Liverpool’s public transport network boasts strong post-pandemic recovery

Posted: 2 May 2022 | | No comments yet

In line with the city’s post-pandemic recovery efforts, Liverpool City Region reports significant growth in public transport usage, with passenger numbers now nearing those seen before the first national lockdown in March 2020.

Liverpool’s public transport network boasts strong post-pandemic recovery

Credit: Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has announced that the city’s transport network is recovering very strongly following the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the city region leaders also recognise the importance of service levels to be maintained in order to sustain the bounce back.

Since COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, the city region has seen a remarkable bounce back in bus and rail travel, with passenger numbers across the network now nearing those seen before the first national lockdown in March 2020.

Patronage on the Merseyrail network is around 90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, with a 15-minute service set to return in early May 2022. The operator also reported racegoers taking 100,000 journeys on the network to and from Aintree over the Grand National 2022 weekend (8 to 10 April 2022), in a further boost to the regional economy.

Regional rail hub Liverpool Lime Street has been named as the best performing station in the country by Network Rail, with passenger numbers the highest of any terminus train station in England. Footfall at the station in March 2022 was almost one fifth (17 per cent) higher than in the same month in 2019.

The city region bus network also boasts positive news, as the number of journeys has neared 90 per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels on some days – a much quicker and stronger recovery than elsewhere in the country.

Travel patterns have changed however, with large amounts of home working meaning that peak time services are less busy than pre-pandemic. Despite this, later morning and off-peak services are carrying greater numbers of passengers, suggesting that for those people that can are taking advantage of flexible office hours to skip the morning rush. In addition, evening and weekend services are as busy, and sometimes busier, than before the pandemic.

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Councillor Liam Robinson, Transport Portfolio Holder for Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, said: “Passengers are returning in large numbers, helping to fuel a recovery in our vital leisure, hospitality and retail sectors. This has been enabled by the level of services which were maintained, especially for key workers, even during periods of restrictions. That’s why it’s vital that we don’t see bus or rail services reduced or, worse, cut altogether.”

The news of a bounce back in passenger numbers comes as the city region gears up for a year of massive investment in the local transport network, with more than £710 million secured from the central government for improving services and upgrading facilities.

“Travel patterns may have changed, with fewer people travelling at peak times and more during late mornings, as well as evenings and weekends, but the demand on the network is as strong as it has been and looks set to grow further. That’s why we’re investing hundreds of millions of pounds in improving, upgrading and integrating the city region transport network – including the roll-out of new trains and hydrogen buses; the development of hundreds of kilometres of safe walking and cycling routes; and the building of new rail stations, re-regulating our buses and introducing green bus routes,” said Councillor Robinson.

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