ON Monday, I welcomed the news that Glasgow City Council had launched a Public Conversation on Glasgow’s Transport Future – a well overdue discussion which I hope signals the start of real, lasting change in our city.

I don’t drive, and neither do my parents, so ever since I can remember I have relied on public transport, more so buses.

Therefore, I know how important they are but I’ve also seen first-hand how services have changed. I don’t mean the number 9 to Drumchapel changing so it’s a number 3 now: I mean the removal of routes completely; the unreliability of timetables; sky-rocketing fares and crucially, how it has impacted communities like mine and those across the city who are becoming more and more isolated because of this.

On top of that, we have an increasing awareness of what car usage is doing to our city and planet, and we are in the midst of a pandemic where we are being urged to think twice about if we really need to use public transport anyway.

The time is now to address those anxieties that many have about public transport, and to think once again about how we create a functioning, network that is inclusive, accessible, affordable and tackles the climate emergency that we face.

We need to be bold when we’re thinking about public transport, cities across the globe have shown us how it’s done and successfully.

Whether it’s Nottingham with their award-winning, municipally owned, integrated transport system; Kansas City, Missouri who have become a “Zero Fare Transit” city, offering free public transport to their almost half a million residents; or in Madrid where we have seen them increase the number of buses and capacity of trains which take in suburban areas, often the least profitable routes but the recognition that they are socially-necessary.

We could and should be thinking outside of the box, to do things differently and add Glasgow to that growing list of cities with world class transport systems.

This is an opportunity to not only empower our communities and urge them back on to public transport, but to future proof our city for the clean, green jobs and economy of the future. Glasgow is a truly global city, and often a world-leader. It’s about time that the way we get about our city reflects that as well.

Covid-19 may still be dominating our news cycles, but we mustn’t forget the ongoing Climate Emergency. It isn’t going anywhere, it hasn’t hit pause on the destruction of communities across the globe and in the aftermath of this current pandemic, we know things are only going to get worse.

The first step to that in Glasgow is creating a public transport system that not only works, but is run in the interest of people, not profit.