Agenda and minutes

Merseytravel Committee - Thursday, 1st October, 2015 2.00 pm

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

Contact: Colin Moneypenny 0151 330 1683 

Items
No. Item

23.

Councillor Mal Sharp

Minutes:

The Chair, Councillor Liam Robinson, advised the Committee of the news of the very sad recent death of the Vice Chair of the Merseytravel Committee, Councillor Mal Sharp. Councillor Robinson paid tribute to Councillor Sharp whom he said was a valued and trusted colleague who had given excellent service to the Committee in various roles. He had made a profound impact on the organisation in particular with the development of the role of scrutiny and as a champion for young people as well as through his involvement in the key rail issues as Lead Member. He would be sadly missed by everyone who had known him at Merseytravel.

 

The Chair then placed on record the sincere condolences of the Members and Officers of Merseytravel to the family and friends of Councillor Sharp and a period of silence and reflection was then observed in his memory.   

24.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

Councillor Tony Carr declared a pecuniary interest in item 9 on the agenda – Low Emission Vehicle Update – as a hackney carriage driver licensed by Knowsley Borough Council.

25.

Minutes of the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 71 KB

To consider the minutes of the meeting held on 10 September 2015.

Minutes:

Resolved that the minutes of the last meeting held on 10 September 2015 be approved as a correct record.

26.

Performance and Review Sub-Committee pdf icon PDF 20 KB

To consider the minutes of the Performance and Review Sub-Committee meeting held on 14 September 2015.

Minutes:

Resolved that the minutes of the meeting of the Performance and Review Sub-Committee held on 14 September 2015 be approved insofar as they require the approval of the Committee.

27.

Intention to Issue OJEU Notice for the Procurement of Rolling Stock pdf icon PDF 71 KB

To consider a report of the Lead Officer Transport concerning the intention to issue an OJEU Notice for the procurement of a new fleet of Rolling Stock for the Merseyrail Network.  

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Lead Officer Transport concerning the intention to issue an OJEU Notice for the procurement of a new fleet of Rolling Stock for the Merseyrail Network.

 

John Fogarty, the Director of Resources at Merseytravel, provided an outline of the key issues in the report which examined the long and complex work that had been undertaken over a three year period to identify the rolling stock requirements of the Merseyrail network and how best to meet these requirements in the light of the forecast risk to capacity and reliability in future years due to the age of the existing rolling stock. He emphasised that the proposal for the procurement of a new fleet would be self-financing over time and would not impact on local Council Tax payers.

 

The financial model was robust and the business case had clearly identified the risks involved. At this stage, the recommendation was only to issue an OJEU notice and there was not yet a commitment to expenditure on new rolling stock.   

 

Councillor Howard asked about the risk to the Project if Network Rail were to be privatised in future. John Fogarty said there would be risks around any changes in Governance arrangements and that this was a key Project risk but as there was a memorandum of understanding in place which provided a significant financial contribution to the improvement of the infrastructure, he believed Network Rail would maintain a commitment to the Project even in the event of a new Governance structure emerging.

 

David Powell, the Project Director, added that a lot of work had already been undertaken with Network Rail and he believed they understood and were aligned with what was needed. Councillor Norris asked about other options in the event that Network Rail could not fulfil their requirements and Councillor Abbey said he understood that there was a contingency to use other suppliers if Network Rail was unable to meet its requirements. John Fogarty responded that he trusted that the memorandum of understanding would be enforced and David Brown, Chief Executive of Merseytravel, advised that he had written to the new Chair of Network Rail, Sir Peter Hendy, about this and other key Schemes and although they remained the preferred option for delivery, there were other options about which there had been partial discussions.

 

Councillor Rasmussen believed this was a vital Project for the people of the City Region which would bring jobs and economic benefits to the region. David Brown agreed that the intention was to provide an excellent transport system for local people and although the stock would not be built in the area, there would be economic benefits and possibly some local apprenticeships linked to the maintenance of the trains.

 

Councillor Friel was excited about the Project and said it was sad that Councillor Sharp, who had prominently supported it, was no longer around to see it develop. He hoped the design would bring new futuristic innovations which would benefit passengers and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.

28.

Merseytravel Final Accounts 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 236 KB

To consider a report of the Treasurer concerning the Merseytravel Final Accounts for 2014/15 together with the results of the audit by KPMG of those Accounts. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Treasurer concerning the Merseytravel Final Accounts for 2014/15 together with the results of the audit by KPMG of those Accounts.

 

John Fogarty, the Director of Resources, introduced the report and said that the opinion on the Accounts from the auditors, had been unqualified. The audit had identified a number of issues which had led to material and complex adjustments to the financial statements but this had no impact on balances and expenditure.

 

The Director referred to one significant recommendation relating to audit and governance arrangements for Merseytravel which would ensure full compliance with CIPFA standards. The provision would be for an Executive Audit Committee with an independent Chair and another independent member and there would be an appropriate reporting mechanism between this body and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Audit Committee. Finally the Director advised of an objection raised by a member of the public in relation to a historical item from the accounts relating to the internal transfer of funds between two Merseytravel services. The outcome of this matter could be reported to Members once resolved. Councillor Abbey asked that it be placed on record that such complaints did result in a cost to council taxpayers as they required investigation by external auditors.

 

Councillor Carr referred to the audit arrangements for Merseytravel and asked if there was any alternative to the arrangements that would enable elected Member representation. John Fogarty answered that that all possible alternatives had been assessed including the previous arrangements but the legislation precluded such elected Member involvement. Other alternatives such as the representation of District Council Officers or Merseytravel staff were also not possible because of the requirements of CIPFA for independence. Given this outcome, the Chair, Councillor Robinson asked that the most effective model of sharing information with the Chair of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Audit Committee be chosen in order for there to be maximum opportunity for scrutiny and accountability.

 

Finally Councillor Friel commented favourably on explanatory notes that made important and positive references to protecting the environment, the development of smart ticketing and the payment of creditors within 13 days.

 

Resolved that the contents of the Final Accounts of Merseytravel for 2014/15 and the results of the audit of the accounts by KPMG, be noted.

 

 

29.

Quarter 1 Corporate Plan Performance and Financial Monitoring Report 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 213 KB

To consider a report of the Lead Officer Transport concerning an overview of Corporate and Operational performance for Quarter 1 (April to June) 2015/16 and providing an indicator to any key risks to future performance during the year.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Lead Officer Transport concerning an overview of Corporate and Operational performance for Quarter 1 (April to June) 2015/16 and providing an indicator to any key risks to future performance during the year.

 

Katriona Lloyd, the Performance Co-ordinator, provided an overview of the contents of the report and Appendix 1. Dave Edge, the Head of Finance, then outlined the key financial implications with reference to the report and appendices 2 and 3 containing the Revenue Budget Monitoring Statement and the Capital Programme Monitoring for 2015/16. In particular he noted the the favourable variance of £1.0m in financial performance against revenue spending which was contributed to significantly through greater than forecast revenue from Mersey Ferries and Mersey Tunnels and also through savings from staffing vacancies.

 

Councillor Wolfson asked about Key Performance Measure 4 relating to safety and he asked for an explanation about the under-performance referred to for journey times in Queensway Tunnel due to a technical change to the data collection methodology. Katriona Lloyd promised that a detailed explanation of this would be provided to Members as soon as possible after the meeting.

 

Councillor Carr asked about the large variance on consultancy indicated on the Budget Monitoring Statement. Dave Edge explained that this had resulted from work undertaken in support of Transport for the North and the secondment of staff into various workstreams. However this would be self balancing. David Brown added there had been some initial costs arising from the resourcing of Transport for the North, funded from reserves, but this would be reduced in future years with the establishment of the partnership.

 

Councillor Foulkes said he was pleased with the £1.0m underspend especially given the possible requirements of the Comprehensive Spending Review. He asked on the Corporate Priority Updates on the matter regarding the development of a contemporary travel scheme, if the discussions with rail operators set for completion by August 2015, had been completed and John Fogarty affirmed that it had.

 

Councillor Friel commended Asset Management for their pro-activity in many areas such as in the reduction of carbon emissions and the value for money they provided. The contribution of staff at all levels to such performance was to be applauded. Shane Fitzpatrick, the Senior Head of Service Operations, added his thanks to staff and suggested the key to such performance was in continuous improvement and the intention was to look to much greater internal training of staff in future to reduce this budget by as much as 75%.

 

Councillor Howard commented on what he believed were remarkable improvements in sickness absence and he commended everyone who had contributed to this.

 

 

Resolved that:-

 

(a)       the contents of the report submitted to the meeting be noted and the information be used to make any adjustments to planned activity as appropriate; and

 

(b)       further information as required on performance be submitted to the Performance and Review Sub Committee as appropriate.

 

 

 

30.

Merseytravel's Multi- Operator Ticket Scheme - Annual Fare Review pdf icon PDF 150 KB

To consider a report of the Lead Officer Transport Requesting concerning a proposal in respect of the annual fare increase for 2016 for the Merseytravel Ticketing Scheme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Lead Officer Transport concerning a proposal in respect of the annual fare increase for 2016 for the Merseytravel Ticketing Scheme.

 

Steve Sherlock, the Customer and Commercial Development Manager, provided the background to the report and the need to sustain patronage and encourage growth. The intention was to ensure inclusivity on fare prices and that they were affordable to young people and those with low incomes.

 

Councillor Wolfson said that it was vital that fares were affordable for young people and this applied to rail as well as buses. Steve Sherlock said they had worked with Merseyrail to put this message over and to achieve a great complementary offer in the round for public transport.

 

Councillor Robinson said the Young Persons Rail Pass, the first of its type in the UK, demonstrated again the positive approach being taken to affordable travel for young people. He was also pleased by the increases being one of the smallest in the country and by the move towards young persons ticket products, where possible, being 50% of the adult cost. Councillor Rasmussen believed the initiative to make fares affordable for the young was vital as there had been evidence in some cases that high bus fares had led to non attendance at school.

         

 

Resolved that:-

 

(a)       the price recommendations for the Merseytravel Multi-Operator Ticketing Scheme products, to be changed by the 5 January 2016 for Trio, Solo, Railpass and Saveaway Tickets, be approved;

 

(b)       the addition of a new product to the Merseytravel Ticketing Scheme from the 2 January 2016 – Young Persons’ Monthly Railpass - including the product geographic variants that are already available for customers to buy, be approved; and

 

(c)        all of the changes outlined and detailed in Appendix 1 to the report submitted to the meeting, be approved.

 

 

 

31.

Low Emission Vehicle Update pdf icon PDF 90 KB

To consider a report of the Lead Officer Transport concerning an update on the recharging scheme and other work related to Low Emission vehicles and also bids to the Department for Transport as part of the Low Emissions Bus Scheme and Clean Bus Technology funding.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Lead Officer Transport concerning an update on the recharging scheme and other work related to Low Emission vehicles and also bids to the Department for Transport as part of the Low Emissions Bus Scheme and Clean Bus Technology funding.

 

A summary of the report was provided by Steve Leonard, Funding and Programme Team Development Manager.

 

Councillor Abbey thanked the Officer for a positive report but pointed out an error in the table in Appendix B as Hooton Station was not in Wirral but in Ellesmere Port and Neston while St Helens Station was of course in St Helens and not in Wirral. He asked for rectification.

 

Reference was made by Councillor Stockton to the decision recorded in the report by Stagecoach to withdraw from the Liverpool City Region bid in respect of the Low Emission Bus Scheme and he expressed disappointment with this decision and asked about the engagement process undertaken to encourage their participation. Steve Leonard answered that this was a national decision by Stagecoach to only submit three bids but engagement with them would continue in the future in the hope of gaining their future participation.    

 

Councillor Foulkes raised the issue of the Volkswagen Emissions Scandal  and if there were any implications for this organisation in respect of its emissions monitoring. Steve Leonard agreed this was an interesting development and he assured the Member that the team would assess the implications as more information became available.

 

Councillor Norris asked if the list in Appendix B of proposed future charge point locations was complete and Steve Leonard replied that it was unfinished and there were a variety of other locations that hopefully would be added to it.

Councillor Stockton said that in both the existing and the proposed location lists there were none in Halton and he asked if this would change. Steve Leonard said that this should be the case and a location near Runcorn Station was currently being sought.    

  

Resolved that:-

 

(a)       the bi-annual update on the Recharge electric charging post network, be noted;

 

(b)     the on-going work and future funding opportunities around low emission

         vehicles which is continuing in the Liverpool City Region, be noted;

 

(c)    a Liverpool City Region bid under the Low Emission Bus Scheme of the

        Department for Transport be commended to the Combined Authority;

        and

 

(d)    a Liverpool City Region bid under the Clean Bus Technology Fund of the

        Department for Transport, be commended to the Combined Authority. .

 

 

 

32.

Smart Ticketing Update Report September 2015 pdf icon PDF 115 KB

To consider a report of the Lead Officer Transport concerning the regular update report on the Merseytravel Smart Ticketing Programme.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Lead Officer Transport concerning the regular update report on the Merseytravel Smart Ticketing Programme.

 

Paul Hart, the IT Technical Services Manager, provided a verbal summary of the current position as set out in the report, with Project 1 complete and closed and Projects 2 and 3 with a Green status.

 

Councillor Abbey commended the report and the summary provided by Paul Hart and commented that the future of the organisation and of the transport network would be data driven so it was important to get this Project right in order to provide an excellent twenty first century service to the public. Councillor Stockton echoed this commendation and believed this was the best Project of its nature outside London. Councillor Norris also praised the Project although he suggested that better training for Drivers was needed as he had sometimes witnessed drivers waving passengers on to buses without registering their passes. He said that this had particularly been the case on Arriva buses but Councillor Robinson added that it was an important issue that all Operators should address. Liz Chandler, the Director of Corporate Development responded that it was an issue that was constantly raised with Operators and she would report further to Members about it at a future meeting.

 

A question was asked by Councillor Carr about whether cards and passes could be registered centrally so that if they were lost or stolen there could be a possibility for replacement. Liz Chandler responded that this was an issue of national interest with such cards and it was currently being looked at with regard to the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme but would be explored here in the context of Project 3.

 

Councillor Robinson said the process was about improving knowledge and intelligence about customer behaviour and asked in respect of information indicating a customer bought individual tickets consistently every day and did not use a cheaper product, if it could be identified where and when this was happening. Paul Hart replied that this information was known and it may be that the retailer should be contacted to provide the appropriate advice. It demonstrated the importance of the data and how it could be used. Bus Operators were certainly interested in the data. Councillor Abbey expressed annoyance at witnessing bus drivers who did not give simple advice to passengers asking for a single ticket about the possibility of obtaining a cheaper return ticket if they were planning on making such a journey.

 

Resolved that the contents of the report and the progress made to date be noted.