The Get Glasgow Moving committee has been busy during lockdown, and today we’re re-launching our Time to Take Back Our Buses campaign to demand urgent action to stop the cuts and bring bus services back into public ownership.
During the coronavirus crisis First Glasgow have received massive public bailouts to keep essential bus services running for key-workers. But they are now axing routes all over the place – the X1, X2 and 32 and 208 to name just a few.
This has to stop! Public transport is an essential public service, and we’ll need it more than ever to re-build our region’s economy after the crisis, whilst staying on track to meet our ambitious climate targets by 2030.
Public ownership is essential to prioritise safety, save public money and help improve services in the long-term – reinstating routes to isolated communities and integrating bus services with trains and the subway.
We first launched the Time to Take Back Our Buses’ campaign on 19 June 2019, after FirstGroup announced they were planning to sell their UK bus businesses. We gathered more than 3,500 signatures on the petition within a week.
Glasgow City Council responded and on 27 June 2019 they passed a motion to investigate “what the process of acquiring and operating bus operational assets could involve”.
On 29 January 2020, we delivered this petition, then signed by 7,093 people, to Council Leader Susan Aitken and were told that FirstGroup was no longer selling. The outcomes of the Council’s ‘investigations’ have never materialised.
Instead Glasgow City Council and SPT appear to have reverted to developing a ‘partnership’ with bus companies. On 18 June 2020, they approved a paper saying they aimed to “closely align with the needs and requirements of the bus industry”.
This is the opposite of putting passengers first and delivering the public transport that we need.
We’re re-launching this campaign to demand that Glasgow City Council, SPT and the Transport Secretary intervene to stop the cuts and act to bring our buses back into public ownership now.