Alastair Ramsay, Head of People and Customer Development at Merseytravel:
“As one of the key partners involved in planning for the Wirral Loop Line track renewal works, we are very aware of the importance of the work in helping to keep the public transport network running smoothly in the Liverpool City Region.
“At Merseytravel, we have offices located on both sides of the river and over 30 per cent of our work-force has to cross the river for work purposes, so it’s right that we plan to mitigate the impacts of this and support staff while still ensuring we can continue to operate effectively as an organisation.
“We are working closely with Heads of Service and Managers across the organisation to find flexible solutions and are encouraging staff to speak to their managers to identify personal circumstances that may require particular temporary support.”
Amended hours of attendance
- Our HR department will support managers to consider on an individual basis the needs of staff with caring responsibilities or disability or health issues.
- Where appropriate, we will extend our flexi time bands so people can come in earlier or later to them with their personal circumstances.
Revised working arrangements
- We are looking into hot-desking opportunities at our two-main offices either side of the river for staff who are able to perform their duties away from their normal office location, reducing the need for cross-river travel.
- The hot-desking option could also be offered to staff for a period of the day, allowing them to then make the journey across river outside of peak hours.
- There may be some limited opportunities for home working on an ad-hoc basis in agreement with their line managers.
- Cross-river travel to meetings will be minimised, using telephone conferencing where possible. Where face-to-face meetings are necessary, we will encourage these to be arranged outside of peak travel periods, avoiding early starts and late finishes.
- Staff will be encouraged to consider a variety of options for travel to work, including the rail replacement buses, regular cross-river bus services and Mersey Ferries. Some of our staff who live on the Liverpool side but work on the Wirral side of the river are unable to use public transport due to their shift times and currently drive to work. To help reduce the number of vehicles on the local road network, particularly in the Mersey Tunnels, we will be encouraging car sharing where possible.
- We are encouraging managers to have discussions with their teams about how the works will affect their ability to commute into work and how this would impact on service provision and consequently make plans with them to counter this.
Richard Daly, Director of Business Development at Liverpool & Sefton Chamber of Commerce which is based in the city centre:
“While we acknowledge that these works may result in some short-term pain with extended commuting times, it will be worth it for the long-term gain of a robust public transport network that helps support and drive the local economy.
“We don’t have high numbers of staff travelling into work in Liverpool via Wirral, but we obviously still recognise the importance of supporting those workers in making sure they can continue to do their job while the works are on-going.
“Staff who live in Wirral and Cheshire and travel into Liverpool to work range from senior management, to desk-based workers and sales people who are constantly out and about.
“We have come up with a number of schemes and ideas to help staff during the slabtrack works, including:
Encouraging staff to continue using public transport – the rail replacement bus service, regular cross-river bus services or the Mersey Ferries, parking at Seacombe rather using their cars to cross the river. This is important to avoid significant congestion in the Mersey Tunnels and on surrounding routes.
- Extending our core hours from 9am – 5pm to 7am – 6pm, giving staff the chance to come in earlier and leave later to allow for longer travelling times or to travel when the transport network is likely to be less busy.
- Looking into setting up a breakfast club, which will allow staff to eat at work in the morning after coming in, which also has an added social benefit. There is also the potential to setup a “dinner club” for after work, if demand called for it.
- Ensuring that the staff who have the ability to work from home have the necessary technology to do so by us undertaking a tech audit.
- Working with staff on an individual basis to support those with childcare issues, acknowledging that with the works potentially extending commute times, this may affect drop-off and pick-up of children.
“Along with all this, we will be advising staff to keep an eye on the public transport information provided by Merseytravel, Merseyrail and the bus operators each morning and to tailor plans appropriately.
“We will also continue to encourage Members and other visitors to the Chamber to use public transport wherever possible, by providing up to date information including via social media.”