An overnight decision by a private transportation company, to abolish the night bus services in Glasgow, has generated public sentiments, opposing to the company’s decision. Politicians, club owners, and bosses of pubs and clubs have also joined in the condemnation of the decision.
First Bus decision generated immediate response from the public, when it announced that, it would be halting night bus services on weekends, throughout the city of Glasgow.
First Bus claimed that, service was no longer financially sustainable, due to poor patronage, which has persisted since the pandemic. The company also said that, though it has embarked on some initiatives to lure passengers, including issuing free tickets over the holiday seasons, but still not achieving its target.
The Poverty Alliance’s Peter Kelly stated that, ending the night service was “completely unjust” and would “hit Glaswegians on low incomes the hardest people who work nightshifts and early shifts in the kind of jobs that are already undervalued.”
However, Mike Grieve, chairman of the Night Time Industries Association Scotland, characterized the decision as “shortsighted and dangerous, showing no consideration for the safety of thousands of night workers and customers coming home in the early hours of the morning.”
Pam Duncan-Glancy, the Scottish Labour MSP for Glasgow, accused First Bus in a letter that she wrote to the company, of “a dangerous dereliction of responsibility to the people of Glasgow who will no longer have a night service to get them home safe.”
However, the night bus has been the only option to many individuals who return to their homes after night shifts. This is because the Glasgow’s subway and train services cease to operate by midnight. To the worse of the current situation, the city has seen a significant reduction in taxis, with many of them abandoning the work since lockdown.
According to Graeme Macfarlan, Commercial Director at First Bus Scotland, there is “not enough appetite in Glasgow for night bus services to successfully operate into the early hours” due to shifts in the public’s leisure patterns.
Macfarlan explained that, it was the company’s generous act to reintroduce the night bus services June last year, but this particular service has been the main source of operational losses over the course of a year.
“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.”Graeme Macfarlan, Commercial Director for First Bus.
Get Glasgow Moving’s Ellie Harrison claimed that the move revealed more significant issues with the city’s transportation system.
“We want Glasgow to follow the example of Greater Manchester by re-regulating its transport system and coordinating bus routes to integrate with the subway and trains. Profit-driven bus companies only want to run at busy times and in busy places, which means that people can’t plan their lives around public transport.”Ellie Harrison, of Get Glasgow Moving.
She stated that existing green objectives will necessitate far-reaching adjustments, adding, “with the Scottish government wanting to reduce car miles by 20% by 2030 and Glasgow city council wanting to be net zero by 2030, I don’t think anyone comprehends the scale of transformation required.”
The Glasgow city council and Strathclyde Transport Partnership, have voiced their disapproval to the statement, and the council has stated that it will meet with First Bus to address the subject.
“We do understand the commercial operators who provide public bus services are facing significant challenges but the decision highlights again the need to look at alternative ways of running bus services in Glasgow. More broadly, we will continue to work with public transport operators to support improvements to bus services in Glasgow. We are also working with partners to explore the medium-to-longer term options for greater public control of the city’s bus network that could allow us to set routes, fares and timetables.”Glasgow City Council Spokesperson.
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