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St Helens to trial digital approach to bus travel information

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St Helens is set to be the first area in the City Region to trial a digital approach to accessing travel information after Liverpool City Region Transport Committee members agreed to a six month pilot earlier this week.

Over the last five years the number of outlets receiving paper timetables and other information has reduced and increasingly more people are accessing travel information online.

It means that during the pilot period, bus paper timetables, area map leaflets and general ticketing booklets will be removed from the St Helen’s Merseytravel Centre and 16 other outlets, such as health centres and libraries.

If successful, the pilot could be rolled out across the Liverpool City Region, contributing to savings of up to £140k a year.

Starting January 15, the pilot includes plans for a number of roadshows, taking place across St Helens and run by digital champions.

The aim of the roadshows will be to help customers who don’t traditionally use online tools, get used to ‘going digital’.

Digital champions will show customers how to access ticket information, check and plan journeys using an online journey planner and compare the best ticket for them using a newly developed wayfinding ticketing tool on the Merseytravel website.

Those customers who are unable to use online tools or need additional support to plan their journeys, will be able to request personalised journey plans, including paper timetables, at St Helen’s Merseytravel centre, which will also display improved travel information.

Coun Liam Robinson chair of The Combined Authority Transport Committee, which oversees the work of Merseytravel, said: “As digital journey planning tools become more popular with customers in the Liverpool City Region and with the financial challenges Merseytravel faces, it is important that information distribution channels are reviewed and cost efficiently strategies deployed.

“Removing paper leaflets from key distribution outlets will enable Merseytravel to understand the impact in a controlled manner and evaluate the success of the pilot based on customer feedback, before any decision is rolled out across the rest of Merseyside.”

More information, including details of the digital roadshows, will be available on the Merseytravel website in the New Year.