Venue: Authority Chamber - No.1 Mann Island, Liverpool, L3 1BP. View directions
Contact: Democratic Services team
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor D Baum and J Jackson.
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest received.
The Chair wished Councillor Baum a speedy recovery as he was in hospital. The Chair also extended best wishes to Shane Fitzpatrick and Dil Masters who were both recovering from surgery.
The Committee formally thanked Michelle Keating, Democratic Services Team Leader, who had recently left the organisation for an exciting family opportunity in Cornwall. Michelle had played a key role in Merseytravel and the Transport Committee and its predecessor over a number of years and she was thanked for her considerable efforts. The Chair wished her and her family good luck in their new life.
The Committee considered the minutes of the meeting held on 7 June 2018.
Councillor Foulkes referred to the view of his recorded in minute 8 with reference to cycle tracks and he clarified that his concern related to the number of pot holes in roads with cycle tracks.
Resolved that subject to noting the above clarification the minutes be approved as a correct record.
Northern Rail Presentation
To consider a presentation from Craig Harrop, Northern Rail.
Craig Harrop, Interim Regional Director at Northern Rail, gave a presentation regarding the recent disruptions to service caused by the introduction of the May Timetable.
Craig Harrop commenced the presentation by offering a sincere apology for the unacceptable disruptions that passengers in the North had faced during this challenging situation. He stated he was personally truly sorry for what had happened and that Northern Rail was working extremely hard to rectify the situation.
The presentation then focused on the contributing factors to the service disruptions which included an extensive driver training programme, delays to infrastructure for electric trains, changes to the ‘Driver Rest Day Working Agreement’ and the introduction of the May Timetable. The Committee were advised about the actions Northern had taken once the severity of the disruptions became apparent and the Independent Investigation led by Stephen Glaister which aimed to review what had happened and how it could be avoided in the future. Northern Rail announced the compensation programme for passengers who had been affected by the service disruptions and the intended recovery plan was explained.
Councillor Abbey questioned what progress was being made to improve integration between Arriva Bus and Rail particularly at major interchanges such as Liverpool South Parkway and he requested a timeframe for the implementation of better connected services. The Committee was assured by Craig Harrop that Northern Rail were keen to improve connectivity with Arriva Bus and build upon the relationship established during the Slab Track Works as Arriva provided a Rail Replacement Bus Service.
Advice was provided that Northern Rail were working with Merseytravel and Arriva Bus to develop a pilot scheme in St Helens which sought to develop an integrated ‘Transport Hub’. There was a similar pilot in the North East and they both would seek to promote better integration although it was noted that there needed to ‘through travel’ and alterations to Timetables.
It was suggested that it was usually easier to change the bus timetables rather than rail timetables and that bus colleagues needed to be involved in the timetable consultation process that was already established with Merseytravel. Craig Harrop then assured Councillor Abbey that he would discuss the issue further, identify problem areas and provide an update to a future meeting.
Councillor Carr acknowledged that some of the factors which contributed to the severity of the recent disruptions were outside of the control of Northern Rail however he queried whether some of the labour issues including the current industrial dispute and issue of driver training could have been dealt with more effectively with the relevant trade unions. Craig Harrop responded that the Glaister investigation would look at all such issues but that Northern Rail continued to seek a solution with RMT on the issue of ‘’driver only operation’ and he said that these talks were progressing positively at this juncture.
Councillor Stockton thanked Craig Harrop for his presentation and raised concerns over communication issues which not only provided no warning of problems to the Department for Transport (Dft), ... view the full minutes text for item 17.
To consider a report of Merseytravel concerning a summary of key activities within the Mersey Ferries, including an update on progress of the long term Ferries strategy.
The Committee considered a report of Merseytravel and an associated presentation by Gary Evans, Head of Customer Delivery concerning a summary of key activities within Mersey Ferries and the long term strategy for Mersey Ferries.
The Committee was briefed on actions undertaken in the last 6-9 months and the technological faults that had arisen due to the age of the vessels. In 2018 MerseyFerries had its largest Cruise Event Programme to date and there had been a lot of customer feedback to learn from. The upcoming schedule of Manchester Ship Canal Cruises was already at 80% occupancy and the Beatles themed cruises had almost sold out completely.
Regarding procurement, there had recently been a supplier’s event wherein suppliers, both local and national, had attended and this had been viewed as successful.
Gary Evans also briefed the Committee on the long term plan for the Royal Daffodil moving forward as the expression of interest deadline would be 12 July 2018.
The strategy assumed no budget for the removal of Woodside landing stage and acknowledged that a key decision needed to be made regarding Woodside’s future.
Councillor Foulkes thanked Gary Evans for his presentation and noted there were lots of positive actions such as procuring new vessels, which he hoped could be done locally if possible. However, Councillor Foulkes queried the actions surrounding the landing stages in need of maintenance. Last year the Committee had stated they wanted the Long Term Strategy to include all 3 terminals and this report seemed to focus on Pierhead and Seacombe with a question mark over the future of Woodside. Councillor Foulkes encouraged MerseyFerries to engage with Wirral Council and its partners including Wirral Growth Company which was engaged in the biggest single investment procurement exercise taking place in the country. He believed a two boat/three terminal strategy would be best and he suggested there should be a further report on that possibility and the funding issues associated with it.
Councillor Williams stated that from a heritage standpoint MerseyFerries needed to include Woodside with its rich history from Monksferry to Lairds. He also thanked officers for the recent Jack Potter event which celebrated the life of a spitfire pilot from Wirral recently portrayed in the film ‘Dunkirk’. His family had been in attendance at the event and all feedback had been very positive.
With regard to the future for the Royal Daffodil, Councillor Rowe enquired as to whether the expressions of interest had focused on tourism and heritage or as a static restaurant or café. Gary Evans explained that they had not wanted to limit the opportunities and so were expecting plans for a number of different prospects such as a boat museum, café or even a training facility. It was noted that some options may be hard to develop as viable propositions due to the associated costs.
The Manchester Ship Canal had been unable to operate as planned last year and Councillor Carr questioned whether passengers had been compensated and if so by whom. The ... view the full minutes text for item 18.
To consider a report of Merseytravel concerning an overview of corporate and operational performance of Merseytravel for Quarter 4 (October to December) 2017/18 and providing an indicator to any key risks to future performance during the year.
The Committee considered a report of Merseytravel concerning an overview of the corporate and operational performance of Merseytravel for Quarter 4 2017/18.
Stephen Littler explained that the report showed that the overall activities and indicators of performance were positive and that Merseytravel was moving in the right direction with mostly amber-green indicators.
Director of Resources, John Fogarty, noted that revenue had been impacted by the Rolling Stock Project and a reduction in the Special Rail Grant but that the Beatles Story had been performing well and paid a dividend to Merseytravel that had helped to operate the Mersey Ferries. He also said that in most cases where there had been slippage in capital programmes, such as with Halton curve, this had been due to factors beyond the direct control of Merseytravel.
Councillor Foulkes reminded the Committee that for three years there has been a cut to the Transport Levy and Officers had managed to continue to perform outstandingly on which they should be congratulated. However challengers remained and it was acknowledged that there may now be further savings that need to be made and Members must continue to work together to protect the front line services provided to the public.
Councillor Nicholas thanked Officers for their work and suggested that performance was moving in the right direction. However she referred to the absence of data in the report under KPI4 ‘’Punctuality’’ and Stephen Littler explained that an IT problem had prevented the Officers from including some information in the report but this would be rectified and the data sent to Members as soon as possible.
Councillor Stockton also thanked Officers for their hard work and queried page 36 of the report (Priority 5.e) which stated the Terms of Reference for TAG were on hold. Stephen Littler explained that this was related to the role of Policy and LTP in Merseytravel since May and that a realignment of activity to the Combined Authority meant this would be picked up in the next few months.
With regard to the Special Rail Grant, John Fogarty explained in response to a further question by Councillor Stockton, that due to the reduction in the Grant, Merseytravel were exploring every solution for funding the deficit. Savings could be made from within the network e.g. fares or operational costs or outside the network from other areas but it was highlighted as a big issue this year which Members would need to be involved with.
Councillor Stockton finally queried the progress of the Smarter Ticketing Project and the software issue referred to in the report. The Officer leading the project, Liz Chandler was asked to send an appropriate update on this issue.
Resolved that the contents of the report be noted.
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 and 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 by either:
Telephone: 0151 330 1086
In writing: Democratic Services, Merseytravel, No.1 Mann Island, PO Box 1976, Liverpool, L69 3HN
A pro-forma will be supplied which, for this meeting must be returned by
5.00pm on Friday 6 July 2018. In this respect, return details are set out in the pro-forma.
The Chair announced that no public questions had been received for this 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:
Telephone: 0151 330 1086
In writing: Democratic Services, Merseytravel, 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 Friday 6 July 2018.
The Chair announced that no petitions or statements had been received for this item.