|Type||Passenger Transport Executive|
|Founded||Transport Act 1968
(December 1, 1969)
|Parent||Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority|
Merseytravel, formally Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive (MPTE), is the passenger transport executive responsible for the coordination of public transport in the metropolitan county of Merseyside, England. It was first established in 1968, and took its current boundaries in 1974 when the metropolitan county was created. The body is controlled by the Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority (formerly the Merseyside Passenger Transport Authority), which comprises 18 councillors assembled from Merseyside's five districts: Liverpool, Knowsley, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral.
It is proposed that from 1 April 2014, the Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority will be abolished and replaced with by the Greater Merseyside Combined Authority. Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive (Merseytravel) will continue to be passenger transport executive.
Merseytravel is responsible for issuing franchises to the operators of the Merseyrail system. The Executive, along with Transport for London (TfL) which issues the franchise for London Overground, is one of only two bodies in England able to award a rail franchise; all others are awarded by central government. This arrangement was created because the Merseyrail electrified system is effectively isolated from the rest of the National Rail network, with no through passenger services to/from outside the Merseyrail network.
Merseytravel also sponsors other rail services that pass through Merseyside. Although these do not form part of the Merseyrail franchise (most of these trains are operated by Northern Rail), they are branded as "Merseyrail" services.
Prior to the deregulation of bus services in 1986, it operated a large proportion of the bus services on Merseyside, under the Merseyside Transport brand. It took over the municipal bus operations of Liverpool, Birkenhead and Wallasey in 1970, and expanded to cover St Helens and Southport in 1974. After deregulation, these were branded as Merseybus, and were subsequently privatised as MTL. Later, MTL was bought by Arriva, but was required by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission to divest some of its Liverpool operations; these are now operated by the Stagecoach Group.
Nowadays, Merseytravel is also responsible for providing subsidies to bus services which are considered socially necessary but are not profitable, and for providing concessionary travel schemes for the elderly and disabled.
Ferries and tunnels
Merseytravel owns and operates the famous Mersey Ferry service between Liverpool Pier Head, Seacombe in Wallasey and Woodside in Birkenhead. The fleet consists of three vessels: Royal Iris of the Mersey, Snowdrop and Royal Daffodil.
Neil Scales OBE, the former Chief Executive and Director General of Merseytravel, outlined some major projects that Merseytravel may be involved in in the future:
- Electrification of Kirkby - Headbolt Lane, Bidston - Wrexham, Liverpool - Earlstown - Manchester, Huyton - St. Helens - Wigan sections
- The Halton Curve, St. Helens Junction, and Bootle - Aintree branch
- Further electrification between Hunts Cross - Warrington - Manchester, Headbolt Lane - Wigan and Ormskirk - Preston.
- Liverpool F.C. football stadium access from the Bootle branch
- Re-investment in the Burscough Curves, linking Southport to Ormskirk and Preston
- 3rd rail electrification between Helsby and Ellesmere Port, (see Ellesmere Port to Warrington Line)
in his presentation "Growing the Railways on Merseyside".
For ticketing purposes, Merseyside has been divided into four areas:
- Area A: St Helens, Knowsley;
- Area B: Wirral;
- Area C: Liverpool, south Sefton (Bootle, Crosby and Maghull), Knowsley;
- Area D: north Sefton (Southport and Formby).;
Out of county:
- Area E: (None Existing since January 2008) Crossover Wirral and Liverpool.
- Area F: Ormskirk;
- Area G: Chester, Ellesmere Port
Each area is further subdivided into zones. There is considerable overlap of area A and C, with all parts of Knowsley lying in area A also being covered by area C. This region is designated as zone A3/C2/C3.
Two rail-only areas exist, for stations covered by Merseyrail outside of Merseyside. Area F covers the Northern Line from Maghull to Ormskirk, whilst Area G covers the section of the Wirral Line from Hooton to Ellesmere Port and Chester.
Until January 2008, a "cross-Mersey" area E existed, which covered the central areas of Liverpool and Birkenhead, as well as the ferry terminal at Seacombe. Tickets were commonly issued for areas B and E covering the whole of Wirral together with Liverpool city centre. Birkenhead railway stations covered by area E were:
- "Proposal to establish a combined authority for Greater Merseyside". Department for Communities and Local Government. November 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
- Growing the Railways on Merseyside