Plans to franchise bus services across the Liverpool City Region have taken a step forward, said mayor Steve Rotheram.

The combined authority will be asked to confirm franchising as the preferred future model for running the city region’s bus network and services later this week.

If approved, the mayor’s vision for an integrated London-style transport system will move a step closer. He said the proposals would allow the authority to control fares and specify the network.

The introduction of franchising would see the suspension of the deregulated bus market, which has been the current bus system since 1986.

He said: 'Since the Thatcher government deregulated buses outside of London in the 1980s, services outside of the capital have suffered. 'After years of painstaking work, the Combined Authority’s assessment into the future of our bus market is recommending franchising as its preferred option to be considered further. The rest of the country is watching the work we are doing here very closely.

'We are one of the only areas leading the way in using new powers under the Bus Services Act to take greater control over public transport and ensure it is run in the interests of local people.'