With our own local election just months away I took some time over the Christmas/New Years break to look at the work cities across the world are doing, and to see what we could learn from them. As the lead for the Glasgow Labour Group on all things to do with the environment a focus for me has always been public transport.

A truly reliable, affordable and accessible transport network would be life changing to communities. It would create opportunity, and bring investment right across the city, and, crucially, help us in the fight to tackle the climate crisis.

As we look to our communities to support them in their rebuild from this pandemic and if we are serious about making lives better – let’s look at creating that public transport network that Glaswegians want and deserve.

In the UK we often hear of London being the gold standard for integrated smart travel. There’s no doubt they have shown us how it can be done but London isn’t alone. You can find great examples across the globe where local and national leaders have prioritised transport. Perth in Western Australia launched their integrated SmartRider card in 2007 and have since seen capped fares introduced – saving residents thousands a year and their current Labor Party Premier looking at how services can be expanded.

In the city of Zaragoza, Spain, they have a “Tarjeta Ciudadana” or Citizen Card which is available to any citizen of the city and can be topped up to be used on their local buses, cycle hire as well as trams. The interesting thing about this example is that it also includes access to local sports centres, libraries and museums. A multi-service smart card which actively looks to engage citizens in their city. Something that is vital in the aftermath of this pandemic.

These projects stand in sharp contrast to the lack of ambition and action of our current leaders in Glasgow City Chambers and Holyrood.

At our last Full Council meeting in December, I asked Susan Aitken what progress has been made in terms of making integrated public transport a reality in our city. The Council Leader admitted that nothing had changed, despite their manifesto promise in 2017. And now we see the budget put aside for travel smartcard rollout ruthlessly slashed by the SNP/Green Scottish Government. We sat and watched as the technology and the political will was found to give COP26 delegates smartcards, but then that ambition was shelved once again as soon as all eyes were off our city.

Glasgow is a world-class City. It’s time we have a transport network that lives up to that. But, we need bolder, more ambitious and genuine Leadership. Not more of the same excuses for inaction.

Glasgow deserves better than this.