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
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.
Three-quarters of all public transport journeys are made by bus. But our bus network isn’t fit for purpose.Read more
Our buses were de-regulated in 1986, allowing private companies to take over running the routes where they could make most profit.
Since then, our region has lost thousands of bus services because private companies don’t consider them ‘commercially viable’ and fares have increased well above inflation.
Single fares on privatised First Glasgow are now £2.85, compared to £2.00 on Edinburgh’s publicly-owned Lothian Buses and £1.75 on publicly-controlled Transport for London. It’s just not fair.
This will allow us to plan routes, cap fares and ensure the same standards – of accessibility, emissions, staff training and conditions, and much more – across the region so everyone has a world-class service.
In March 2021, Greater Manchester made history becoming the first UK city to commit to re-regulating its bus network since 1986. We need our region to be next.
But we have additional powers in Scotland. Thanks to our campaign at the Scottish Parliament, our Regional Transport Authority can also set up a new publicly-owned bus company for Greater Glasgow, to offer us the same great service as Edinburgh’s Lothian Buses.
Our new public bus company can take over running routes within the regulated network, restore services cut by private bus companies and ensure any profits are re-invested in expanding and improving our public transport – like buying a fleet of electric buses to tackle toxic air pollution.
Private bus companies across Scotland currently receive £314m million every year in public subsidies. That’s 45% of their income. Yet they still get to decide which routes they run.
Our money would be better spent by re-regulating the private bus companies, so that our Regional Transport Authority can plan and control the network. And by setting up a publicly-owned bus company that can serve the needs of our communities and environment, not shareholders.
The Subway is the only part of our public transport network which has remained publicly-owned and controlled by our Regional Transport Authority (SPT).Read more
Single fares are just £1.55 with a Subway Smartcard and £300 million has been spent on ‘modernising’ the system over the last decade.
But despite numerous proposals, our Subway remains the only underground in the whole 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 expand our region’s public transport infrastructure including:
- extending the Subway to the east end (a project which was meant to have been delivered in time for the Commonwealth Games in 2014)
- building the Glasgow Metro (proposed in the 2019 Connectivity Commission report) serving Castlemilk, the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Renfrew and many other places
- building Glasgow’s CrossRail to provide the missing link between our north and south rail networks, and
- building the Strathclyde Tram to connect Easterhouse and Drumchapel directly through Glasgow’s west end (a project blocked by the private bus companies in 1996 as they saw it as ‘competition’).
Everyone in our region should have access to world-class Subway, train and tram routes which make journeys so much quicker and more efficient.
And by re-regulating our Buses, we can ensure that bus routes and timetables are planned and coordinated to connect seamlessly at all stations and tram stops, so the network works together as a whole.
Glasgow has the largest suburban rail network in the UK outside London. But the lack of integration with Buses and Subway means we are yet to unleash its potential.Read more
Our railway was privatised in 1997.
Since then, ScotRail has been run by a succession of private companies (National Express, FirstGroup and, most recently, Abellio owned by the Dutch state).
Powers to have a publicly-owned operator for ScotRail were awarded in the Scotland Act (2016), and we have been campaigning for the Scottish Government to use them ever since.
In March 2021, Transport Secretary Michael Matheson finally announced that a new public operator would take over running ScotRail from 1 April 2022.
He said public ownership would be better value “because it will effectively cut out the company” and its “considerable” management costs. We agree.
This is a great opportunity to begin to deliver a fully-integrated public transport network.
However, we believe regional public transport is best governed by the Regional Transport Authority which it serves.
Transport for London is taking control of more of its suburban rail lines to help expand and improve their region’s network and integrate train services with underground and buses. We need the same.
Control over all Greater Glasgow’s suburban rail lines should be devolved to the Regional Transport Authority (SPT), so that it can deliver a fully-integrated public transport network and oversee ambitious plans for expansion.
Glasgow is sitting on a goldmine of disused railway tunnels, lines and stations. These must now be brought back into productive use by building the Glasgow Metro which has been “designed to integrate disused rail corridors with street running from the outset”.
Glasgow has been dominated by cars for far too long. We must urgently transform our city to prioritise sustainable travel: walking, wheeling, cycling and public transport.Read more
Walking, wheeling or cycling (active travel) is key for the final mile of most journeys. It is the most sustainable and healthy way to travel and must planned and integrated with the public transport network.
This means creating a people-friendly city, with more pedestrianised areas, wider pavements, better crossings and segregated cycle routes that everyone feels safe using.
Glasgow’s bike hire scheme, Next Bike, is owned by a German company. It does not serve all our communities, nor properly integrate with the rest of the public transport network.
Then it can ensure that bike hire stations are available in all areas of the region and are designed to enable people to easily connect with Subway and train stations and bus stops.
Our one simple ticket must enable you to hop from a bike onto a bus or train, so that cycling becomes an easy first step for most journeys.
Alongside this, we need ambitious measures to discourage car use and raise revenue which can be re-invested in expanding and improving our public transport.
This will help us win back public space, and reduce congestion to improve bus journey times and reliability.
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.Read more
At the moment you have to pay for every single journey, making it unaffordable and difficult to switch between different 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, accessible and easy to use that everyone can get around without needing to own a car.
The only way we’ll achieve this is by dramatically improving the service and massively decreasing the cost of fares.
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 be extended to young people, people on low incomes and refugees and asylum seekers.
But ultimately, we should be aiming to make all our regional public transport free.
This is something more than one hundred towns and cities across the world are already doing to address the climate emergency with the urgency that we need.
Governance & Regulation
Greater Glasgow lacks a coherent and effective Regional Transport Authority, which can plan and coordinate our public transport network to work together as a whole.Read more
Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) is the public body which is meant to oversee public transport across the 12 council areas in the Strathclyde region.
De-regulation 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 it’s democratically accountable, there must be worker- and passenger-representation on the Board in decision-making roles.
It must have power over the whole transport network, including: traffic/parking controls, public transport, and land-use planning to ensure that public transport is integral to all new housing/business developments.
It needs the power to raise funds (through a variety of means) and to be constituted to be “committed to reducing costs and re-investing all our income to run and improve services”, just as 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.
And as long as fares remain affordable, investment in delivering world-class public transport will benefit people on lowest incomes the most, as they currently rely on public transport more.