Liverpool John Lennon Airport staff to strike over pay

News that Liverpool John Lennon Airport staff are to go on strike if their demand for a 3.6% pay rise is not met is on the BBC web site – See link below:-

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-45208696

Extract from the article ‘Firefighters, bird control staff, engineers and drivers at Liverpool John Lennon Airport are to go on strike because of a pay dispute.’

Merseytravel – Did Merseytram knock the stuffing out of innovative/progressive transport planning in the City Region??

The now Transport Committee of Liverpool City Region was previously know as Merseyside Passenger Transport Authority and Executive and it had (around 10 years ago or more) an unfortunate dabble in trying to bring a modern tramway system into being for Merseyside.

These were the proposed Merseytram routes serving eastern and south Liverpool

Indeed, the whole project failed when the last Labour Government pulled the plug on funding following all kinds of rescue attempts by Merseyside politicians to keep it afloat. Tram tracks had even been purchased and were stored at Hull docks if recall correctly.

This promotional Merseytram bookmark is about all that Liverpool City Region has to show for its big tram ideas.

But this posting is not to rehearse the rise and fall of Merseytram but more to speculate on the consequences of its failure. You see I do try to keep up to date with passenger transport initiatives on Merseyside particularly with regard to rail solutions and the thing is not much has happened since Merseytram and I’m yet to be convinced that any credible initiatives are in the offing.

There are parts of Merseyside and beyond that would welcome extensions of the present heavy rail Merseyrail 3rd rail electrified system and others where a light rail/tram solution would be of huge benefit. For example Liverpool John Lennon Airport is still not connected to the rail network and you could say that when Merseytram was being worked up the fact that the first line was not to go to the airport sealed the fate of the whole project. Another example is the long proposed reopening of the railway branch from Aintree to Bootle for passengers but despite years of talk nothing has happened to progress it.

What I’m wondering is whether the failure of Merseytram really did knock the stuffing out of progressive local transport solution thinking on Merseyside and that since then treading water with the odd new station opening on present railway lines is about the limit of the confidence of transport planners? I say this as cities across the UK are now heavily involved in innovative light rail and tram based solutions to get people about efficiently and to reduce environmental pollution. An example is Nottingham which I visited recently. Their modern tram system is a delight and at only £4 to ride the trams all day it’s cost effective for passengers too.

A Nottingham NET Tram at the Phoenix Park terminus.

I’m not suggesting that the heavy rail Merseyrail system should be replaced by light rail or a tramway, indeed the priority should be to extend it to places like Preston, Skelmersdale and Wrexham. However, alongside that Liverpool and wider Merseyside may well be able to benefit from light rail/tramway developments where extension of Merseyrail is not a sensible way forward.

But where is the ambition, the vision and the green transport revolution for Merseyside? Time for the City Region to stop licking its wounds and start some real transport planning again.

Liverpool – Speke Airport – Now John Lennon Airport

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/13-photos-showing-how-liverpool-14148610

An interesting look at the history behind Liverpool’s airport here by the Liverpool Echo – see link above to access their article

Liverpool John Lennon Airport – Drop off charges 2nd most expensive

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41706992

The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above

Liverpool Airport seems to be at a number of disadvantages in that it relies on cheap airlines for its customer base and they don’t like paying much for landing/take off fees and it has no rail/light rail/tram connection to Liverpool City Centre or to the nearest mainline station.

In such circumstances people get dropped off/picked up in large numbers at the airport for their travel. Would I be being unkind to say that this drop-off/pick-up traffic is being targeted as a income stream to balance the airport’s books?

Liverpool Airport – So why is it so poorly connected to the rail network?

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/commons-watchdog-led-mersey-mp-10952180

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

Now hang on a minute the reason Liverpool Airport is so badly connected to the rail network is far closer to home than any failings of any recent Government of any colour.

This promotional Merseytram bookmark is about all that Liverpool City Region has to show for its big tram ideas.

This promotional Merseytram bookmark is about all that Liverpool City Region has to show for its big tram ideas.

You see starting when Blair was our supremo he, in effect, set up transport planning so that it came from a local authority level upwards. Each local authority had a plan (LTP) and so did Merseytravel the public transport authority for Merseyside.

It was via such planning that Liverpool and Merseyside got into that terrible transport muddle called Merseytram. I won’t go into all the in’s and out’s of it but one part (a big part) of the Merseytravel plan was to start up a network of trams such as operate in many cities these days. As we all know it went horribly wrong and the last Labour Government pulled the plug on the project in terms of them paying for it.

My point here is not simply to bash what the Government did, even though it was of a colour that I oppose. My point is that the Merseytravel Plan went wrong because the first tram line was not to Liverpool Airport, where most folk would expected it to go. No, it was directed towards Kirkby which already had (and still has) a heavy rail 15 minute frequency Merseyrail service.

Whatever the reasons, good or bad, were for selecting Kirkby as the first destination it was a sadly decisive moment. In hind sight it was that early but fatal mistake that killed off Merseytram because there was no unanimity of purpose across Merseyside.

So what I am trying to say is Liverpool Airport not being connected by train or tram is effectively a fault that Merseytravel has to hold its hand up for. It’s poor planning gave the Government an excuse to back out of Merseytram because it realised that Merseyside was bickering (again).

The first Merseytram line should have been to Liverpool Airport, if it had been I believe Merseytram would have a reality.

Liverpool Airport – Parking fines – What!

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/liverpool-serviceman-fined-90-stopping-10918441

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

Would I be right in assuming that Liverpool Airport has a serious problem with the way it treats its customers? Surely putting folk through such hassle is counterproductive and it drives people away from using John Lennon Airport?

As an aside and for reasons only known to the press it seems we need to be told in the article such as this that the unfortunate chap involved in the incident is a serviceman and a dad. What on earth has that got to do with the matter at hand? Does being a dad and/or serviceman make the way he was treated worse? If he had been a milkman with no children would that have made for a less interesting article?