April 29, 2014

Bill Esterson

You have told me that you want to see improvements in public transport as a priority. 

That includes a new lift at Formby station, a proper car park at Hall Road and a second station in Maghull near Ashworth Hospital. Bus services between Formby and Maghull are non existent and are a cause of concern too. 

Meanwhile cuts to bus services across the constituency have caused inconvenience to many especially to older people. 

Merseyside was one of the first places in the country to offer free bus travel to pensioners and my Labour colleagues are determined to protect this vital support for older people and against attempts by the government to cut it. 

But we also need to make sure that the services are in place for people to use, something which I shall continue to pursue. 

The High Speed 2 Rail Bill is starting its progress through the House of Commons and there is strong evidence to suggest that Merseyside could benefit from having extra trains. 

There is only one train an hour to London from Liverpool, while Manchester has three and I support the proposed increase in capacity between North and South including the potential for much greater use of rail freight. 

High Speed Rail needs to be part of a plan to help create jobs and growth. While the new line is being built, there will be support for the local economy but it needs to lead to more businesses being set up in or near Sefton for you to feel the benefits. 

I therefore support calls for a branch of the new railway to go directly to Liverpool so that Merseyside receives the full benefits. 

However, it is as important that local railway lines are improved and that there is a much improved East to West line from Liverpool to Hull. Merseyrail needs new rolling stock and some of the local rail lines offer a service which is stuck in the dark ages. 

I am supporting calls for a big investment in transport in and around Merseyside. 

A big change of direction will be needed by the government in order to achieve such an improvement which is why I supported an Early Day Motion in parliament calling for a fairer distribution of the money for transport. The North of England receives half of the level of investment given to the South and that must change. 

Such a change will mean that Merseytravel will be able to build a new station in Maghull or put a lift in at Formby. The car park at Hall Road looks like it will happen and Sefton Council is supporting the local projects, which I mentioned. 

The current government may not change its transport priorities for Merseyside, so along with my colleagues in parliament and in local government, I shall continue to make the case to Labour’s transport team both ahead of next year’s election and beyond. 

Merseyside can do better than this when it comes to rail and bus services and I shall do what I can to make sure your public transport improves as much as possible.


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