Business meetings in Liverpool this week afforded a brief encounter with aspects of the city's transport in a busy vibrant economy with ongoing investment and not a sign of gloom or doom forecast in the run up to the EU Referendum. Of course the city's buses no longer wear the bright green and cream colours of former municipal ownership. Instead Arriva and other private operators now dominate the streets.
Merseyrail's bright yellow trains intended for upgrading run as far as James Street from the Wirral - as reconstruction of the underground circular line in Liverpool is being substantially rebuilt. However my journey into James Street Station (surely not named after a famous Blackpool enthusiast?) brought me to the darkened confines of the inbound platform with its 1950s (or is it 1930s?) features complete with prominent British Railways totem railway sign (surely not original?) facing my exit door on to the platform. Climbing up the equally period stairs from the platform to access a warren of corridors to the elevators, immediately delivered us into the remodelled infrastructure - still a work in progress. The outbound platform it appears (towards the Wirral) had already been smartly rebuilt with new tiling, lighting and flooring. New trains will of course complete the transformation of this part of Merseyside's image.
Bright yellow smart clean electric trains exemplifying how leisure travel on a coastline might just engage with the public at large.
Equally notable are the bright yellow themed passenger shelters at Liverpool's bus stops, all with detailed timetables and serviced illuminated advertising panels (no doubt helping the maintenance and installation costs). The city centre's main bus station on a curving incline was equally busy with most of the modernistic glass shelters full of waiting travellers for shoals of bus services coalescing at this point - a short walk across from Lime Street Station. One striking feature was the window cleaner hard at work ensuring the glazing and structure tiling was immaculately cleaned. Not a broken glass panel anywhere and plenty of waste bins to deal with throw away litter. This definitely is an interchange worth visiting - along with the example at Bury which I visited last year. When Blackpool's Council gets around to formatting and deciding on the important Blackpool North tram and bus interchange to be built on the site of the Wilkinson's property - just someone in management might venture out of their office to take a first hand look at how transport infrastructure can work for the public good and be aesthetically beneficial. In this town this is self evidently not the case - with lessons to be learned from professional good practise elsewhere in the northwest.
Beware window cleaner at work on Liverpool interchange bus shelters - and during the working day. Note the bench seating facing the bus stop and clean paving.
A bus interchange which is a credit to the operators. Lime Street Station just behind the buses - in the background. Not much chance of this level of infrastructure being applied to Blackpool's residents or its visitors it seems.
Below : Substantial self standing signage and equally smart, simple and clean simple bus shelter with digital imaging advertising panel (working). Just bear in mind that Liverpool is a successful conferencing venue expanding its offer of leisure events attracting significant tourism from all over the world. I also sampled Mersey Ferries with combined free admission to the U Boat display - alongside the heritage tram terminus at Birkenhead's terminal - More on that bit later.