Liverpool City Region needs a flag? What next!!!

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/steve-rotheram-promises-flag-liverpool-11810925#ICID=sharebar_twitter

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

Well I have heard everything now. It’s as if Merseyside does not have enough challenges and problems to solve!

Let’s talk about educational attainment, public health, housing and the environment but not about whether we need a sub-regional flag.

Merseyside’s Metro Mayor – Kilfoyle’s view of Anderson in the Guardian

www.theguardian.com/membership/2016/aug/05/peter-kilfoyle-liverpool-labour-momentum-jeremy-corbyn

The Guardian has the story – see link above

The interesting part for me is Kilfoyle’s view on Joe Anderson the present Mayor of Liverpool who wanted to be Mayor of Merseyside but did not get selected by the Labour Party. The extract from the article below is telling:-

“Nothing personal against Joe Anderson as such. I don’t think he has been a very good mayor for the city. I think the city has had a lot of bread and circuses [as] I describe it. Like today the announcement of a bid, a bid for the Commonwealth Games. It is all very nice but of course it depends on an 80% grant from government and finding another 20% from somewhere. But when you look at the actual record, it is not about Joe as a person. It is about how the city has been run. And it is the second lowest authority in the country in terms of economic growth, according to the Office of National Statistics. There is only East Lincolnshire which has done worse, believe it or not. On Greater Merseyside, Liverpool is the only economy which has contracted. All the surrounding districts have expanded. So there is something going wrong here. And I worry that underneath all the glitter and glitz of things which happen in the city centre the wider issues of the city are being lost somewhere and, of course, if that was to be extended into the wider conurbation when we have a city region, it could be disastrous. Particularly coming up to 2017, next year, because Joe has said that the cash runs out. The official audit report on the city said that in 2018 the city will go broke. Now I am not somebody to gainsay the Office of National Statistics but it is worrying about the way in which the city is being run.”

Labour crisis – Is the Glass half full or half empty?

You could not help but wonder yesterday what on earth was going on when Pat Glass MP resigned from Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet only two or is that 3 days after she accepted an invitation to join it as Shadow Education Secretary!

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She clearly does not know whether her glass is half full or half empty. I bet this will haunt her for a long time.

My understanding, from what I would consider a reliable Labour source, is that Sefton Central MP, Bill Esterson is backing Jeremy Corbyn together with fellow Merseyside Labour MP’s Peter Dowd (Bootle) and Steve Rotherham (Walton). Steve Rotherham of course wants to be Labour’s candidate in Merseyside’s new Metro Mayor election in 2017. If my understanding is not correct I am happy to amend as I notice that the MP’s were far less clear, than my source, in this weeks Champion newspaper.

Merseyside Bus Alliance

Display on No.58  Nottingham bus

Merseytravel Committee Members recently took the decision to recommend that the Combined Liverpool City Region Authority gives consent to the signing of a ‘Bus Alliance’ agreement by Merseytravel, Arriva and Stagecoach.

This is me with the Lydiate & Maghull resident's petition in 2015 at a 311 bus stop in Lydiate. The petition was not collected by me I would add but by the hard work of locals concerned about the loss of this Arriva route to Ormskirk. The battle was sadly lost.

This is me with the Lydiate & Maghull resident’s petition in 2015 at a 311 bus stop in Lydiate. The petition was not collected by me I would add but by the hard work of locals concerned about the loss of this Arriva route to Ormskirk. The battle was sadly lost.

According to Merseytravel the Alliance, which other operators can join, is focused on offering bus users seamless, hassle free and value for money travel right from planning their journeys through to getting off at their destination. It aims to build on the high customer satisfaction levels for bus in the City Region and to encourage people who don’t currently use the bus to realise the benefits.

Mm, not sure about ‘high customer satisfaction levels for bus in the City Region’, they can’t be talking to the same people I talk to as the answer I am getting is that folks think our bus services in the Sefton part of Merseyside are poor indeed.

The first 12 months of the Alliance would see a number of initiatives including an initial £19m investment in greener buses with free WiFi and USB charging points; the introduction of one point of contact for ‘bus’ customer service; new customer service training for drivers; improved links to John Lennon Airport and the rail network; the development of a trial 24-hour bus route and the start of a strategic review to create a simpler, clearer bus network.

Subject to the signing of the ‘Bus Alliance’ agreement, Merseytravel Committee Members also approved both a three year plan for the continued roll out of smart ticketing– following the millionth ticket sale on the Walrus card back in February, and changes that would mark a key first stage in simplifying ticket buying.

Well, this sceptic hopes that Merseytravel can turn around the quality, reliability and customer friendliness issues that bedevil our local bus routes. Here’s hoping.

Smart ticketing developments would include customers being able to purchase operator tickets on Walrus cards and a new day Solo, which would launch in the summer and going smart later this year with people being able to load as many as they wanted on their Walrus for use when needed.

Merseytravel also approved recommendations for all Solo tickets to be ‘valid across Merseyside’ this summer, simplifying fares and bringing the costs down for current ‘all areas’ users by as much as £268 for those currently buying a yearly adult peak Solo.

My comments are those in italics

The Liverpool City Region Authority supported the Bus Alliance agreement at its meeting held on 15th April.

Halton Curve – Rail scheme given a further green light

Green light to the Halton Curve rail scheme by Liverpool City Region Authority.

There’s every chance that this one will be announced to death as every step towards the opening of this rail curve seems to be the last green light only for more to pop up as someone/some organisation needs to be seen to be giving the last green light, if you get my drift. The following is from Merseytravel in response to the Liverpool City Region Authority giving their green light on 15th April.

‘This will open up leisure and work opportunities by offering new connections between Liverpool, Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Runcorn, Frodsham, Helsby, Chester and, in future, North Wales. Work is due to start on site in June 2017 and be completed by May 2018.

Approval of the business case unlocks the £10.4m allocated to the scheme through the Government’s Local Growth Fund (LGF). At today’s meeting, the CA also approved an additional £5.67m for the scheme to come from the City Region’s LGF pot. This is in recognition that the initial bid to Government in 2014 was based on a high level estimate at an early stage of scheme development.’

I think the extra £5.67 is local authority speak for we got the sums wrong or more likely Network Rail did?!

Merseyside taking control of its railway stations?

Well it seems so as the Liverpool City Region Authority recently agreed to the development of proposals that would see Merseyside take greater control of stations on the Merseyrail network– currently owned and strategically managed by Network Rail.

Aintree Station at night

Aintree Station at night

Proposals will consider how greater control of stations locally will help target investment, improving the experience for existing passengers and encouraging new users. They will also look at how allowing for better use of station facilities and land can support regeneration and economic development.

Mm, we will have to see the detail of this when it is worked up but at face value if this is taking local control from a national company (Network rail) then it could well be a positive move. However, as with many things the devil will be in the detail.

Hillside Station clearly showing its LMS history.

Hillside Station clearly showing its LMS history.