A £99 annual family pass for attractions on Merseyside has been scrapped and the equivalent alternative will cost a staggering £78 a DAY!
Merseytravel has ditched its Big Mersey Adventure pass that allowed two adults and five children unlimited access to the Mersey ferries, Beatles Story, Spaceport and the U-Boat museum.
Instead everyone will have to pay the daily tourist rate – £40 for a ferry cruise plus two attractions and a further £38 for access to the Beatles Story.
The transport authority says the technology to manage the family pass swipecard is being replaced by its answer to London’s Oyster card called the Walrus.  They also claim an annual pass is not ‘commercially viable’.
Sefton councillor Gordon Friel, a Merseytravel member but not on the ferries board which made the decision,, said it was regrettable:
: “It may be that the cost of the pass was too low but the answer would have been to increase it not stop it. The board appeared to make the decision on the basis of changing systems but even then they could have brought in interim measures.
“I will try and use what influence I have to try and get something in place.”
But the move has angered some customers. Wirral-based freelance journalist Barry Turnbull, father of four, said: “This was one of the few bargains around so I guess the bean counters had to turn their attention to it at some stage.
“To say the annual pass is not commercially viable is a smokescreen. The only possible reason such an attractive scheme could not generate a viable return is if the marketing department at Mersey ferries is not doing it’s job properly.
“The pass is fantastic for those long summer holidays. Who on earth can pay £40 or even £78 on a day trip. I definitely won’t be using their services again and I’m not the only one going on the reaction from several people who were told this news at the Seacombe terminal the other day.”
A spokesman for Merseytravel said the annual pass had been suspended pending an overall pricing review.
But Wirral councillor John Salter, a member of the board, was more forthcoming: “The annual pass was discontinued for commercial reasons at the end of March this year (we are honouring the ones out in the marketplace until they come up for renewal). It was discussed at our Ferries Board and the decision endorsed there. The technology platform for the pass has been discontinued and could no longer be efficiently supported going forward.
“ We had not sold many in the last 12 months and supporting the pass was costing more than the income generated so there was no commercial justification to keep it. Any potential new/replacement pass will be considered by Merseytravel’s Smart and Integrated Ticketing Team as part of our Walrus Smartcard initiative.”
Off peak travel on Mersey ferries is possible using a Saveaway voucher.


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