Major bus upgrade for St Helens with transport funding pot

Funding for bus improvements have been allocated
Funding for bus improvements have been allocated
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A bus improvement scheme to make St Helens a more eco-friendly place have been given the green light.

St Helens Council will be working with Merseytravel and other town halls to develop green bus corridors along busy commuter routes.

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In total up to £465,000 of the Transforming Cities Fund has been allocated by the combined authority to allow work to go ahead on these public transport schemes.

The bus scheme will see £215,000 invested with the rest going towards creating six walking and cycling corridors across the Liverpool City Region.

The commuter routes for bus upgrades and improvements are the A57, A562, B5178, A59 and A567.

Coun Lynn Clarke, St Helens Council’s cabinet member for better neighbourhoods, said: “These investments will allow us to greatly improve connectivity into St Helens, benefitting residents and the economy.

“It is this council’s ambition to promote growth, healthy lifestyles, and bring more jobs into the borough.

"It is vital that we support those who choose to travel sustainably by public transport, walking and cycling, and ensure they can do so safely, while reducing emissions and congestion, and supporting local retail and leisure opportunities.”

Buses account for 80 per cent of all public transport journeys and 14 per cent of commuter trips across the Liverpool City Region.

Merseytravel hopes the new schemes will encourage more people to consider the bus as an option and increase the interconnectivity between walking, cycling and bus routes.

Improving reliability and punctuality, as well as better transport integration, are key focuses of the Liverpool City Region Bus Alliance, a partnership between Merseytravel, Arriva and Stagecoach, to encourage more people to consider taking the bus.

This includes improving traffic flow to speed up bus journeys, providing traffic signal upgrades to prioritise buses and considering the introduction of innovative cycle infrastructure such as Dutch-style roundabouts.

St Helens Council is one of four local authorities, with the list also including Knowsley, working with Merseytravel and a steering group has been set up.

It is hoped there will be a 600km network of 30 walking and cycling routes created in the region in the next decade. The Combined Authority approved £8.3m funding for the first 55km phase last December.

Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram said: “This year marks the Year of the Environment so what better time to use this opportunity to extend our walking and cycling routes further and encourage more healthy forms of travel.

"The work on our green bus routes will make it easier for people to get out of their cars and use our transport network while lowering levels of congestion, reducing emissions and improving air quality as we promised.

“Devolution gives us the powers to choose the right infrastructure and the best technological enhancements for our city region ensuring that it is as accessible as possible.”