Agenda and minutes

Merseytravel Committee - Thursday, 6th April, 2017 2.00 pm

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

Contact: Michelle Keating, 0151 330 1086 

No. Item


Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations of interest received.




Minutes of the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 93 KB


Resolved that the minutes of the last meeting held on 2 March 2017 be approved as a correct record.




Arriva Presentation pdf icon PDF 4 MB

To consider a presentation from Howard Farrall, Area Managing Director, Arriva Merseyside









The Committee considered a presentation from Howard Farrall, Area Managing Director of Arriva Merseyside with regard to their operations.


Councillor Robinson thanked Mr Farrall for the presentation and referred to a previous meeting he had attended whereby he was questioned about the price of travel for young people. As the Committee were aware, this issue reached a satisfactory conclusion shortly after the meeting and he hoped that any matters that arose during the discussion today could be resolved in a similar manner.


Councillor Abbey referred to the challenge that Arriva Merseyside faced with achieving the company’s commercial interests but also fulfilling the commitments of the Liverpool City Region Bus Alliance (the Alliance). One particular example was fares as Arriva had recently announced a fare increase, however, this went against the aims of the Alliance. He went on to commend the Alliance’s achievement of almost 10% passenger growth and asked what Arriva’s plans were to support future growth.


Mr Farrall replied that the previous two years had been a great success and the growth was predominantly from child tickets. This had been achieved without the assistance of a marketing strategy, which now approved would allow the successes of the Alliance and the investment made to be promoted. With regard to the comments on fares, this had to be carefully balanced as profit was required to enable further investment. In order to achieve continued growth, the Alliance had set further targets and although these were ambitious all partners would strive to meet them. In relation to franchising, Mr Farrall advised that this did not concern him, although partnerships would be the operator’s preferred arrangement.


Councillor Abbey further questioned how the operator could justify offering discounts on some tickets, with only certain passengers benefitting, but increasing fares overall; particularly when Arriva had benefitted from low fuel prices over recent years and an increase in patronage. Mr Farrall agreed that the increase in the age of young person’s travel to 19 had generated significant growth, specifically 80% for Arriva Merseyside; however this equated to a 120% discount on the original ticket price. As mentioned previously the matter of fares was a balancing act and the operator required more than 80% growth to break even on such a massive discount. In response to the comments regarding fuel, the prices were fixed for three years but it was labour that was the biggest outlay, with these costs equating to 55%. Arriva had also made significant investment over the past three years spending £70 million on new vehicles, which had not been matched by any other operator in the country outside of London.


In response to a question from Councillor Williams regarding Arriva Merseyside’s willing to enter into discussions with Merseytravel regarding the introduction of short hop fares, due to the expense of flat fares for some passengers, Mr Farrall advised that he would have no objections. The operator recognised that short journeys were expensive but flat fares provided great value for longer journeys and were easier  ...  view the full minutes text for item 65.


Improving the Bus Offer for the Liverpool City Region pdf icon PDF 100 KB

To consider a report of Merseytravel concerning the progress made in improving the bus offer for the Liverpool City Region, in particular the highlights of the first year of the Bus Alliance, and an update on the local approach to the Bus Services Bill




The Committee considered a report of Merseytravel regarding progress made over the past year in improving the bus offer for the Liverpool City Region, in particular the achievements the first year of the Liverpool City Region Bus Alliance.


Councillor Abbey suggested that significant work was needed to the Arriva app as it was not the most reliable. Information advising passengers on the reasons why services were delayed would be a welcome addition. As an aside he commended the bus operators for the work they were doing with Merseytravel on the Alliance. He also expressed admiration for the Merseytravel Bus Team who undertook a significant amount of work for a small team and he thanked them for this and for the support they offered to Elected Members and in particular to him in his role as Lead Member for Bus.


Councillor Friel commended the 9.7% increase in patronage that had been achieved by the Alliance. This partnership had proven to be really successful and was leading the way for the rest of the country. He further referred to the range of ticketing products on offer and suggested that this be simplified, especially for the benefit of visitors to the City Region. Lastly he re-iterated an earlier point made during the previous item regarding the great investment in greener vehicles and hoped to see this continue.




Councillor Abbey left the meeting




The Head of Bus agreed with the comments relating to the range of products currently on offer and work was on-going to remove the historical ticketing areas in order to simplify the offer and allow for improved communication of what was available. With regard to investment in vehicles, as Mr Farrall mentioned earlier this was dependent on funding. There was the ambition to increase the number of greener vehicles on the network and Merseytravel would be working with the bus operators on this.


Councillor Stockton added that carbon neutral buses were essential and strongly expressed the need for as many bids as possible to be submitted for these vehicles. It was important to reduce the carbon footprint wherever possible.


Councillor Thomas referred to the Transport Focus Bus Passenger Survey and expressed disappointment that there were no questions regarding those with reduced mobility, especially given the recent court ruling relating to wheelchair spaces on buses. She asked that this be included in next year’s survey. The Head of Bus advised that although the survey was standardised Merseytravel did have the opportunity to request additional questions and would raise this with Transport Focus.


With further reference to the Supreme Court judgement there were concerns rasied amongst the Committee that although clear in some aspects there was still some uncertainty surrounding it. It was suggested that an Alliance approach be developed in order to ensure consistency across local bus services. This approach was welcomed by the representatives of Arriva and Stagecoach who were present at the meeting.


Resolved that:-


(a)          the contents of the report be noted; and


(b)          a report on the progress  ...  view the full minutes text for item 66.


Bus Infrastructure Policy pdf icon PDF 82 KB

To consider a report of Merseytravel concerning the Bus Infrastructure Policy, which would be used to guide the development and renewal of bus stop infrastructure across Merseyside



Additional documents:


The Committee considered a report of Merseytravel regarding the Bus Infrastructure Policy, which had been produced to guide the development and renewal of bus stop infrastructure across Merseyside.


Resolved that the Bus Infrastructure Policy be endorsed.




Real Time Information Policy pdf icon PDF 77 KB

To consider a report of Merseytravel concerning a formal policy with respect to the provision of Real Time Information on the bus network





Additional documents:


The Committee considered a report of Merseytravel regarding the provision of a Real Time Information (RTI) policy for the bus network, which was intended to guide and inform the decisions and approach taken in respect of the deployment of RTI across Merseyside.


Councillor Friel sought and received clarification that the phase out of screens would not be done in advance of the move towards greater use of web-based technology.


Councillor Nicholas welcomed the report and looked forward to the introduction of the new technology.


Councillor Rasmussen commended the report and in particular the Equality and Diversity Implications section, which was appropriately detailed and she hoped it would be replicated in all future reports.


In response to a question from Councillor Carr regarding whether any companies other than CCUK had been approached about sponsorship, Officers advised that CCUK had exclusivity due to the contract Merseytravel had with them.


Resolved that the Real Time Information Policy be endorsed.






Merseytravel Walrus - Card Activation Fee pdf icon PDF 165 KB

To consider a report of Merseytravel concerning the production cost of Walrus cards and the introduction of a card activation fee






The Committee considered a report of Merseytravel regarding the current status of the production cost of Walrus cards and the introduction of a card activation fee aimed at managing this cost.


Councillor Friel referred to 6.2 of the report and sought assurance that Officers would not allow the current stock of cards to run out before the implementation date of the activation fee. The Director of Corporate Development confirmed that this had been identified as a possible risk and although an earlier implementation date had been considered it was not possible due to audit requirements and the work that would have to be undertaken with PayPoint to train their retailers.


Councillor Carr welcomed the proposed fee and the responsibility on the holder to retain the card for future use. He also enquired whether the cards could be registered to an individual and was advised that there were plans for each card to have a unique identifier which, was not mandatory, but would link to the Walrus portal and allow personal details to be entered.


Councillor Nicholas also welcomed the fee. She further commended the success of Walrus and the volume of cards that had been issued since it was launched in 2015, and thanked the team for the work that had been done on the project.


Also in favour of the fee was Councillor Stockton who hoped that it would encourage card retention. He further commended the Director of Corporate Development and the team for their work and for the number of products that were now available on the Walrus platform.


Resolved that the activation fee of £1 for all new Walrus cards issued, with a target implementation date of August 2017, subject to operational and financial planning, be approved.




2017-18 Corporate Plan and Performance Reporting Process pdf icon PDF 99 KB

To consider a report of Merseytravel concerning the Merseytravel Corporate Plan for 2017/18



Additional documents:


The Committee considered a report of Merseytravel regarding the Merseytravel Corporate Plan for 2017/18.


Following requests from Members for the inclusion of ‘sustainable’ in Merseytravel’s mission and for the references to Transport for the North, Rail North and the Bus Alliance to be made clearer, Officers advised that these would be taken into account prior to publication of the Plan.


Resolved that the 2017/18 Merseytravel Corporate Plan and associated reporting process be endorsed.