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Night bus across the river Mersey to return next week

ByReport2

Nov 29, 2023

THE late-night tunnel bus crossing the River Mersey from Liverpool to Wirral is to be reinstated for a trial period from next week.

Late night revellers and shift workers will soon be able to travel across the Mersey into the early hours of the morning as part of a new trial being launched in the Liverpool City Region.

The N1, which will be operated by Stagecoach, will enter service just before half midnight next Friday, December 8 with buses running every hour until around 5am every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The service was axed in 2019 by bus company Stagecoach who said, at the time, that it was operating at a loss.

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Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has worked with local campaign groups, students and the hospitality industry to reinstate the service, which had previously been removed by private operators during the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns.

Mr Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: "We're about to enter the busiest time of the year for our visitor economy and, while we want everyone to have a great time celebrating in our region, we also want them to get home safely.

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"We’ve worked closely with local campaigners, students, late night workers and our hospitality industry to bring back late bus services between Liverpool and the Wirral to make it safer, cheaper and easier for people to travel home – without having to cut the party short.

"This a massive result for local people, many who have been campaigning for this moment for three years.

"Following our decision to take back control of the region’s buses and move towards a franchised system, this is another positive step on the journey to putting the public back at the heart of public transport.”

The new night bus service will run between Birkenhead and Allerton with stops across Liverpool city centre. The route also includes dozens of stops serving Toxteth, Wavertree and Mossley Hill.

Tickets will cost £2, in line with the reduced adult single fare introduced by the Mayor in September 2022.

Matt Davies, managing director of Stagecoach Merseyside, said: "We are pleased to be working with the Mayor and are excited to relaunch this much-anticipated commercial Night Bus Service, creating new links and better coverage than what we have had previously and with a much lower fare, addressing the need for accessible and affordable transportation during late-night hours."

It is hoped the late-night service will provide a boost to the region’s vital night-time economy, allowing visitors to bars, clubs, live music venues and theatres – as well as those who work in them – to travel more easily and cheaply after hours.

LCR Music Board member and senior lecturer in Music Industries, Dr Mathew Flynn, said: "Following LCR Music Board's music venues consultation event in March 2022, which highlighted the critical need for improved nighttime transport, our collective efforts — from both music board members, colleagues at the University of Liverpool, and the Civic Data Cooperative – have been tirelessly dedicated to advocating for and developing a business plan to support the revival of the Night Bus.

"We are thrilled to see the campaign materialise. We anticipate that this development will significantly enhance music venue footfall, bolster ticket sales, and crucially, ensure the provision of safe late-night transport options for both gig-goers, the invaluable staff at these venues and the wider student and night-time worker communities."

Weekly and monthly passes, as well as Saveaway and day rider tickets, will not be accepted on the service. Full N1 timetables will be available soon at Merseytravel.gov.uk and stagecoachbus.com

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