The Liverpool City Region should follow Greater Manchester in bidding to take control of its bus services.

That’s the view of some, who want to see local powers granted to set bus routes and fares and link up the bus network with other forms of public transport through a franchised system – a power taken away from local authorities more than 30 years ago.

On Monday, Wirral Council will debate a Liberal Democrat proposal to push the Liverpool City Region (LCR) Mayor Steve Rotheram to do the same.

The motion asks Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram to exercise powers devolved under the Bus Services Act 2017 and move towards a fully franchised bus network for the LCR.

It also expresses concern over the time it is taking to make a decision, saying Wirral residents are suffering from inadequate services while the deliberation continues.

Cllr Phil Gilchrist, leader of the Liberal Democrat group in Wirral Council, said: “It’s clear to see that the present system isn’t working. There are powers available to Mersey Travel. It’s time to build the case for bringing them in.

“Manchester seems to be ahead of us. We need to learn from them in the best interests of people who travel by bus. At the moment, the bus companies seem to ride roughshod and leave users without an adequate bus service.

“In a world where traffic congestion is an increasing issue, this [franchising] will be a good step forward for our green agenda.”

Birkenhead MP Frank Field said he will write to all the party leaders on Wirral Council, asking them to support the vote on the franchising model.

Locals said they were appalled by their bus service, when asked their opinion on the Facebook group Wirral Gossip Original.

Ron Henderson said: “ Appalling. Not a shadow of the past town controlled services, such as Birkenhead Corporation and Wallasey. Privatised services are poor, unreliable and their costs are ridiculous.”

April Ryan said: “Travelling to and from Leasowe is horrendous, as is Seacombe and Irby. There are a lot of isolated areas.”

Most people in the group argued that services in the larger urban areas, such as Birkenhead, were good, but that routes in less profitable areas were poor.

Another user of the group said: “Shocking! They go through Birkenhead every five minutes yet up towards Heswall they’re every half an hour. Not often enough to be used reliably.”

Mick Car said: “Have vowed never to take a bus on Wirral again. Always late or never turn up.”

A spokesperson for the LCR authority said that no decision has been made yet, but an upgrading of the current partnership system or a full franchising model are among the options being considered.

LCR Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “We have big ambitions for bus in the Liverpool City Region.

“The Bus Alliance has allowed us to make good progress in modernising our bus network but, as the ‘Big Bus Debate’ has shown, we have to go much further and faster, ensuring bus services are developed around people, supporting them getting to and from work, accessing health care and enjoying all the City Region has to offer.

“Eight out of ten public transport journeys are made by bus. The network has to be robust and sustainable, otherwise we’re putting economic growth at risk. We need to put people with opportunities and deliver our commitment to air quality and health improvements.

“It’s clear that whatever bus reform option is right for our City Region, there will be additional and significant cost to the public purse. We have to meet this challenge head on and work through it. Doing nothing is not an option.”

The costs of any move will be heavy.

A spokesperson for the LCR authority said that just maintaining the current level of service could require an additional £35 million of public subsidy a year by 2030.

The current subsidy, around £60 million a year, funds concessionary travel and essential services that are not commercially viable for private bus operators.

Stagecoach contested some of the claims made on Facebook.

They said that a service runs every ten minutes on the Birkenhead to Heswall route.

On Ms Ryan’s claims of poor services on certain isolated routes, Stagecoach said they do not run a services in the areas she referred to.

A spokesperson for Stagecoach Merseyside said: “Along with other bus operators, Stagecoach has delivered millions of pounds of investment in Merseyside’s bus network to make travel more reliable, easier and better value for customers.

“As a result of the Liverpool City Bus Alliance, the city region has one of the youngest and most environmentally friendly bus fleets in the country with WiFi as standard. Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has also welcomed the fact that we are now the only region outside London with a 100 per cent bus network accepting contactless payments.

“By working together and making the best joint use of resources, bus operators and the transport authority have delivered a 15% increase in fare paying passenger journeys since 2013/14 and 91% customer satisfaction among bus users, the joint highest of any metropolitan area in England.

“Bus operators, central government and local authorities all have a shared responsibility to deliver high quality bus services. We need a strong partnership approach to tackle the big challenges of road congestion and air quality. This is the quickest and most cost effective way of delivering real improvements for passengers.

“Franchising isn’t working for our country’s rail system where it is having a direct negative impact on commuters and communities,from rising fares to unreliable services. London’s franchised bus network currently loses £700m per year – costs paid directly by local taxpayers. Bus passenger numbers are falling faster in London than the rest of England and bus routes are being cut.

“We do not believe people here want that for Merseyside, where we are bucking national trends. Instead, we believe there are huge opportunities to build on what partnership has already achieved and maximise the contribution of the bus to boosting our economy, connecting communities and protecting our environment.”