MerseyTravel reviews its options

Merseyside’s public transport body MerseyTravel is reviewing its PR and public affairs needs to cover the next five years of campaigning surrounding the area’s local transport plan.

The contract is currently handled by The Waterfront Partnership and covers a raft of integrated and sustainable transport initiatives that are being proposed as part of the plan.

Audiences being targeted are in Merseyside, Westminster and the institutions of the European Union.

One campaign that the successful agency will have in its remit surrounds the Mersey Tunnel Bill, which is currently at the second reading stage in the House of Lords.

If it becomes law later this year this will give MerseyTravel a greater degree of flexibility in raising toll prices at the tunnel.

Another major area of activity over the next five years is the area’s proposed tram network. A public inquiry into the first of three lines is scheduled for April.

Ian Rashbrook, public affairs consultant at Waterfront Partnership confirmed the agency had been involved with campaigns surrounding the local transport plan for three years and would apply to handle the fresh contract, effective from June.

Another key issue, he said, centres on MerseyTravel’s unique responsibility as a passenger transport authority over local rail franchises.

The successful agency will report to MerseyTravel chief executive and director general Neil Scales. It is expected that between five and eight agencies will be invited to pitch for the work.

MerseyTravel is controlled by the area’s five local authorities, Liverpool City Council and the Metropolitan Boroughs of Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and the Wirral. Overall budget decisions lie with members of these councils.

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