A new partnership that aims to transform bus services in Glasgow has met for the first time.
The Glasgow Bus Partnership has brought together Glasgow City Council, the city's bus operators and Strathclyde Partnership for Transport in one forum to address the challenges currently facing the bus industry.
Although the bus remains the most popular form of public transport in Glasgow, national figures indicate that there has been a 10% drop in passenger numbers in the past five years. In the wider west of Scotland area, 56 million individual passenger journeys have been lost and it is predicted that at the current rate of decline, the bus industry could be defunct in Glasgow by the end of 2029.
The partnership's inaugural meeting, chaired by the Councillor Anna Richardson, City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, initiated work to establish clear protocols on how the partnership will operate. But the meeting also heard a broad ranging discussion about the issues the partnership must tackle to ensure the bus remains an attractive travel choice.
These issues include reliability of services, improving journey times, addressing congestion hot spots, mitigating the disruption created by roadworks, ensuring services can respond quickly to the needs of new city developments and the impact of the new Transport Bill, among many others.
Glasgow's collaboration has been formed in anticipation of the new Transport Bill, which provides powers for local authorities to develop bus partnerships. Councillor Richardson viewed the willingness of the council, operators and transport authorities to work together on a voluntary basis as an indicator of the determination within the group to make a success of the Glasgow Bus Partnership.
Councillor Richardson said: "The first meeting of the Glasgow Bus Partnership proved to be very positive.
"The partnership has brought together the key players from the city's public transport system and it is obvious there is a strong, shared commitment to delivering real change for the city's bus services. Although it is still early days in terms of the work of the partnership, all of those around the table clearly want to find solutions for the future of our key method of public transport.
"Ensuring the city is served by a high quality and reliable bus service will help us deliver on its crucial commitment to improving air quality, which will have huge health benefits for our population. But it will also help to protect the city centre's reputation as a vibrant and dynamic location for business and leisure.
"This was a first step, but I am confident we are heading in the right direction."
Picture (L-R) - Andrew Jarvis, First Group; George Gillespie, Glasgow City Council; Bailie Dr Martin Bartos, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport; Councillor Anna Richardson; Sam Greer, Stagecoach; Colin Craig, West Coast Motors and Ralph Roberts, McGill's.