Glasgow’s nightlife economy suffering because of lack of transport

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Glasgow pub and nightclub bosses claim the evening economy is suffering post lockdown as the city is not easy to travel around at night.

Concerns have been raised that fewer methods of late night transport are preventing people from visiting pubs, bars and restaurants because of a lack of bus services, taxi drivers or private hire vehicles.

Members of the licensing trade also claim they are seeing less customers in their venues because of Covid related stress.

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The survey aims to find out how people in Glasgow travel.The survey aims to find out how people in Glasgow travel.
The survey aims to find out how people in Glasgow travel.

Rebuilding needed

The issue was raised by Billy Gold, of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, at this afternoon’s local licensing forum, who told members that there was a rebuilding process required across the country.

Mr Gold said: “At the moment there are no night buses operating so Glasgow is not an easy city to travel around. I know from my own personal point of view that a lot of customers that come from other parts of the city are not coming to us because they are frightened they can’t get home.

“They are okay getting there but the way home is a problem and they are finding it horrendously difficult to get home.

“This affects people wanting to go to the theatre or go to bars and restaurants that are not on their doorstep. This is definitely an issue and it is maybe not in the remit of the board or even the forum but in the bigger picture of building a modern city, we really need to think about modes of transport and mobility for the safety and convenience of our customers.

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“The easy answer for them at the moment is don’t go out or go somewhere that is not local. We can do everything in our power to make our venues more attractive to customers but if they don’t feel able to travel about the city safely or easily, that will have a negative impact on us.”

Alternative fun

Mr Gold also pointed out that people have found alternative ways to enjoy themselves during lockdown and have gotten into the habit of not going out.

He added: “One of the issues is customer confidence and getting them to come back. While most of the restrictions have been lifted, there are still mitigations in place.

“Venues are still being responsible and they are trying to do their best to make sure their building is as Covid safe as possible.”

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Changing habits

The head of licensing Mairi Millar agreed that changing cultural habits meant people were not going out like they did before the pandemic.

She also pointed out that members of the taxi and private hire trade had now found other employment as delivery drivers.

She said: “There are still issues, even though the restrictions are gone. We need to look at sending out a positive message at a local government level.

“At licensing, when it comes to taxi and private hire car applications, we are certainly doing everything we can to put any new licensing applications through the system as quickly as possible by authorising them.

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“The reality is that it is not an industry that is attracting new people in and we have had difficulty holding onto drivers because they are going off to do other things.

“A lot of private hire drivers have gone into other trades like Deliveroo or Uber Eats and it is difficult to attract them back. This is not unique to Glasgow but it is part of a wider transport strategy that we need to look at.”

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