Glasgow night bus services axed by First Bus due to lack of passengers in 'hammer blow' decision
First Bus has announced it is bringing Glasgow's night service to an end in a decision branded as a “hammer blow” for the city’s licenced trade industry.
The bus operator citing poor passengers numbers as the reason for the move.
The firm monitored how many people were using the night buses, but found that as few as four people an hour were using the service.
The First Bus Glasgow branch said it ran the service despite facing significant losses.
The closure of the night bus service is to take effect at the end of this month, and will impact 11 routes, including Clydebank, Paisley, East Kilbride, Hamilton, Motherwell, Wishaw and Newton Mearns.
Drivers of the night bus service are to keep their jobs, but will be redeployed on daytime buses.
Colin Wilkinson, managing director of the Scottish Licenced Trade Association (SLTA), said: “A city the size of Glasgow should offer a night bus service so that people enjoying an evening out and those working in hospitality can get home safely.
“With the recent introduction of the low emission zone on many vehicles and fewer taxis in the city since the pandemic, some licensed trade businesses are really worried about the impact the removal of night buses will have when they are still trying to claw back business post-pandemic and amid the cost-of-living crisis.
“The SLTA has spoken previously about the chronic lack of late-night transport provision in Glasgow so this is not the news we want to hear as we approach the peak tourist season.
“Our fear is that people will simply not bother travelling into Glasgow city centre if getting home is going to be such a challenge."
First Bus commercial director, Graeme Macfarlan, said: "Despite a wide variety of efforts by First Glasgow and partner organisations to increase the number of people using the night buses, it has not reached the level required to sustain these services beyond July.
"To do so, we would require the number of people using them each weekend to treble overnight, which is not realistic. We really wanted to give these services every chance to succeed which is why we have absorbed the operating losses for the last 12 months.”
The move was criticised by Poverty Alliance, who said people living below the poverty line will be hit the hardest.
Director Peter Kelly said: "This announcement is completely unjust and will hit Glaswegians on low incomes the hardest – people who work nightshifts and early shifts in the kind of jobs that are already undervalued.
"This is another example of our vital bus networks being run by companies who put profit over public service.
"These companies get around 55 per cent of their income direct from the public purse, and a huge chunk of the rest from the pockets of people on the lowest incomes, who are struggling the most during the costs crisis. These services should be accountable to those who rely on them most.”
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