Arriva, Stagecoach and Merseytravel have signed a new agreement to form the Liverpool City Region Bus Alliance. With an aim to provide improved, more efficient, joined up and better value services, the deal is aimed at delivering over £25m worth of investment in bus services in the first year of the five year partnership. The investment is intended to benefit existing passengers and help attract new ones. Described as a landmark agreement, it also sees a commitment from operators to provide fleets with an average age of no more than seven years. It is due to deliver a range of new services and customer focused improvements, including enhanced smart ticketing and Wi-Fi and USB charging on all new buses. The formal signing of the Bus Alliance agreement also releases additional Government OLEV funding of £4.7m (the single biggest award out of the last round of funding in July) for 72 new, greener buses.
The two operators will partner fully on a range of initiatives including marketing campaigns, on-bus cleaning and customer service training. The agreement promises improved links to the city’s John Lennon Airport and a new night bus service will continue to be piloted. To encourage significantly more people to use buses across the city region both operators will also sign up to clearly defined targets around punctuality and passenger satisfaction.
Area MD, Arriva Merseyside, Howard Farrall, said, The signing of the Alliance is an exciting milestone for passengers across the region. It commits all operators and our partners to a package of measures designed to make the bus network here on Merseyside even more attractive, affordable and accessible for passengers. The Alliance promises to be a first-class partnership for our region. It brings together operators and the local authority, working together under an agreed framework to deliver even better bus services, networks and customer service for passengers.’
MD of Stagecoach Merseyside & South Lancashire, Elisabeth Tasker, said, ‘Buses are central to life in Merseyside, getting people to work, helping shoppers access our high streets, and connecting people with education, health and leisure opportunities. Merseyside already has one of the highest levels of bus satisfaction in the country and working through the new Alliance, with significant investment from Stagecoach, we can deliver an even better customer experience and get more people on board the bus.’