly Arriva and Stagecoach. Under this deregulated bus system, these private companies have control over aspects such as routes, timetables and fares.
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The ECHO first reported back in June that the bus operators were proposing to change and cut back on a number of services across the city region. They said this is because interim government funding, used to support transport operators during the pandemic, is coming to an end in September.
The proposals for the changes were published in late June, followed by a public consultation to give people the chance to provide their feedback. These proposals have now been finalised and can be viewed in full here. If a service is not listed on the site, then no changes have been made.
The proposals suggested that more than a dozen services across the combined authority region will have services reduced, mostly on evenings and weekends, with 16 impacted across Liverpool alone, including the 80A to Liverpool Airport cut back to every 40 minutes.
Check out the full list of bus service reductions in your area here
Earlier this year Liverpool City Region leaders took an important step towards reversing what they say is this 'power imbalance' in local transport after leaders voted to confirm franchising as their preferred model for the future running the network – a landmark move that would reverse the industry’s deregulation in the mid-1980s. This would give the Combined Authority the ability to set routes, timetables and fares.
A summary of some of the key changes to the original plans made as a result of the public consultation are below:
- 492/495 Birkenhead – Noctorum Circulars to remain at every 30 minutes due to Combined Authority funding
- 37 St Helens – Eccleston will not be withdrawn; will serve Eccleston every 60 minutes and then extend up to Rainford. Service 38 will operate every 60 minutes, meaning two buses per hour from Rainford into St Helens and a 30 minute service along Kiln Lane. Rainford Junction will have a 60 minute service. This is possible due to Combined Authority funding
- 44 & 49 Crossens – Formby/Woodvale will remain unchanged
- 76 & 78 Halewood – Liverpool will remain at 30 minutes Monday-Friday daytime due to Combined Authority funding
- 310 Liverpool – Skelmersdale will be unchanged (Proposed to reduce to every 60 minutes beyond Maghull)
- 300 Liverpool – Southport will be unchanged (Saturday frequency reduction was originally proposed)
- 352 St Helens – Orrell/Wigan will remain at every 15 minutes Monday-Friday and just reduce to every 30 minutes on a Saturday (weekday frequency reduction was originally proposed)
- 79 – Short journeys will terminate at Wood Lane rather than at Belle Vale meaning an 8-minute service between Liverpool and Wood Lane Monday-Friday daytime, with a 16 minute service extending through to Halewood.
- 17 Liverpool – Kirkby Industrial Park will have revisions to the proposed timetable to better accommodate shift times
In addition to these changes, the Combined Authority has proposed funding to retain the frequencies of the 204 & 61. Discussions are on-going with the operators to achieve this, but it will not be possible before the September change date.
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