Glasgow needs a publicly-owned bus service which leaves no communities behind, campaigners insist.

The city council has agreed to explore taking buses into public control after First Group announced it could sell its UK operations.

Get Glasgow Moving, a community campaign putting pressure on city leaders to deliver transport improvements, believe Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) is in a “perfect position” to run the service.

SPT, which covers the west of Scotland, confirmed it is in talks with the council over addressing “significant challenges” faced by bus users.

Campaigners are highlighting Edinburgh’s Lothian Buses as an example of the benefits of public ownership.

“They are affordable and they work for the people of Edinburgh,” Rebecca Menzies, from Get Glasgow Moving, said. “There’s no reason we can’t have the same!

“Currently Lothian Buses is owned by three councils and we believe the same should happen in Glasgow. SPT is already publicly owned and is in the perfect position to work collaboratively with Glasgow City Council and other councils in the region to re-municipalise our buses.


Glasgow City Council could take buses into public control

“Revenue raised from bus fares can be used to better the transport network as a whole – Edinburgh council are using revenue from bus fares to partially fund investment in trams. “

New powers included in the Transport Bill, agreed by the Scottish Government, allow councils to own and operate bus services.

Glasgow Labour’s transport spokesman Matt Kerr gained the backing of the city council last week on an emergency motion calling for public ownership to be examined.

Ms Menzies said Get Glasgow Moving had started as a response to the city’s “complete lack of decent public transport”.

The campaign’s initial petition, which was submitted to the council in January, calls for a number of actions, including a publicly owned bus service, and labels the city’s transport network a “total mess”. It has over 11,000 signatures.

A second petition, launched after First Group’s announcement, focuses solely on the buses and has been signed by more than 4000 people.

“We are demanding a world-class, fully integrated and accessible, publicly-owned and accountable, public transport network for everyone in the Greater Glasgow region,” Ms Menzies added.

“At the moment buses in Glasgow are unaffordable, inaccessible and do not fully serve the needs of the local community – particularly marginalised groups.

“Too often bus operators in Glasgow only run profitable routes, this had led to many communities being left isolated with no access to local services or education and employment opportunities. Other routes have been cut completely. Buses should not be a barrier to people participating in society.


Glasgow MP Paul Sweeney says chance to take control of First Group bus services a 'golden opportunity' for city council

“Profits from more profitable routes could be used to bring back routes that have been axed by private companies, particularly in rural areas and peripheral estates.”

An SPT spokeswoman said: “We are engaged with operators, councils and other partners working to address the significant challenges facing the west of Scotland bus passengers and are looking carefully at the options being brought forward.”

First Group confirmed it is “pursuing strategic options to separate First Bus from First Group”.

“This could be via a sale – either as a whole or in part – or by other means such as a demerger or partnership,” a spokeswoman said.

“As this process unfolds, we will continue to operate our services as usual, working closely with our local authority partners and demonstrating our commitment to our customers through the service we offer them.

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“In recent years we have improved customer service at First Bus by investing in our buses and new technology, transforming our networks, and making operations and maintenance more efficient.”