AGM & Public Meeting on Public Transport for 2020 Take Back Our Buses Petition Hand-in Why we need publicly-owned buses in Scotland Public Transport Discussion on The Nine Smart Cards on BBC News Scotland

Demand better public transport
to address the climate emergency
to prevent poverty and isolation
to boost the local economy
to tackle toxic air pollution
to create a people-friendly city

Glasgow is a world-class city, we need public transport to match

That means making our Buses, Subway, Bikes and Trains work together as one network to provide seamless journeys for us all.

We need properly planned bus routes, coordinated timetables and one simple ticket with an affordable daily price cap.

We can only achieve this with proper governance and regulation; through public ownership and control.

Buses

Two-thirds of all public transport journeys are made by bus. But our bus network isn’t fit for purpose.

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Publicly-owned Buses

Our buses were deregulated in 1986, allowing private companies to take over running the routes where they could make the biggest profit.

Since then, our bus network has been massively underfunded, routes have been cut and fares have increased. Single fares on First Glasgow are now £2.50 (compared to £1.70 on Edinburgh’s publicly-owned Lothian Buses; and £1.50 on publicly-controlled Transport for London).

We need our Regional Transport Authority (SPT) to use powers in the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 to re-regulate the region’s whole bus network through franchising.

This will allow us to plan routes, cap fares and ensure the same standards – of accessibility, emissions, staff training and conditions – across the region so everyone has a world-class service.

Following the success of Edinburgh’s Lothian Buses, we should set-up a new publicly-owned bus company for Strathclyde, which can take over running routes, restore routes cut by First and put passengers before profit.

We can use profits to invest in electric or solar powered fleets of buses to tackle toxic air pollution.

Currently £299 million of private bus company revenue comes from public subsidy in the form of central and local government support. The rest comes from passengers ticket sales.

Our money would be better spent if it was reinvested to create publicly-owned bus companies that serve the needs of our communities and environment, not shareholders.

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Subway

The Subway is the only part of the public transport network which is still publicly-owned and controlled by our Regional Transport Authority (SPT).

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Single fares are just £1.75 (£1.55 with Subway smartcard) and £300 million is being spent on ‘modernising’ the system since 2015.

But, despite proposals, our Subway remains the only one in the world never to have been extended from its original route.

It still predominately only serves the wealthiest parts of the city and only two of its stations are fully accessible.

We must finally deliver on ambitious plans to extend our public transport infrastructure including:
extending the Subway to the east of the city
– and building the Glasgow Metro (proposed in the 2019 Connectivity Commission report) serving Castlemilk and the QEUH
CrossRail
– Strathclyde Tram

Everyone in the city should have access to world class Subway, train and tram routes which make journeys so much quicker and efficient!

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Active Travel

Our city has to transform into one that puts pedestrians and cyclists first.

This means speeding up the creation of safe pavements and crossings, segregated cycle infrastructure and reclaiming the city from private cars to create better public realm.

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Active travel is key for the last mile section of most journeys, and is more environmentally efficient for journeys less than 4 miles, this is especially true in suburban areas.

Glasgow’s bike rental scheme, Next Bike, is owned by a German company and are not integrated enough with the rest of our transport network nor does it serve every community.

We need bike hire stations in all neighbourhoods of the city, so that cycling becomes the logical first step for most journeys.

Bike hire should integrated into the citywide simple ticket and concessionary cards must be usable on Bike hire schemes.

Alongside this, we need ambitious car-use de-prioritisation measures to raise revenue, win back public space, and reduce congestion to improve bus journey times and reliability.

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Trains

Our railways have massive potential.

Glasgow has the largest network of suburban railway lines in the UK (outside of London). Yet a lack of coordinated timetables and tickets mean these are underused.

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Our railway was also privatised in 1994.

Scotrail, now run by Abellio, is the commercial arm of Nederlandse Spoorwegen owned by the Dutch State, whose public transport is miles ahead of ours.

Powers to have a public-sector operator of ScotRail were awarded in the Scotland Act (2016) yet have not yet been utilised by the Scottish Government.

A poll put Scottish support for public-ownership at 64%.

In December 2019, after voting down nationalisation twice,  the Scottish Government announced Abellio’s contract would end three years early in 2022.

We will be watching closely the plans for the future of Scotrail and campaigning for public-ownership.

We believe regional public transport is best governed by the Regional Transport Authority which it serves.

Power over all suburban railways in the Glasgow area should be devolved to the Regional Transport Authority (SPT) to improve standards, integrate services with Subway and buses. (Physical integration, building new interchanges, and by coordinating timetables and integrated ticketing).

Glasgow is sitting on a goldmine of disused railway tunnels, lines and stations, which should be brought back into productive use.

We support the building of the Glasgow Metro which was ‘designed to integrate disused rail corridors with street running from the outset’.

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Affordability

Glasgow has some of the highest levels of poverty in Scotland, and lowest levels of car ownership.

But we’re being ripped off by private operators.

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At the moment you have to pay for each single journey making it unaffordable and difficult to switch between modes and operators.

If we are serious about tackling the climate emergency and inequality, then we need to create a public transport network that is so affordable and easy to use that people don’t have to use their car every day.

The only way we’ll achieve this is by dramatically improving the service and massively decreasing the cost.

At present the Subway is the only part of the network that has a daily price cap. You can make as many journeys as you like in one day for just £3.00.

We would like to see this same price cap rolled out to all modes of public transport so that you can use any train, bus or Subway in the region for just £3.00 per day. This will only be possible with proper governance and regulation.

Concessionary travel should first be extended to young people, people on low incomes and refugees and asylum seekers.

Ultimately, we should be aiming to make all our regional public transport free. More than 100 towns and cities across the world are already doing it.

The Climate Emergency Working Group has also recommended investigating free public transport.

Governance and Regulation

Glasgow lacks a coherent and effective Regional Transport Authority.

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Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) is meant to oversee public transport across the 12 council regions in the Strathclyde.

Deregulation of buses and privatisation of rail have stripped SPT of all powers necessary to do its job. With no passenger representatives on the Board, it does not always act in our best interests.

It needs urgent reform.

In order to deliver world-class public transport, we need a properly-funded ‘Transport for London’ style Regional Transport Authority.

To ensure democratic accountability, there must be worker and passenger representation on the Board in decision-making roles.

It would have powers over the whole transport network, including: traffic/parking controls, public transport, and land use planning to ensure that public transport links are integral to all new housing / business developments.

It needs the powers to raise funds (through a variety of means) and to be constituted to be “committed to reducing costs and reinvesting all our income to run and improve services” like Transport for London is.

Public Transport benefits everyone, from better air quality and reducing carbon emissions, to less congestion on the roads therefore everyone should contribute to the costs.

However, we must ensure this is done fairly, so those on low incomes are not most impacted.