Agenda item

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)

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 way that routes were planned, the way that the network would be accountable and the way that night buses could be reintroduced across the region. The decision of the Combined Authority was not the final decision because of the way that the legisalation of the Bus Services Act 2017 worked. There were still a few more months of statutory processes to go through such as audits and consultation before a final decision could be taken but obviously the City Region had indicated that bus franchising was its preferrd model so he looked forward to working with ACORN and any other organisation that exxpressed an interest in this matter in the future.

 

            Councillor Steve Foulkes felt that the petition was in line with what the Authority was trying to achieve but some would be more achievable than others but he did not think the position in terms of being able to consult on the franchising option should go without some sort of comment and personally he moved from the floor a vote of thanks to the Chair for the leadership of this organisation and also to Officers who had done a tremendous amount of work in building that evidence up and presenting it in an impartial fashion and to develop the business case to be able to answer this petition. He moved a vote of thanks to the Chair, Officers and all Members of the Transport Committee who had seen this programme to the beginning of the end.

 

            Councillor Ken McGlashan said that this was the goal the Authority had been reaching for the last 20 odd years since deregulation. If it could get the sort of subsidy that London received then it would be able to do it. We had been working tirelessly over many years to get to this goal.

 

            Councillor Robinson said that that was a fair point because obviously to provide London level fares a London level subsidy would be required and that was why we would keep on making that demand because we had put in a very ambitious submission and we needed that to be listened to by Government to make sure we could achieve as good a quality service as London received. It had never been right that different parts of the country did not get that. He appreciated the vote of thanks as it was a huge team effort. He had read the business case in detail and it was a really good piece of work and was testament to all the work that had been done and therefore it was right to recognise all of those people involved. There was still a lot more hard work that would be required over the next few months but as long as the focus was on the priority of always delivering the very best for the 1.6m people who called this region home, he was sure the right outcome would be achieved for the transport network.