Glasgow City Council has revealed that talks are on the cards after First Bus announced plans to scrap the city's night bus service.

The transport firm said on Monday morning that 11 routes operating across the city in the early hours of Saturday and Sunday morning would be cut from July 31.

Now, a spokesperson for the council has told the Glasgow Times that they are "deeply concerned" about the loss of nighttime public transport and are "due to meet with First Bus" to discuss the decision.

They said: "We are very concerned about the loss of the night bus service and the impact this will have on people who need public transport late at night.

“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.

“We are due to meet with First Bus to discuss the decision on the night bus, and will be engaging with partners, including SPT and Transport Scotland, to identify what can be done to support the transport requirements of the night-time economy.

“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.”

Regional transport authority SPT also condemned the decision.

An SPT spokesperson said: “It is disappointing that First has made the decision to cut its night bus services in the city. 

"There are very real challenges facing public transport networks across the country, and we need to get people back to bus and public transport generally.  

"To do that we need services to be there for them to use that are regular, reliable, and affordable.

“Notwithstanding these are commercial decisions taken by First Bus, SPT is always keen to engage with operators to see if there is any way to avoid cutting services as, for many people, these services are real lifelines and the only option to travel to and from the city.”

It comes after key players in the nighttime economy sector called on the council to step in.

Club boss Donald MacLeod told the Glasgow Times that Glasgow desperately needed an integrated transport plan that "actively encourages people to come into the city."

The move from First Bus will have a devastating impact on the city's nighttime economy and disproportionately impact the already struggling hospitality sector, he warned.

Glasgow Times:

Mr MacLeod said: “We thought there would be more dialogue before this and some intervention from Glasgow city council to make sure this vital service is kept, and embellished, and added too.

"Because at the moment, Glasgow is on its knees."

He added: "The city is dying a death of one thousand cuts. Glasgow’s public transport is an absolute disgrace.

“I really think the people that make Glasgow deserve better than they’re getting. I really fear for this city, it’s slowly becoming a ghost town.”

Colin Wilkinson, managing director of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, also shared the fear that a lack of night buses would deter people from travelling into the city centre.

Glasgow Times: Colin WilkinsonColin Wilkinson (Image: SLTA)

He said: "A city the size of Glasgow should offer a night bus service so that people enjoying an evening out and those working in hospitality can get home safely.

“With the recent introduction of the Low Emission Zone on many vehicles and fewer taxis in the city since the pandemic, some licensed trade businesses are really worried about the impact the removal of night buses will have when they are still trying to claw back business post-pandemic and amid the cost-of-living crisis.

“The SLTA has spoken previously about the chronic lack of late-night transport provision in Glasgow so this is not the news we want to hear as we approach the peak tourist season."

Graeme Macfarlan, commercial director for First Bus Scotland, said that while the company was "delighted" to bring the night bus service back after the pandemic to support the nighttime economy, there were not enough people using the service to justify it.

He said: "Our data, as well as data from other organisations across the city, shows that people have adjusted their behaviour post-pandemic in a way that sees them going into the city centre earlier and going home earlier.

“There has been a clear drop in footfall in Glasgow city centre since the pandemic and our experiences over the last 12 months running the night bus services have shown there is no consistent appetite for a late night bus service in the city.

“To clarify, our normal late evening bus service timetable will continue to run until between 11pm and midnight dependent on the route.”

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