Agenda and draft minutes

LCR Transport Committee - Thursday, 10th March, 2022 2.00 pm

Venue: Authority Chamber - No.1 Mann Island, Liverpool, L3 1BP. View directions

Contact: Lisa Backstrom 

Note: Members of the public can view the meeting via the webcast but for anyone who would like to attend in person, please contact Democratic Services on 07803 630124 or email democratic.services@liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk in advance of the meeting. 

Media

Items
No. Item

56.

Apologies for Absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received on behalf of Councillor John Stockton.

57.

Declarations of Interest

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest received.

58.

Minutes of the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 346 KB

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

held on 13 January 2022.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 13 January 2022 were agreed as a correct record.

59.

Operator Presentation - Northern Rail Update

Chris Jackson, Regional Director for Northern Railways to provide a presentation to the Committee.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            Chris Jackson, Regional Director for Northern Trains gave a presentation to the Committee. He confirmed that his remit included looking after train drivers, conductors, station colleagues and also the stakeholder relationship. It was a team of around 2,500 people.

 

            He explained that Northern Trains Limited had come into existence on 1 March 2020. The previous franchise was Arriva Rail North and that had been removed by the Secretary of State. The ownership model was quite unusual as Northern Rail was 100% owned by Directly Operated Holdings Limited (DOHL) who were in turn 100% owned by the Department for Transport and therefore essentially Northern Trains were government controlled. He noted that there were two other train operating companies with a similar ownership model - London North-Eastern Railway and also South-Eastern. Northern Trains were widely regarded as being the most complicated train operator in the country. It was a big employer in the North with really well paid and stable jobs. There were over 7,000 people in the business and of course in the City Region Northern Trains were big employers as well. For example, there was a big train crew depot for drivers and conductors at Liverpool, Liverpool Lime Street station and outstations and the flagship maintenance depot at Allerton which maintained the electric fleet as well. He stressed the fact that only 30% of the Northern network was electrified.

 

            Chris Jackson presented a graph which showed the number of drivers that had been off with Covid from the start of the pandemic until last week. It showed an extremely fluctuating picture, but the graph did not demonstrate that Northern Trains were still experiencing, both directly and indirectly, the impact of Covid on operations and in particular at the Liverpool Depot which was seeing higher than the national average and the company average in terms of absence. Significant numbers of long Covid cases and people waiting some considerable amount of time for operations were being seen and consequently that was having an impact on staff availability and the level of service which could be offered. In more recent weeks the national shortage of occupational health practitioners was also having an impact on colleagues returning to work.

 

            The next slide set out the level of service that had been operating at different phases throughout the pandemic. The industry was used to two timetable changes per year, one in May and the other in December. But there had been a phenomenal amount of change over the last couple of years and he was proud of the relationships that had been built with union colleagues throughout that period which had allowed us to be that flexible. He confirmed that the timetable that was operating today would continue until May 2022. The timetable from May to December 2022 was currently being finalised and he would communicate that in due course.

 

            The customer demand recovery was still way below pre-pandemic passenger journeys. Currently within Northern over the last couple of days around 74%, or three quarters,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 59.

60.

Developing the next Local Transport Plan for the Liverpool City Region - Update and Next Steps pdf icon PDF 311 KB

To consider the report of the Executive Director of Policy, Strategy and Government Relations.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            Huw Jenkins, Lead Officer – Transport Policy, presented a report which provided a follow-up to Members on the development of the fourth Local Transport Plan (LTP). This would provide a strategic transport framework to extend to 2040. The report updated Members on the work to date in developing the “Vision and Goals”, discussed and endorsed by Members at their meeting of November 2021, and on the next steps.

 

            The main aim of the report was to update the first report brought to this Committee in November 2021 with a draft vision and goals to drive the next LTP. It would replace the two existing plans for the City Region. Back in November he had reported on how we would be starting with a quite structured process, looking at what transport needed to do, what the policy context required us to do, what wider City Region policies required us to do and from that would develop transport policies, a transport strategy, a funding programme and actual schemes would fall out of that process. The starting point was therefore to gain an understanding of what transport needed to do to support the City Region.

 

            The draft vision contained five draft goals and they had been pretty well received following informal endorsement by the Committee last November and discussions had been taking place with a range of bodies around those goals and there had been broad acceptance that they were meaningful and delivered the right sort of priorities across the board. There had been a number of changes made to the draft document and to the goals themselves and they had been summarised in paragraph 3.2 of the report. It showed how the draft vision had evolved since November. For example, the document in Appendix 1 now reflected the Integrated Rail Plan and the Decarbonisation Strategy. The City Region had adopted its own Net Zero Carbon Plan very recently and the role of transport in decarbonising was critical throughout this. In respect of transport trains were responsible for some 34% of carbon emissions as a City Region, whereas private cars typically provided around 67% of carbon emissions so there was clearly a lot of work to be done.

 

            He felt that there was now a finalised set of visions and goals which had been set out in section 3.5 of the report which effectively set forward the vision for the delivery of a clean, safe, resilient and acceptable London style transport system that supported our various needs as a City Region and then five supporting goals as follows:

 

·         GOAL 1 - Ensure that transport supports recovery, sustainable growth and development, and that our Transport Plan, Plan for Prosperity, Climate Action Plan and Spatial Development Strategy are fully aligned

·         GOAL 2 - Achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 or sooner whilst safeguarding and enhancing our environment

·         GOAL 3 - Improving the health and quality of life of our people and communities through the right transport solutions, including safer, more attractive streets and places used  ...  view the full minutes text for item 60.

61.

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Social Value Policy and Framework pdf icon PDF 385 KB

To consider the report of the Executive Director of Corporate Services.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            Louise Outram, Deputy Chief Legal Officer and Deputy Monitoring Officer, updated the Chair and Members of the Transport Committee on the progress to develop a Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Social Value Policy and framework to support its implementation. The Social Value Policy and Framework had been approved at the Combined Authority’s meeting on 4th March 2022.

 

            Transport Committee Members had been involved in social value considerations for some time now and had been urging the organisation to state its policy. The policy had been developed in synergy with the Corporate Plan and around Fairer, Greener and Stronger communities and the organisation generally. It was designed to align with the organisation’s plan and there were some specific transport considerations highlighted at paragraph 4.4 of the report. As could be seen from paragraph 4.6 there were areas for future development and paragraph 6 talked about identifying further developments in the future.

 

            Councillor Ged Philbin stated that social value related to a whole host of things and not just transport. It was also related to things like planning. Organisations seemed to go for large developments in order to cram as many houses on a site as possible with space that was not really suitable for modern day transport. Local transport tended to have a bit of a snob value and it would be necessary to start to change that by making sure developers made accommodation for transport links. That was the connection between the transport and social values that it would be necessary to take on board.

 

            Councillor Gordon Friel thought that this was an excellent report to include within the area of transport. It was a very complex subject, and he knew there had been a push on completing equality impact assessments and that had now been embedded within the organisation and he felt that this was something he would also like to see taken forward in that manner. He felt that it linked to the Metro Mayor’s 2021 Manifesto that no-one should be left behind in this City Region. He referred to the question that had been asked earlier by Councillor Rowe in relation to the costs for the Boxing Day rail service, but he highlighted the fact that the social value or health value of a service was seldom considered.

 

            Councillor Liam Robinson noted that this was a Combined Authority policy of which transport was a subset. He thought that this was a journey and not an end destination. The whole principle of social value had been maximised in our impact as an organisation to deliver the maximum good for the public and the area that it served. A lot of the things that had been highlighted at this stage it would be necessary to get on and do but other things quite rightly would then come forward which would need to be included in that journey going forward. He felt that one of the key areas was how the Fair Employment Charter would be rolled out across the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 61.

62.

Financial Performance Report pdf icon PDF 242 KB

To consider the report of Merseytravel.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            Sarah Johnston, Assistant Director Finance, presented a report which provided the Members of the Transport Committee with details of Merseytravel’s financial performance for the period April 2021 through to 31 January 2022. The report also provided projections for the outturn position to the end of the financial year.

 

            The budget setting for 2021/22 had probably been one of the most challenging years due to Covid and it had been set against the backdrop of considerable uncertainty and Members would recall as part of the budget setting report that this risk had been flagged in the report. It could be seen that the budget had been fairly prudent, and it was projected that at the end of the year there would be a small outturn. That had been in part to do with being slightly overly prudent in certain areas around income.

 

            Table 1 provided a breakdown of expenditure at service level and there was a more granular breakdown of that included at Appendix 1. The impact of the projected outturn position was that the use of Merseytravel reserves would be lower than projected and that was also the same for the application of reserves coming through from the Combined Authority which was due to the fact that rolling stock and tunnels would spend slightly less than anticipated.

 

            There was a similar position in respect of capital which again had been set against a very challenging backdrop. It was noted in Table 2 that it was projected that around 85% of the capital budget for the year would be spent which was positive news given the position we had been in. Again more detailed information had been included in Appendix 2.

 

            Taking account of the projected revenue and capital position that meant that less Merseytravel reserves had been used and therefore there was more there at projected year end. There had been a significant amount of risk included within the budget but moving towards the end of the year some of that had started to diminish as there had been more certainty around the outturn position. She highlighted the fact that notwithstanding that there was still a significant level of financial risk that the organisation would face going forward and that had been outlined in respect of the budget for the next financial year at paragraph 3.8.

 

            Councillor Steve Foulkes stated that the report was clear and transparent and different in some respects as it had tried to move beyond the date that it had been set. Paragraph 3.8 indicated the trends of where the risks were. He asked if there was any further information in respect of the Beatles Story. He suggested that financial reports should come further up the agenda so all your decision making was set as you went through the agenda based on the current financial situation. Financial matters tended to come at the end of the agenda in Wirral and also in the Combined Authority but if the budget situation was clear at the start of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 62.

63.

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 ……………… (the Monday before the meeting). In this respect, return details are set out in the pro-forma.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Question received from Mr James Owen:

 

“As the new transport policy is rolled out. Will Halton resident pensioners at last get equal rights on travelling on the buses and trains in line with the other five boroughs.”

 

            The Chair, Councillor Liam Robinson thanked Mr Owen for his question and advised that as he could not attend the meeting today a formal written response would be provided to him within 10 working days following the meeting.

 

            The Chair added that he assumed Mr Owen was primarily talking about concessionary travel and the differences that existed between Halton and the five previous Merseyside districts. It was important to say that had been down to historic arrangements which had led to some of the financial differences between Halton and the five former Merseyside boroughs. It was important to state that it would not be straightforward to open up and whilst there had been ongoing work to look at ways in which the transport network could be consolidated across the City Region including looking at what could be done around concessionary travel, obviously there was still more work to do for Halton and for the other five boroughs to be able to take a longer term decision.

 

            So there was no definitive answer other than the fact that we were continuing to look at it because it was important for everyone living across the City Region. Mr Owen would of course receive a formal written response within 10 working days.

 

64.

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…….. (the Monday before the meeting)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The following statement was submitted by the Association of Community Organisations for Reform Now (ACORN):

 

Liverpool City Region: Franchise the Bus Network

Bring buses under public control NOW!

 

The privatisation of the bus network has been disastrous for the people of our city. Prices are too high and the ticketing system too complicated with multiple operators requiring different tickets. There are unacceptable gaps in the network and no night bus service.

 

The result is people experiencing huge difficulty just to get to hospital, to work or to see friends or family. We see how this disproportionately impacts disabled people, people in poverty and/or in insecure work.

 

We, the undersigned demand the public franchising of the bus network in Liverpool, and:

 

I.          Affordable fares that work for all

Fares should be no higher than those in London. We need lower daily spending limits, cheaper day-tickets and a London-style “hopper fare”. If it’s good enough fo London, it’s good enough for Liverpool. 

 

II.         Routes that work for the people of Merseyside

We need a bus service with routes that work for people, not for profit. Focus should be on serving the people of the city, not just the most profitable routes. New routes connecting the north and south of the city to each other and to the city centre.

 

III.       A bus network that is accountable to the people of Merseyside

As part of the public consultation process, ACORN Liverpool wants to see options for new forms of public accountability, to give bus users and workers the power to hold the services accountable. These options should include a citizen’s assembly for transport.

 

IV.      The return and expansion of night buses across the region

A publicly franchised bus network should provide a cheap, safe option for hospitality and healthcare workers to be able to get home after a shift without spending an hour’s wages on a taxi. It should also provide safe routes home for those enjoying a night out in our wonderful city of culture. This means the return of the 86N night bus, plus the extension of multiple routes across the city and region.

 

We, the undersigned demand the public franchising of the bus network in Liverpool.

 

            The Chair, Councillor Liam Robinson, confirmed that a detailed formal response would be given to ACORN within the next ten days and that would obviously point them to the detailed report which had been presented to the Combined Authority the previous week at which the Mayor and the Combined Authority agreed to proceeding with bus franchising. He added that he very much appreciated the campaigning that groups such as ACORN were doing. It was important that when you looked at the number of people who had signed this petition it showed that there were a lot of people who were passionate about this issue. He also made the point that a number of the elements within the petition were things that bus franchising would allow us to be able to do, for example, the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 64.

65.

Any Other Urgent Business Approved by the Chair

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no urgent items of business.