Agenda and minutes

LCR Transport Committee - Thursday, 9th March, 2023 2.00 pm

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

Contact: Lisa Backstrom 


No. Item


Chairs Opening Remarks

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The Deputy-Chair welcomed those who attended and had watched via the web to the meeting of the Transport Committee.


He welcomed Councillor Allen Makin, St Helens Council and Councillor William Shortall, Liverpool City Council to their first meeting of the Transport Committee. Councillor Shortall was recently appointed by Liverpool City Council, following the resignation of Councillor Liam Robinson.


The Deputy-Chair confirmed that this would be the last meeting attended by Councillor Nina Killen who would shortly be standing down from her role. He commended her contribution to the work the Committee in particular as lead for Smart Ticketing, and on behalf of the Committee wished her well for the future.


The Deputy-Chair informed the Committee that a key milestone had been reached on the Bus Reform progress at the Combined Authority Meeting, the necessary steps had been taken for the process to move forward and the next stage of formal consultation would commence after the pre-election period of the local election.

He thanked the officers and elected members who had worked on this.






Apologies for Absence

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Apologies for absence were received on behalf of Councillors John Donnelly, Sean Halsall, Paul Hayes, Anne McCormack, Damien O’Connor, Tommy Rowe, and Andrea Wall.



Declarations of Interest

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There were no declarations of interest received.


Minutes of the meeting of the LCR Transport Committee held on 18 January 2023 pdf icon PDF 228 KB

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The Minutes of the Committee held on 18 January 2023 were approved as a correct record.


Operator Presentation - Voi E-scooters

To receive a presentation from Voi E-Scooters.

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The Deputy-Chair advised the Committee that the representative from Voi E-Scooters had been unable to attend the meeting and moved to defer the agenda item to a future meeting, he asked the Committee if they agreed, and Members agreed


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. 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 either by:


Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 0151 330 1330

In writing: Democratic Services, LCR Combined Authority, PO Box 1976, No. 1 Mann Island, Liverpool, L3 1BP.


A proforma will be supplied for the submission of public questions which for this meeting must be returned by 5.00pm on Monday 6 March 2023


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With the agreement of the Committee, the Deputy-Chair amended the order of the agenda and took public questions as the first substantive item.

He confirmed there had been a number of public questions received but the questions had been unable to attend the meeting in person.


The Deputy-Chair invited the Democratic Services Manager to read out the questions on behalf of the public.


The first two questions being from a Mrs Wennell.


(i) Question One


Why does the 35 not stop on Knowsley Road, St. Helens, just pass the Vauxhall Garage, where there is a perfectly adequate bus stop, but instead turns into Rivington Road, whereby 99% of the time the passengers have to get off in the middle of the road, which is dangerous for everyone, passengers, and drivers?


The Deputy-Chair thanked Mrs Wennell and responded that decisions on bus routes, timetables, fares, and stops - with the exception of supported bus services were taken by bus operators, in this case Arriva. The Combined Authority therefore had limited ability to change routes. However, Officers were in regular contact with the bus operators and had undertaken to raise this particular concern with them.  


(ii) Question Two


Why have our buses been reduced by one an hour? Meaning we only have two an hour during the day. In the evening, plus Sunday, we only have one an hour.


The Deputy-Chair responded that the 35 service is operated on a commercial basis by Arriva between Monday and Saturday, during the daytime.  Arriva reduced the service from every 20 minutes to every 30 minutes in January 2022, based on driver availability and passenger recovery levels, following the pandemic.


In a deregulated bus environment, Merseytravel had a limited budget to support the bus network through supported bus services. In these instances, Merseytravel had to balance the provision across the supported bus network within the budget that was available. The 33 service was a supported service, which was reduced to an hourly service in April 2022, to ensure evening network coverage.  This service was used to give an hourly provision, for those who would otherwise have been left with limited access to the bus network at those times of day.


The Deputy-Chair invited the next two questions from Mr Wennell.


(iii) Question Three


A new bus service started on 22nd January 2023, the 319 that connects Kirkby with Skelmersdale. It's advertised as a train link service that doesn't even stop inside the train station at bus Stop A.


Instead, it stops on Kirkby Row at stop B going towards Kirkby town centre, then on the return stops at stop C on the opposite side.


This means people have to cross this busy road to access the train station and, on some occasions, only having about 6 minutes before the trains leave or then have a 15-minute wait for the next one or sometime less if the bus is late from Skelmersdale.


My question is, why can’t this bus service stop inside the station  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.


Merseytravel Financial Performance Report pdf icon PDF 243 KB

This report provides the Members of the Committee with details of Merseytravel's financial performance for the period April to December 2022 together with projected outturn forecasts.

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The Committee considered a report which provided details of Merseytravel’s revenue and capital performance for the period April to December 2022, together with projected outturn figures.


The Assistant Director for Finance presented the report, that was regular monitoring reports on capital and revenue expenditure. The Committee was informed despite inflation and delivery challenges over the last 12 months, Merseytravel continued to manage its budget, and operations within the budget set.


Reference was made to table one within the report that detailed at a service level, the budget and projected outturn spend, and provided further detail against each of the services. It was noted that it had allowed for reprofiling of rolling stock expenditure to realign the budget with the new profile and there still being an underspend against Merseytravel services of circa £1million.


It was reported that although the budget had been managed to an overall level, it was brought to Members attention that at an individual service level, services had been impacted by inflation, which had included the bus service contracts, pay and utilities. At an overall level this meant the revenue budget would be managed within the budgets made available from the Combined Authority.


In relation to capital expenditure. The Committee’s attention was drawn to the projected spend for the year which was around £139million against a budget of £179million.


It was commented that inflationary pressures had impacted on some planned projects and that meant some of the spend expected to be seen in the current year would be pushed back into the next financial year.

In terms of the financial risks, it was commented that the pressures on budgets were expected to be a feature of Merseytravel for immediate future and would continue to impact the financial position over the next 12 months and beyond.


The Deputy-Chair stated budgets had been significantly affected by inflation which would present challenges by reducing the organisations spending power, but he expressed confidence that through the good stewardship a balanced budget would be maintained through the remainder of the year.


Members were invited to ask questions and provide comments. The following issues were raised: -


·       In relations to budget for buses detailed on page 20 of the report, clarification was sought on the reasons for the projected overspend. In response it was stated that this figure included additional bus contracts and services that had been put on during the year, which exceeded the original budget set. The table in question also indicated an increase in income, from both services use and additional grant funding to offset the additional expenditure.


·       Comment was sought on previous statements made to the Committee that income from tunnel tolls would be used to subsidises public transport investment in the future, particularly in light of the overspend against the tunnel budget as presented on page 10, and what the likely toll would need to be to generate a surplus for investment.


RESOLVED – (1) That the report be noted.


(2) That the Assistant Director for Finance be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 44.


Quarterly Bus Update pdf icon PDF 443 KB

The purpose of this report is to provide an update on key bus issues relating to the third quarter of 2022/23.

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The Committee considered a report that updated the Members on key issues relating to bus services during the third quarter of 2022/23.


The Assistant Director for Bus highlighted the following issues from the report.


Specifically, the report provided an update on progress with the assessment into Bus Reform, Hybus Trial Project, and Green Bus Routes programme, along with an overview of how the Bus Team continued to work with bus operators to support the recovery of the region’s bus network and implementation of the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP).


Noting a few key points within the report.


  • Patronage on the network had not fully recovered to pre pandemic levels, and the shortfall in the revenue that that situation created was being addressed efficiencies, funding from government and funding from the Combined Authority.


  • Government funding that was due to end at the end of March had been extended for a further 3 months to remove that immediate pressure but did not resolve sustainability of the network. The Combined Authority would continue to work with Bus Operators and Government as they move into the next financial year.


  • The BSIP had been revised in line with the funding allocation and approved by the Combined Authority. The £2 single flat fare for adults that had been launched was the key measure in the BSIP and had since been adopted by National Government on a national basis. Work was taking place to develop a bus passenger chart for the City Region and updates would be brought to the Committee in due course.


  • The Combined Authority had made the decision at its last meeting to move forward with a consultation on a proposed Bus Franchising Scheme, following the completion of the assessment and independent audit that had taken place.


  • The Green Bus Routes Programme continued to be developed with Local Authority partners, particularly Knowsley, Liverpool, and St Helens on the 10a route which would be the first in the programme. The next Phase would be to continue to engage with communities and stakeholders and begin to develop detailed design proposals which was of critical importance to the delivery of the programme. Options appraisals would start on the 53 and 86 bus routes that would be the next two routes in the programme.



  • In terms of Travel Safe and transport information, there was a focus on the Anti-Social Behaviour that had been experienced on the bus network and work continued be done through the Travel Safe Partnership with Operators and Merseyside Police to stamp it out across the bus network. With regards to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.


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 either by:


Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 0151 330 1330

In writing: Democratic Services, LCR Combined Authority, PO Box 1976, No. 1 Mann Island, Liverpool, L3 1BP.


All petitions and statements for this meeting must be returned by 5.00pm on Monday 6 March 2023


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There were no Petitions or Statements submitted to the meeting.



Any Other Urgent Business Approved by the Chair

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There were no urgent items of business.


The meeting closed at 2.01pm


Minutes 38 to 47 received as a correct record on the 29th day of July 2023.



Chairperson of the Committee