Venue: Authority Chamber - No.1 Mann Island, Liverpool, L3 1BP. View directions
Contact: Democratic Services team
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest received.
To consider the minutes of the last meeting held on 12 July 2018.
The Committee considered the minutes of the last meeting held on 12 July 2018.
Resolved that the minutes of the last meeting be approved as a correct record.
Network Rail Presentation
To consider a verbal presentation from a Network Rail representative providing an update on key priorities and the delivery of projects.
The Chair announced that the Network Rail Presentation had been deferred to a future meeting of the Transport Committee.
To consider a report of Merseytravel providing an update on Mersey Tunnels.
The Committee considered a report of Merseytravel presented by Gary Evans, Head of Customer Delivery which summarised the key activities at Mersey Tunnels.
Section 3 of the report detailed key projects undertaken such as the Kingsway Rewire (which was now complete) and Tolls Refresh System. It was noted that, subject to testing, in-lane card payments would launch in September 2018.
The report also provided detail on the Liverpool to Chester Bike Ride and it was noted that some changes had been identified to improve the event for next year.
Councillor Friel thanked Gary Evans for the report and queried the cost to date of the Toll Refresh Project. He was advised that the cost was estimated at approximately £3.1 million.
As the Lead Officer for Tunnels, Councillor Nicholas extended her thanks to the Officers involved in the projects at Mersey Tunnels and commented on the benefits of the £1 Fast Tag for the travelling public.
The report highlighted that there had been £90,000 of savings at Mersey Tunnels and that there was also an expected reduction of 450 tonnes of CO2 as part of the Kingsway Rewire which Councillor Stockton congratulated Officers on.
Councillor Carr raised a query on vehicle classification, specifically how Class 1 and 2 are determined. Gary Evans explained that classification specified the seat capacity of a vehicle as opposed to the number of passengers in the vehicle. Class 2 vehicles were defined by 9 or more seats. It was suggested that further work could be done to clarify classification to tunnel users through Merseytravel’s Customer Communications. It was noted that it would not be possible to make any direct changes to the wording of the classifications as this was stipulated by the County of Merseyside Act 1980 (amended by the Mersey Tunnels Act 2004) and any changes could only be made by an Order of the Secretary of State.
Secondly, Councillor Carr asked whether Class 2 vehicles with Fast Tags would be able to use the Fast Tag lane but was advised that all Class 2 vehicles needed to be manually classified at the attended booth. Merseytravel were looking into automatic classification technology but very few systems had the capability to count seats inside a vehicle.
The Chair echoed the sentiments of the Members and thanked Gary Evans for his report and the progress that had been made, most notably that members of the public were able to travel through the tunnel 15% quicker than previously.
Resolved that the contents of the report be noted.
To consider a report of Merseytravel providing an update on the development of the West Coast Partnership Franchise.
The Committee considered a report of Merseytravel, presented by Tom Carberry, Rail Development Advisor, which provided an update on the West Coast Partnership Franchise.
The report provided further detail regarding the three bidding companies for the West Coast Partnership and noted that all three had requested high level political discussions as well as technical discussions with Officers.
Tom Carberry explained that the report recommended continued lobbying for two trains per hour between Liverpool and London as it was believed that this was warranted by demand.
It was expected that long distance journeys on the West Coast Main Line would eventually transfer to HS2 and Merseytravel would continue to work with partners to ensure all goals were met.
Discussions had focused on issues such as ticketing, future partnership working and stakeholder engagement and an announcement was expected in the summer of next year.
Tom Carberry acknowledged that the report was ‘light’ on detail but that this was as a direct result of Non-Disclosure Agreements with all three bidding companies.
Councillor Friel queried the wording of recommendation (c) in the report and suggested adding ‘as soon as possible’ as the project could move quicker than expected. Councillor Friel explained that he felt that progress could be quicker than expected as cities like Birmingham and Manchester already had more trains per hour than Liverpool. He referenced a report in the Liverpool Echo which stated more people were travelling from London to Liverpool than the other way around which consolidated the demand for two trains per hour.
Furthermore, Councillor Friel conveyed concern in regard to the current franchising model. Chris Grayling, Transport Secretary, had promised a review of franchising which would look to award contracts based on the best outcome and not just price. Councillor Robinson endorsed these comments and stated it would be preferable if the West Coast Franchise was contracted to British companies as opposed to French, Chinese or Italian (the 3 current bidders), but the rules had been fixed by the Government.
Similarly Councillor Foulkes stated that there was a great discomfort amongst Members and also the public, who were mostly open to the renationalisation of the Railways but saw big risks in Brexit and felt discomfort about handing British assets over to other countries. Members had concerns over this kind of franchising but would have to continue to try and get the best deal for the public.
With regards to the recommendations of the report, Councillor Howard fully supported (b), but queried point 3.16 which suggested there were ‘resource implications’. Tom Carberry explained that this project came as part of the Rail team’s usual tasks but that colleagues from Smarter Ticketing and other departments would need to be involved. In order to ensure a joined up approach between different departments, the report had included the suggestion of resource implications but this work would be covered under ‘business as usual’ for the Rail team.
During discussions with the bidders, Councillor Nicholas questioned whether social value had been considered in the procurement ... view the full minutes text for item 26.
To consider a report of Merseytravel providing a Quarterly Bus Update.
The Committee considered a report of Merseytravel, presented by Matt Goggins, Head of Bus, which provided a regular update on Bus. The report focused on the Bus Alliance, the Bus Business Case and supported services.
The report included verified patronage data which presented a mixed picture as there had been a 2-3% drop in figures, the first annual drop since the Alliance began. However patronage still exceeded the 10% target of fare paying patronage growth and there had been an increase in Young Persons travel of 162%. It was also noted that industrial action during the previous year had had significant impact on patronage.
The Passenger Survey had revealed a rise in customer satisfaction to 92% with driver satisfaction performing well, particularly their helpfulness to customers. Cleanliness had also risen by 9% due to an enhanced cleaning regime.
The appendix to the report was a twelve month impact analysis of the St Helens review wherein the reduced budget had led to reduced spending on supported bus services. A 7% increase of patronage in that area suggested that passengers had moved to commercial services and so were still able to travel.
The report also outlined the transfer of all contracts to the new Terms and Conditions and the implementation of ArrivaClick. Finally, the results of the Transport Focus Passenger Survey had identified low levels of customer satisfaction with the ‘waiting environments’. Therefore, Merseytravel were in the process of developing a survey of stops and shelters to build a better picture of what improvements were needed.
Councillor Abbey thanked the team for their continued hard work. He recognised that public finances were not in the position to support bus services as much as they had been able to in the past and felt that Operators needed to help cover the gaps. With regard to the strikes on Arriva, Councillor Abbey noted that customer confidence had taken a knock and reliability and punctuality would need to improve to get people back on the bus. Carbon neutral modes such as electric buses and hydro gas fuelled vehicles were also needed to improve the offer to passengers.
With regards to the St Helens Review, Councillor Pearl had concern as he had received a number of complaints from residents over the loss of the link between Eccleston and Prescot. Complaints had come from hospital workers unable to get to work and relatives of patients unable to visit the hospital via public transport. Councillor Pearl stated that Eccleston had an elderly population who now had to pay for taxis to travel as using the bus meant travelling three miles out of their way and changing buses. There had also been complaints that children could not get to school in Prescot since the bus service was taken away and needed to walk two miles to St Helens Road instead. Councillor Pearl also identified horse riders, shoppers and the cricket club as suffering from the loss of the transport link and that Bus Operators should help to fund the ... view the full minutes text for item 27.
To consider a report of Merseytravel providing the Merseytravel Accounts 2017-2018.
The Board considered a report of the Treasurer providing a detailed view of the Merseytravel Accounts 2017-2018, presented by Sarah Johnston, Head of Finance at Merseytravel.
Sarah Johnston explained that this was the first year that the statutory deadline for completing the accounts had been brought forward to the 31 May. The Accounts had been considered by Merseytravel on 25 July and had gone on to a meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority on 27 July 2018.
Councillor Stockton asked if there had been a forward stress test undertaken by the organisation on its financial robustness as there had been cuts each year. Sarah Johnston clarified that a stress test was undertaken as part of the Annual Budgeting Cycle every three years.
Given the decline in the public purse, Councillor Abbey felt it showed great robustness of Merseytravel’s money management that it was able to do so much. He acknowledged the ‘unqualified’ decision of the report and felt that was worth crediting given the difficulties faced by other Councils.
Councillor Nicholas thanked the Officers for the report and echoed Councillor Abbey’s sentiment that during a time of austerity, Merseytravel were able to provide a good service. Councillor Nicholas highlighted that page 85 of the report had an image wherein all the figures were moving uphill, except for a woman with a pram, and wondered if this could be altered or fed back. Sarah Johnston assured Councillor Nicholas that she would feed this back to the originators of the image.
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 Monday 06 August 2018. In this respect, return details are set out in the pro-forma.
The Chair informed members that there had been two Public Questions received from Mr John Brace. The first was addressed to Councillor Robinson and was as follows:
Details of the agenda and reports for public meetings of the Transport Committee used to be published around a week in advance of the meeting on Merseytravel's website at http://moderngov.merseytravel.uk.net. I realise that the complete agenda packs for upcoming public meetings of the Transport Committee are now published on the LCRCA website at http://liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk/meetings-196 . Will the LCRCA be publishing agendas and reports for upcoming public meetings in the future using the more user-friendly Modern.gov software (that it previously did on Merseytravel's website) and if so when do you expect this to happen?
Councillor Robinson thanked Mr Brace for his question and assured him that a response would be issued in 10 working days in line with the Constitution.
Mr Brace’s second question was addressed to Councillor Foulkes and was as follows:
On the last day of the
public inspection period for the 2017/18 accounts, I emailed a
request to inspect and receive copies of 141 invoices relating to
either Merseytravel or the LCRCA for the 17/18 financial year.
Whereas I realise that copies of eight of the invoices were
supplied in response to an earlier FOI request, that still leaves
copies of 133 invoices that I have not received. I made a request
for copies of a similar quantity of invoices to another public body
this year and the information requested was supplied within five
calendar days of the request being made. Two weeks ago I received a
reply from a Merseytravel employee implying he was awaiting legal
advice from Louise Outram but have not heard anything since. I
attach to this question a two page letter from the Director of the
National Audit Office to Lambeth Council which states “it may
not be appropriate to take the limitations in FOI legislation and
apply them to public inspection” (the Senior Information
Management Officer had previously stated his intention to treat the
request as a FOI request). Will Merseytravel and the LCRCA supply
me with copies of the 133 invoices requested on or before the date
of this meeting (9th August 2018) which will be four
weeks after the request was originally made?
Councillor Foulkes thanked Mr Brace for his question and ongoing due diligence of Merseytravel systems. A response would be issued to Mr Brace in 10 working days in line with the Constitution.
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 Monday 06 August 2018.
The Chair announced that no petitions or statements had been received for this item.