Agenda and minutes

LCR Transport Committee - Thursday, 10th December, 2020 2.00 pm

Venue: Remotely. View directions

Contact: Lisa Backstrom 

Media

Items
No. Item

33.

Chairperson's Remarks

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Minutes:

The Chairperson of the Committee, Councillor Liam Robinson welcomed everyone to the third virtual meeting of the Transport Committee and hoped that Members, Officers and the viewing public were all safe and well.

 

34.

Apologies for Absence

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Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors A Jones and S Murphy.

 

The Committee noted that Councillor P McKinley was unable to join the meeting due to technical difficulties.

 

35.

Declarations of Interest

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Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

36.

Minutes of the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 157 KB

To consider the minutes of the last meeting of the Transport Committee

held on 5 November 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED - That the minutes of the last meeting of the Transport Committee held on 5 November 2020, be approved as a correct record.

 

Councillor Helen Thompson wished to note that due to technical difficulties she was unable to participate in the last meeting however she explained that she was able to follow the proceedings via the Live Stream and asked for this to be reflected in the minutes.

 

37.

Smart Ticketing Programme Update pdf icon PDF 144 KB

To consider the report of the Assistant Director for Customer Delivery.

 

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Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Assistant Director for Customer Delivery, Gary Evans, which provided an update on the Smart Ticketing programme.

 

Gary Evans explained this was the latest in a series of reports detailing the progress that had been made on the development of Smart Ticketing across the Transport Network within the City Region and the report outlined the proposed next steps.

 

Gary Evans informed the Committee that since the introduction of Term Time Solo Products to the Smart Portal in August 2020 the number of registered users on the portal had increased. It was explained that there was over 7,000 registered users and half of these registrations had taken place since August 2020. The Committee were also informed that there had been over 4000 sales since the Smart Portal was first launched in January 2020.

 

Following investment to fit all of the City Region’s buses with model 2 Electronic Ticket Machines (ETM’s) which allowed passengers to purchase tickets using card payments it was explained that a new bus company, Warrington Buses had been introduced. Gary Evans also informed the Committee that the Combined Authority had purchased a number of handheld ETM’s to allow additional capacity to be added to the Bus network should it be required.

 

The Committee heard that work was underway to introduce platform validators across all of the rail stations in the City Region and an example was given that 187 platform validators were going into operation in the Merseyrail estate over the coming month.

 

Gary Evans reported that detailed work was also being carried out on the Legal Scheme Agreement alongside a zonal review with the aim of simplifying the ticketing zones. The Committee were informed that an update would be provided on this issue in due course.

 

Councillor Gordon Friel questioned how secure the Smart Portal was against cyber-attacks. It was explained that as Metro Cards are anonymous, privacy did not currently pose any major issues to the Combined Authority. However, as the Smart Portal was being developed over time more individual information would be stored and it was explained that this was being considered in detail. The Committee heard that the Combined Authority would seek assurances that any data that was being transferred was encrypted and that GDPR guidelines were being followed.

 

Councillor John Stockton questioned whether there had been lower demand for Solo products over the course of the pandemic. It was explained that demand for all products had been down during the pandemic due to patronage levels being lower than usual. However, it was also explained that the demand for contactless transactions had increased with transport networks encouraging contactless options and it was noted that this was a real positive for the Combined Authority and presented a great opportunity.

 

The Chairperson, Councillor Liam Robinson thanked Gary Evans for the comprehensive report and highlighted that great progress had been made. Councillor Robinson added that the roll out of platform validators and having a bus fleet with smart ticketing and contactless  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37.

38.

Responding to High Speed 2 Phase 2B Western Leg Design Refinement Consultation pdf icon PDF 206 KB

To consider the report of the Interim Director of Integrated Transport.

 

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Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Interim Director of Integrated Transport which set out a draft response to the consultation launched on 7 October 2020 by the Department for Transport on 4 proposed refinements to the design of the Western Leg of High Speed 2 Phase 2B.

 

Tom Carbery, Rail Development Advisor, explained that the consultation was seeking views on the four proposed refinements in Crewe, Manchester Piccadilly, Scotland and Manchester Airport’s High Speed Rail Station. It was highlighted that the Combined Authorities response focused on the three refinements in the North West of England.

 

Tom Carbery informed the Committee that the three proposed refinements in the North West were based on design development, ongoing engagement and future integration with the Northern Powerhouse Rail. It was added that these proposals showed that High Speed 2 was starting to formally recognise Northern Powerhouse Rail as a viable entity.

 

It was explained that a recent announcement from Central Government had confirmed two previously consulted changes including proceeding with the Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) touchpoints on the High Speed 2 route in the High Legh area in Cheshire. Tom Carbery informed the Committee that this was very significant for the City Region as a future NPR line could link into High Speed 2 and subsequently be connected to Liverpool to ensure that the City Region have full Northern Powerhouse Rail and High Speed 2 connectivity.

 

Tom Carbery explained each of three proposed refinements in the North West to the Committee:

 

·       A new junction to the North of Crewe which would allow trains to re-join the HS2 route;

·       Provisional platforms to be added to Manchester Airport which would allow Northern Powerhouse Rail services to stop at the Manchester Airport Station; and

·       Two additional platforms at Manchester Piccadilly to also allow Northern Powerhouse Rail services to stop.

Tom Carbery informed the Committee that the Combined Authority had raised concerns in the consultation response that there were missed opportunities at Manchester Piccadilly. It was explained that Officers in Manchester had designed an underground station for Northern Powerhouse Rail as well as the two surface platforms proposed by HS2.

 

Tom Carbery concluded his presentation by stating that the proposed changes in the consultation exercise represented a necessary step towards the wider transformation that the Liverpool City Region were seeking from the Rail Network through HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail.

 

Councillor Ken McGlashan referred to the new port facilities in the City Region and added that this would reduce road traffic which in turn would lead to lower carbon emissions. Councillor McGlashan also highlighted that the existing link lines from the port need to be upgraded in order to cope with the expected higher capacity and therefore asked Tom Carvery to highlight these issues in the consultation response.  It was explained that the issues raised by Councillor McGlashan would be added to the consultation response accordingly. It was also reported that Officers at the Combined Authority were continuing to work with Transport for the North on the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.

39.

Union Connectivity Review pdf icon PDF 113 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Policy and Strategic Commissioning.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Policy and Strategic Commissioning which set out a draft response to the consultation launched on 16 November 2020 into how connectivity across the UK can support economic growth and quality of life post covid-19.

 

Suzanne Cain, Transport Policy Co-ordinator, informed the Committee that the consultation was being led by Sir Peter Hendy and covered road, rail, air and sea links between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

 

The Committee heard that due to the tight timeframe the response presented in the report was a working progress which set out the key areas the Combined Authority wished to cover in their response. It was explained that as a City Region with a travel to work area that extends across the border, the main focus of the response was improvements to the borderlands and access to North Wales.

 

Suzanne Cain explained that the response also provided an opportunity to set out the need to improve port access as well as the Liverpool to Belfast links and the longstanding need for improved rail links into Scotland. It was reported that more detail would be added to the response covering the need to improve links out of the Liverpool Port to Northern Ireland and the importance of Liverpool John Lennon Airport. The Committee heard that The Combined Authority had requested data and evidence from Liverpool John Lennon Airport to be included in the response.

 

Suzanne Cain informed the Committee that the final response would also include more detail on the opportunity to strengthen links to North Wales and Cardiff via Halton Curve and Transpennie Express Services into Glasgow and Edinburgh. The response also set out the role of rail freight across the Nation’s corridors, highlighting the importance of removing as much traffic from the roads as possible.

 

 Councillor Steve Foulkes requested that the 12 Quays roll on roll off facility in Birkenhead was mentioned by name in the consultation response as he explained it was a vital facility that served both Dublin and Belfast.

 

Councillor Gordon Friel thanked Suzanne for the excellent report and commented that the consultation response showed a fantastic example of how each of the Nations were able to be united.

 

The Chairperson, Councillor Liam Robinson echoed Councillor Friel’s comments and stated that he believed the Union Connectivity Review was going to be a very influential piece of work that was going to be vital for the Liverpool City Region. Councillor Robinson added that he would like all Committee Members to see the final version of the response before it was submitted however highlighted that due to the Christmas Period there may be a tight deadline for Member’s feedback.

 

RESOLVED - That:-

 

(i)      The Transport Committee considered and commented on the issuesunderpinning the call for evidence as set out in the report and the draft response appended to the report; and

 

(ii)    Delegated Authority to be granted to the Director of Policy & Strategic Commissioning, in conjunction with the Chair of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.

40.

QUARTERLY BUS UPDATE pdf icon PDF 247 KB

To consider the report of Merseytravel.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Assistant Director for Bus which provided an update to Members on key bus issues relating to the third quarter of 2020/21.

 

Laura Needham, Bus Strategy Programme Manager, explained that the report detailed milestones of the Bus Alliance, progress on developing the commitment of the LCR Devolution Deal in respect of improving bus services and an overview of how the Bus Team had maintained a safe and reliable Bus Network during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

 

 Laura Needham informed the Committee that work was currently being undertaken on forecasting and modelling the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on the Transport Network in the City Region. It was explained that Members would receive more information in due course however it was highlighted that transport users’ behaviour had changed over the course of the pandemic and was likely to change over the next couple of years.

 

It was explained that the Bus Alliance had deferred some milestones until 2021-2022, particularly those centred around the ‘Better by Bus’ campaign as well as driver training. The Committee heard that a customer confidence campaign had recently been launched to increase bus users’ confidence in returning and using the Bus.

 

Laura Needham explained to the Committee that an overview of the Bus Reform Assessment was presented in the report and informed the Committee that the Combined Authority had received four out of the five Outline Business Cases. The report also detailed how the Combined Authority had been working closely with Bus Operators in order to keep services operating during the pandemic.

 

Councillor Gordon Friel questioned whether there was a date for the installation of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) on route 53 and the installation of RTI screens at Bootle and Huyton Bus Station. It was explained that dates would be provided to Councillor Friel in writing. Councillor Friel also questioned whether matters were being progressed in line with the Traffic Signalling Systems at Local Authorities. It was explained that The Combined Authority Asset Management Team were working closely with other Authorities in order to identify signals that needed upgrading and integrating them with the wider ITS.

 

Councillor John Stockton commented that he was very impressed with the work on the Green Bus Routes and Hydrogen Buses and noted how it complimented the Green agenda. Councillor Stockton wished to place on record his thanks to all of the officers involved with these projects.

 

The Chairperson, Councillor Liam Robinson thanked Laura Needham for the excellent report and referred to the confidence building campaign, noting that during the course of the pandemic there had been negative perceptions around Public Transport. Councillor Robinson expressed the need to reassure passengers that the Transport Network is safe to use.

 

Councillor Robinson also recommended that a wider piece of work should be carried out into how the effects of the pandemic would affect individuals travel patterns and requested that the findings were presented at a future Committee meeting.

 

RESOLVED - That the contents of the report be noted.

 

41.

Public Question Time

Members of the public will be given the opportunity to ask questions which

have been submitted in accordance with Meetings Standing Orders No. 11.

 

A period of 30 minutes will be allocated for this item and copies of valid questions will be circulated at the meeting.

 

Members of the public who wish to submit questions are asked to contact

Democratic Services by either:

Email: democratic.services@liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk

Telephone: 0151 330 1079

In writing: Democratic Services, LCR Combined Authority, No.1 Mann Island, PO Box 1976, Liverpool, L69 3HN

 

A pro-forma will be supplied which, for this meeting must be returned by

5.00pm on 7 December 2020 (the Monday before the meeting). In this respect, return details are set out in the pro-forma.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The committee received a question from Mr Peter Jackson as follows:

 

Given the current strain on public funds due to Covid, does the committee find it acceptable that Merseytravel is spending thousands on free Christmas Day buses, as many of these Christmas Day buses run more frequently/provide links which aren't available on any day of the year except Christmas Day?

 

The Chairperson, Councillor Liam Robinson, responded by stating that Christmas Day Buses were a vital link to Hospitals across the City Region for individuals who needed to make essential journeys including front-line NHS Staff, who without this service may struggle to get to work. Councillor Robinson also explained that many additional festive period resources such as late-night services had not been utilised this year.

 

Councillor Robinson stated that the Combined Authority were very conscious about budgeting responsibly however on balance it was decided the free Christmas Day service would still go ahead as morally it was the right thing to do.

 

The Chair thanked Mr Peter Jackson for submitting his question and explained a detailed, formal written response would be provided within 10 working days.

 

42.

Petitions and Statements

Members of the public will be given the opportunity to submit a single

petition or statement in accordance with Meetings Standing Orders No. 11.

 

Members of the Public who wish to submit a single petition or statement

are asked to contact Democratic Services by either:

Email: democratic.services@liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk

Telephone: 0151 330 1079

In writing: Democratic Services, LCR Combined Authority, No.1 Mann Island, PO Box 1976, Liverpool, L69 3HN

 

All petitions and statements for this meeting should be submitted to

Merseytravel, using the contact details above, by 5.00pm on 7 December 2020 (the Monday before the meeting)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no petitions or statements received.

 

 

43.

Any Other Urgent Business Approved by the Chairperson

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Minutes: