The multi-million-pound bill for pursuing bus franchising in Glasgow should be met by the Scottish and UK governments, according to a councillor.

Malcolm Mitchell, SNP councillor for SNP Garscadden/Scotstounhill, has put down a motion supporting the decision by SPT this month to explore introducing the system where services would be franchised and operators told what services to run how often and what fares to charge.

The model, it has been argued, will improve the reliability and affordability of the buses, but one major operator has said they will fight it through the courts if necessary.

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It has been estimated that it will cost around £15 million to do preparatory work before a franchising system can be put in place and take around 5-7 years.

It is then believed to require between £45m and £85m a year extra in public subsidy to implement franchising.

Mitchell’s motion asks the council to write to the Scottish Government to request funding for the initial cost.

It states: “Exploring franchising is likely to require very significant public investment.”

He suggests: “The city convenor for transport and city centre recovery write to both UK and Scottish Governments to outline the Council's support for exploring bus franchising in Greater Glasgow and to seek their financial support for the franchising exploration process.”

Franchising does not mean a public-owned bus company, instead private operators would be contracted to run specific services and under conditions set by the local transport authority.

Councillor Mitchell blamed the deregulation of the bus network in the 1980s on a decline in bus passengers in Glasgow.

Operators however argue that the speed of journeys and congestion has been a major factor in people choosing alternative methods of transport.

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They have argued that buses need extra space on the road to allow more journeys to be congestion-free.

Mitchell’s motion, which will be debated this week, argues public control will help deliver a better-connected transport system.

It states: “Bringing bus services into greater public control could deliver opportunities to enhance the multi-modal integration of Glasgow's public transport network, including through alignment with a new Clyde Metro scheme.”

He also said the move has widespread political support, adding there is: “Cross-party support for exploring franchising, with 83 out of 85 councillors at the Glasgow City Council elections in 2022 being elected on manifesto commitments to explore greater public control of Glasgow's bus network.”

Last week, however, McGill’s Bus owners said franchising was “theft” of their business and they would resist it.

Sandy Easdale, said he and his brother James were preparing a legal team to contest franchising and would “fight it with every penny” he has.