By Get Glasgow Moving
Glasgow needs a world-class public transport network to make a just and green recovery from the pandemic.
The Get Glasgow Moving campaign was set up in 2016 by a group of local people angry and frustrated with the way our city’s public transport is being run.
So many other cities around the world – like London, Berlin, Copenhagen, Vienna, Zurich (the list goes on…) – provide their citizens with fully-integrated and affordable public transport networks. That means buses, Subway, trains, trams and more working together as one network to ensure everyone can get around easily and cheaply without needing to own a car. These cities can do this because they have one public body, which plans the network to ensure that timetables are coordinated;, that ticketing is simple, so it’s easy to hop from one mode of transport the next.
The only reason we can’t do this is Glasgow is because of the deregulation and privatisation of buses and trains in the ’80s and ’90s. We have been left with so many different competing private companies running different parts of the network, that there just is no coordinated plan. That’s why we have the frustrating situation of private bus companies cutting routes they don’t consider ‘commercially viable’, hiking up fares, and refusing to cooperate to deliver a simple and affordable ticket that can be used across buses, trains and Subway.
Here in Glasgow – where less than half of our households have access to a car – we have suffered at the hands of these private bus companies far too long. And now is the time for change!
In 2017, Get Glasgow Moving began a campaign at the Scottish Parliament to win powers for local authorities to be able to re-regulate the private bus companies and to set up new publicly-owned bus companies which can be run for people, not profit. We were successful, and these new powers came into effect when the Transport Act was passed in 2019. Now we need our regional transport authority – SPT – to use them! And this part of the fight is going to be even harder, because the private bus companies are just so powerful. They don’t want re-regulation eating into their profits. We’re going to need massive people power over the next year to take them on and force the politicians act in our interests.
But it is possible. In March this year, Manchester made history becoming the first UK city to re-regulate its buses since Thatcher deregulated them in 1986. We need Glasgow to be next!
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