Focus on Labour in Liverpool: insights from Worldline's Panel Discussion at the Labour Party Conference

Last month saw Worldline proudly sponsor one of the hundreds of fringe events taking place during the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool.

Night view of the Lime street train station in Liverpool

Organised in partnership with news website LabourList, the panel discussion was titled ‘Creating better, smarter transport networks throughout the UK’, sparking discussion around the UK's potential in reshaping public transport, emphasizing a customer-centric approach.

And what better city to host such a thought-provoking subject, than the home of Mersey Railway, one of the nation’s most historic lines?

Speaking to a packed audience, the panellists included the Mayor of the West of England region, Dan Norris, the recently appointed shadow rail minister Stephen Morgan MP, and Worldline’s Chief Operating Officer, James Bain.

James steered the conversation towards the direction British public transport could take, while also highlighting the measures a future government could take to put the customer right at the heart of transport policies.

Several thought-provoking themes recurred throughout the engaged discussion, such as the need to integrate our transport networks. The UK already has diverse transport systems – from buses and e-scooters to trams and trains – but the true potential lies in joining these networks together. An integrated transport solution would ensure seamless journeys for customers, bringing convenience and efficiency.

Harnessing data to understand demand was another highlight from the panel. In this digital age, data is the new oil, which is why analytics will be key in understanding issues such as customer choice and preferences, leading to more efficient planning and allocation of transport services. The panel also accentuated the importance of showcasing public transport not just as a convenient means of travel, but as the more environmentally responsible choice when it comes to mobility.

It was during these discussions that James unveiled Worldline's ambitious proposal: a nationally funded programme facilitating free public transport for everyone under the age of 18.

Aside from the obvious net economic benefits (such as stimulating local economies, increasing footfall in town centres, and possibly leading to higher retail and tourism revenues), an initiative like this could prove to be a game-changer for UK transport, and a life-changer for the younger generation.

Giving youngsters unrestricted access to public transport would mean they can more readily access education and employment, offering options that may have previously been denied to them. Their families would also benefit from the initiative, relieved from the financial strains of funding travel amid the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Perhaps the most profound impact will be had on the mindset of the younger generation. People under the age of 18 would grow up recognising not just the importance and convenience of public transport, but also its environmental benefits. They will come to feel that rail and public transport is for them, which with luck and investment, will translate into lifelong sustainable habits, progressively reducing carbon footprints and propelling the UK towards a greener future.

The panel discussion at the Labour Party Conference was not just another debate – it was a call to action. An instigation to reimagine and rejuvenate the transport framework of the UK. With the right people leading the charge, the journey ahead promises to be different, exciting, and most importantly, transformative.