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by Jenni Davidson
27 June 2019
Glasgow councillors back motion to look at taking buses back into council control

Glasgow councillors back motion to look at taking buses back into council control

Glasgow buses - Image credit: Chris DiGiamo via Flickr

Glasgow’s buses could be taken back into public ownership after councillors backed a Labour motion to look at buying services from First Bus. 

The motion, backed unanimously by all political groups on Glasgow City Council, notes public concern about provision of bus services in the city and that council officers have begun exploratory talks with relevant parties.

First Group announced earlier this month that it was putting its UK operations up for sale, including its services across the Greater Glasgow region.

Following the motion council officers will have further discussions with First Group, SPT and other national transport partners and report back to the council’s new Transport Delivery Working Group.  

The former Strathclyde Buses, which were previously controlled by the council, have been privately owned by First Glasgow since 1996, after bus services were deregulated and removed from council ownership by Margaret Thatcher’s government in 1986.

However, an amendment to the Transport Bill, currently going through parliament, proposes giving local authorities new powers to run bus companies.

A petition signed by nearly 4,000 people on the website 38 degrees urges the council to buy First Bus services and operate the company as a not-for-profit in a similar way to Edinburgh's Lothian Buses.

It says: “Our city needs these assets back in public ownership, so that we can properly plan and integrate our public transport network to reach all corners of our city region and reduce fares.

“If everyone can get around easily, affordably, reliably and sustainably it will help expand our city’s economy, address inequality and social isolation, reduce congestion and toxic air pollution, and cut carbon emissions.”

Glasgow Labour’s transport spokesperson, Matt Kerr, said: “This is a step-change in public transport planning in Glasgow.

“I am delighted that we were able to work across party lines to come to an agreement, to make clear that bus provision is just not good enough.

“Now we have a real opportunity to go further and faster to deliver a transport network suitable for a truly 21st century, European, metropolitan city. 

“I’d like to thank campaigners at Get Glasgow Moving and others for pushing on this, and for those across the City Chamber for working so constructively on this issue.” 

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