First Bus delays plans to withdraw Glasgow night bus services
A controversial decision to withdraw night bus services in Glasgow has been delayed until next month, First Bus has confirmed.
Earlier this week, the company announced night bus services in Scotland’s largest city would be withdrawn, due to low passenger numbers, causing public outcry.
Services were due to stop on July 31. But now operators have confirmed there will be further talks with Glasgow City Council and plans have been delayed until August 20.
Glasgow Labour MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy called the original plans “outrageous”, with First Minister Humza Yousaf and his predecessor Nicola Sturgeon signing a letter to the company, saying it was a “devastating blow” to the night time economy.
Duncan Cameron, managing director of First Bus Scotland, said: “This move is designed to provide more time for all partners – operators, politicians, public sector agencies and the hospitality sector – to review wider transport options late at night in the city.
“It also gives an opportunity for the people of Glasgow to get behind the night bus services as we maintain an open mind regarding future options in conjunction with stakeholders should passenger numbers increase as well as our driver numbers.
“It is important all stakeholders take learnings from the past six months and from the significant levels of discussion that have taken place this week.
“In Scotland, 75 per cent of all public transport journeys are made by bus. It’s vital that when given the opportunity to engage on all bus matters, representatives from all partners stand up and input their views before a decision is finalised.”
Councillor Angus Millar said the council and the operator had been working “constructively” to find a solution.
He said: “I welcome First’s agreement to extend night bus services for several weeks to allow for further engagement and exploration of key issues including patronage, routes and staff availability to take place with key partners.
“While the council presently has no regulatory role in the bus sector, we can help facilitate further discussion around a sustainable future for night bus services with those regional and national agencies with statutory roles including SPT and Transport Scotland, key stakeholders from the evening economy and neighbouring local authorities.”
Councillor Miller added: “The public interest in the future of night bus services makes clear the critical importance of bus to the travelling public and all stakeholders must work together on an ongoing basis to support improvements to the city’s bus network.”
On Wednesday, George Redmond, Labour group leader on Glasgow City Council, called for buses to be taken into public ownership. He tweeted: “It’s time to bring buses back into public ownership – ensuring our buses are run in the interest of people, not profit.”
Rival bus company McGill’s said on Friday they were “very serious” about looking at launching new night bus services in Glasgow. Ralph Roberts, the company’s chief executive, told the BBC: “It’s the workers that really struggle to get back from their shift.”
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