MORE young people in Merseyside are using bus services than ever before.

Figures from Merseytravel suggest that there has been a 142% increase in youngsters using the bus over the last three years.

Since 2014 bus journeys made by all paying passengers have gone up by 16.2% overall, breaking a 10% target set for the end of 2017/18 - bucking the trend of long term bus passenger decline nationally.

Merseytravel say the 142% increase in young people’s bus journeys is a result of MyTicket, a day ticket offering unlimited bus travel, a 50% discount on adult fares and age eligibility up for special tickets and discounted fares up to and including 18 years old.

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “Bus is often the forgotten hero in the contribution it makes to the economy and in supporting communities.

"It helps people get to work, education, do the shop or make their hospital appointments and is responsible for 136 million journeys a year in our City Region alone.

"While there is much more to do to improve the bus offer, the successes of the Bus Alliance are already notable and encouraging, not least the massive increase in young people taking the bus, giving them greater freedom and opportunity.

"I want us to continue to build on this success, looking at what support we could offer to apprentices in their late teens and early twenties."

In September 2016, a formal partnership agreement was signed between Merseytravel, Arriva and Stagecoach in September 2016 committing to more than £52 million invested in a the first year of a joint annual business and investment plan.

This bus alliance has seen a 90% score for overall customer satisfaction in the Bus Passenger Survey.

Passenger director at independent watchdog Transport Focus David Sidebottom said: “More than nine in 10 bus passengers in the Liverpool City Region are satisfied with their service.

"This shows that the Bus Alliance's approach of listening to passengers, and focussing on their key priorities –a punctual, reliable, and value for money service on clean and comfortable buses - can make a real difference.”