Agenda and minutes

Budget Meeting, LCR Transport Committee - Wednesday, 13th January, 2021 2.00 pm

Venue: Remotely. View directions

Contact: Lisa Backstrom 

Media

Items
No. Item

44.

Chairperson's Remarks

Minutes:

The Chairperson of the Committee, Councillor Liam Robinson welcomed everyone to the first Transport Committee Meeting of the new year. Councillor Robinson opened the meeting by apologising for the delayed start which was due to a technical issue with the Microsoft Live Programme.

 

45.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillor M O’Mara MBE.

 

Due to technical difficulties the following Councillors were unable to be present at the meeting but observed the meeting via the live stream:

 

P Cleary, J Dodd, S Foulkes, P Hayes, N Killen, A Lavelle, P McKinley, L Mooney, S Murphy, J Pearson, G Stockton, H Thompson, M Uddin, and F Wynn.

 

46.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

47.

Minutes of the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 148 KB

To consider the minutes of the last meeting of the Transport Committee held on 10 December 2020.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED - That the minutes of the last meeting of the Transport Committee held on 10 December 2020, be approved as a correct record.

 

48.

Mersey Tunnel Tolls 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 269 KB

To consider a report of the Lead Officer- Transport relating to the Mersey Tunnel Tolls for 2020/21.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Assistant Director for Customer Delivery, Gary Evans, which set out the Mersey Tunnel Tolls recommendation for 2021/22.

 

Gary Evans explained that the report set out the legal procedure for annually revising the tunnel tolls and made proposals for the level of tolls payable from 1 April 2021. It was highlighted that the Authorised Toll levels for 21/22, which were in line with Mersey Tunnels Act 2004, were higher than the proposed Toll levels for 2021/22.

 

The Committee were informed that the report presented current tunnel usage data which included payment methods. It was explained that the officers’ recommendation was to retain the current toll levels and continue the concessionary scheme and other discounts including free travel for emergency service vehicles.

 

Councillor Friel commented that he agreed with the officers’ recommendations and wished to place on record the Transport Committee’s thanks to all of the front-line workers who had kept the Tunnels operating throughout the pandemic.

 

The Chairperson, Councillor Liam Robinson, echoed Councillor Friel’s comments and added that he warmly welcomed the report and the recommendations. Discussing the pandemic, Councillor Robinson commented that freezing the tolls was the right thing to do especially for key workers making essential journeys.

 

Councillor Robinson added that for many years there had been an ambition to see an increased use of the Fast Tag discount amongst local residents and he was very pleased to see that the report detailed that almost 50% of tunnel users had a Fast Tag. Adding that this was a great achievement for Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram in his first term.

 

RESOLVED: That:

 

(a)           the contents of the report be noted;

 

(b)           the level of “authorised tolls” for the Mersey Tunnels as determined by the County of Merseyside Act 1980 (as amended by the Mersey Tunnels Act 2004), with details on calculation methods explained in section 3 of this report be noted;

 

(c)           the Transport Committee recommended that the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority implement a schedule of tolls contained in Table 1 below with effect from Thursday 1 April 2021: -

 

 

Vehicle Class

Authorised Toll 21/22 (November RPI)

2021/22 Cash Toll

2021/22 Fast Tag Toll – LCR Resident*

2021/22 Fast Tag Toll – Non LCR Resident

1

£2.10

£1.80

£1.00

£1.80

2

£4.20

£3.60

£2.40

£2.40

3

£6.30

£5.40

£3.60

£3.60

4

£8.50

£7.20

£4.80

£4.80

 

*Liverpool City Region (LCR) resident defined as living within the electoral boundaries of Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral.

 

(d)           the Transport Committee recommended that the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority continue to offer the additional discounts set out in paragraph 3.14 of this report for 2021/22.

 

49.

Merseytravel Budget Setting Report - 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 263 KB

To consider a report of the Treasurer which sets out the Merseytravel Budget for 2021/22.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Treasurer, John Fogarty, which set out the draft revenue budget and capital programme for Merseytravel for 2021/22.

 

John Fogarty explained that the budget for 2021/22 had been set in an environment of significant uncertainty and risk. It was highlighted that the biggest problem faced by the Combined Authority in regard to transport was the financial loses that had occurred as a consequence of the pandemic.

 

The Committee were informed that the public transport landscape had changed dramatically and due to social distancing requirements, patronage levels and revenue had reduced. It was explained that the bus industry was dependent on public subsidy from the Department for Transport and the concessionary travel payment from the Combined Authority in order to operate.

 

Furthermore, it was explained that the Combined Authority had to maintain the concessionary travel payment at pre-Covid levels due to previously signed commitments. The Committee heard that recovery in the bus industry would be dependent on continued subsidy from Government.

 

In terms of the rail industry, it was explained similar issues had also been encountered however it was noted that Merseyrail had also stood their own loses. It was highlighted that the challenges faced by the rail industry could potentially be longer lasting due to a change in working patterns expected to last beyond the pandemic.

 

In addition, it was highlighted that direct services, ferries, supported bus services and the Beatles Story Board had all experienced a reduction in revenue that was expected to go into the next financial year. This was compounded by the losses in the Tunnels income which also looked set to continue.

 

John Fogarty explained that the proposed budget was a holding position due to the situation facing the organisation and highlighted that there were no significant changes to fares, tolls or the nature of services. It was reported that the Metro Mayor was proposing that the Transport Levy remained frozen and that the distinct arrangements for Halton remained the same.

 

The Committee heard that one of the main uncertainties that the Combined Authority faced was the extent or duration of Central Government support for transport losses. It was explained that once the organisation had greater certainty over the post Covid environment, elements of the budget would need to be revisited.

 

Discussing patronage between national lockdowns, it was highlighted that transport levels in the city region recovered to higher than the national average. Showing that the need for public transport locally remained fundamentally strong.

 

The Committee were informed that the report also presented the draft Capital Programme for 2021/22 with the main element being the Rolling Stock trains which were due to be in service by 2022. It was explained that the Combined Authority were continuing to invest in new ferries and new facilities including a variety of new rail stations across the city region. With the Combined Authority’s budget providing resources for bus reform and recovery as a mayoral priority.

 

Councillor Gordon Friel noted that he was disappointed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 49.

50.

South Liverpool Global Gateway Eastern Access Corridor - Update pdf icon PDF 138 KB

To consider a report of Interim Director of Integrated Transport to  provide Members with a progress update on the development of the Outline Business Case for the project.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Interim Director of Integrated Transport which provided an update on the progress being made towards the competition of the Outline Business Case for the South Liverpool Global Gateway Eastern Access Corridor.

 

Andy Sawyer, Key Route Network Manager, provided the Committee with a brief overview of the project. It was explained that the aim was to better connect the wider South Estuary Area, Liverpool John Lennon Airport, the strategic highways network and the public transport network while supporting the growth of the South Liverpool Economy.

 

The Committee were informed that in August 2020 the Combined Authority appointed a consultant to support the development of the Outline Business Case with the option to take forward a Full Business Case if a suitable funding route was made available. 

 

As part of the development of the Business Case, it was explained that a Steering Group had been reconvened. The Committee heard that the group comprised of CA officers, representatives from the Local Authorities and other key stakeholders such as Peel and Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

 

Andy Sawyer highlighted that section 3.4 of the report set out the key activities that had been undertaken since the start of the commission in August 2020. It was explained that the most significant activity that had taken place was reviewing previous work that had been completed as part of the strategic Outline Business Case and looking at options available for future development.

 

In terms of the programme itself, it was explained that the original programme set out by the Consultant had indicated that the draft Outline Business Case would be completed by Autumn 2021. However there had been some caveats with the original programme and submission was now expected in Summer 2022. It was explained that this delay posed no risk as no funding routes had been agreed.

 

Discussing short-term objectives, it was highlighted that the next stage of the project was to complete the consultation and engagement strategy and shortlist design elements of the scheme. It was explained a further update would be brought to the Committee as the project progresses.

 

The Chairperson, Councillor Liam Robinson thanked Andy Sawyer for his report and requested that he attended a future members’ briefing to provide the Committee with a more detailed insight into the project.

 

RESOLVED - That the contents of the report be noted.

 

51.

Submission of Evidence to the Transport Select Committee- Major Transport Infrastructure Projects:Appraisal and Delivery pdf icon PDF 149 KB

To consider a report of the Director of Policy and strategic Commissioning regarding the Committee’s  input to the Transport Select Committee call for evidence.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Policy and Strategic Commissioning which set out a draft response to the Government’s Transport Select Committee inquiry on the appraisal and delivery of major transport projects in the UK.

 

Suzanne Cain, Transport Policy Co-ordinator, informed the Committee that the inquiry had five main areas of interest – strategy and priorities, appraisal and funding, oversight accountability and governance, cost and capacity and skills.

 

It was explained that there were a number of proposed changes to the draft response set out in the report due to the tight turnaround between the publication of the call for evidence and agenda publication.

 

Suzanne Cain presented an overview of the proposed changes to the committee:

 

·       Minor text changes so the response did not exceed the 3,000-word maximum;

·       In paragraph 3 after discussing the net zero carbon emitting target, an additional paragraph had been added discussing the long-term opportunities set out in the Local Industrial Strategy

·       An addition to paragraph 9 to highlight the Halton Curve as an example of the GRIP processes;

·       Paragraph 11 had been deleted, with the exception to the last two sentences which had formed the beginning of paragraph 12;

·       Introduced a new paragraph 11 which addressed how major transport projects can be delivered to meet the Government’s decarbonisation targets;

·       A summary of Dame Colette Bowe’s review had been added to paragraph 16, with the detailed information being removed;

·       The second sentence in paragraph 18 and the accompanying bullets had been deleted;

·       Paragraph 19 and 20 along with their accompanying bullets had been deleted;

·       The last sentence in paragraph 22 had been deleted;

·       Paragraph 28 had been deleted; and

·       The company names in paragraph 30 had been removed.

 

The Chairperson, Councillor Liam Robinson, asked for the updated response with the proposed changes to be circulated to the Committee for consideration.

 

Councillor John Stockton raised concerns regarding the governance of the ‘Levelling-Up’ agenda and noted that there needed to be further information released from Central Government regarding the devolution of power to the North. Councillor Stockton therefore requested that these concerns be added to the response. It was explained that the response already detailed these issues and made particular reference to the power in devolution to the North. The response also set out concerns regarding the Northern Transport Acceleration Council and highlighted the issue of transparency.

 

Councillor Stockton also raised reservations regarding the Skills Strategy Deficit and questioned whether this could be highlighted in the response. It was explained that due to the word limit it was difficult to include this issue in detail however the knock-on implications were highlighted in the response.

 

Councillor Ged Philbin wished to highlight the importance of the six Local Authorities within the city region being included when the roll-out of the projects commences.  

 

Councillor Robinson echoed comments by Councillor Philbin and thanked Suzanne Cain for the excellent report and draft response. Councillor Robinson also emphasised the importance of decisions being made at a local level to ensure that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.

52.

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 1086

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 Monday 11 January 2021. In this respect, return details are set out in the pro-forma.

 

 

Minutes:

The committee received two questions from Mr Jacob Harris as follows:

 

Question 1

Recently, Merseytravel have put the X1 bus service (Liverpool ONE to Halton Hospital) out to tender due to the impending withdrawal of the Arriva service from the 24th January. However, I have noticed that present, with the exception of the young person’s MyTicket, Merseytravel season tickets are not currently valid within Halton. So, what I would like to know is: will Merseytravel tickets become valid in Halton to cover the X1 or will special ticketing provision be in place for this service?

 

The Chairperson, Councillor Liam Robinson, responded by stating that the Merseytravel multi-modal multi-operator tickets were not currently valid in Halton although Merseytravel did wish to expand the area where the tickets were valid overtime. However, it was explained that there was currently no timescale for the inclusion of Halton within the Merseytravel Ticketing Scheme.

 

Question 2

Recently on my commutes to and from work, I have noticed there is still a lot of people not wearing face masks on the bus even though it is legally required. The main culprits are teenagers aged 12-15. What are Merseytravel and the bus companies doing to ensure compliance with the law on face masks?

 

Councillor Robinson responded by stating that Merseytravel officers were working with the Travelsafe Team to regularly monitor bus services to check compliance with the law on face coverings. It was explained that the monitoring exercises have shown 92% compliance. 

 

Councillor Robinson added that if members of the public were able to share information about the service they were on that had low compliance, this would be very useful. It was explained that this information could lead to a targeted operation on a particular service or area that had been identified as having low compliance.

 

The Chair thanked Mr Jacob Harris for submitting his questions and explained a detailed, formal written response would be provided within 10 working days.

 

53.

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 1086

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 Monday 11 January 2021.

Minutes:

There were no petitions or statements received.

 

54.

Any Other Urgent Business Approved by the Chair

Minutes: