On 31 March 2023, the Network Support Grant Plus (NSG Plus) – an additional public subsidy given to private bus companies for the last three years during the Covid-19 pandemic – was withdrawn by Transport Scotland.
The NSG Plus had been on top of the £340 million a year in subsidies they normally receive (49% of their income) – with little-to-no regulation over the routes they run in return.
In response to the end of the NSG Plus, the profit-driven bus companies in Glasgow proceeded with cutting routes and hiking up fares by up to 17% – causing more misery for bus passengers and leaving us with some of the most expensive bus fares in the UK.
Current single fares:
- £2.85 in Glasgow on privatised First Bus
- £2.00 in Edinburgh on publicly-owned Lothian Buses
- £2.00 on all buses across England until June 2023
- £1.75 in London (where buses are regulated by Transport for London)
The only way to cut bus fares in Glasgow in line with other cities, and to ensure good value for all the public subsidy invested, is if our regional transport authority – SPT – utilises the new powers in the Transport Act 2019 to re-regulate our region’s bus network and to set up a new publicly-owned operator for our region to start taking over routes.
BBC Radio Scotland
The day fares increased on Monday 3 April 2023, Ellie Harrison from Get Glasgow Moving was interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland’s Lunchtime Live about what needs to be done:
This is a nightmare for travellers in Glasgow… we’re in the middle of a cost of living crisis and this is just going to add more and more stress and pain onto people who are just trying to travel around the city…
We’re going in completely the wrong direction – we want to get more people using public transport to address the climate emergency so we need to be cutting fares…
There’s nothing to stop us running bus services in public ownership. New powers in the Transport Act are available for bodies like SPT (which is a public body) to start its own new public operator and start providing services that communities need at a fair price.