Glasgow election: What each party wants to do about transport - Clyde Metro, M8 and public transport

Publicly-owned bus services, supporting a Clyde Metro and reducing the impact of the M8 are among the pledges made by political groups in Glasgow ahead of tomorrow’s election.

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How we travel around the city is a key issue for the council to consider, particularly amid a climate emergency, and many politicians are pushing to reduce the number of car journeys.

Get Glasgow Moving, a grassroots public transport campaign group, wants to see buses, the Subway, trains and bikes work together to provide “seamless journeys”. Members have called for buses to be taken into public ownership and are pushing for “properly planned bus routes”, with one simple ticket and an “affordable daily price cap”.

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Here are the promises being made by the main parties in Glasgow as they look to secure votes:

SNP

The SNP in Glasgow has pledged to work towards publicly-owned and run bus services for Glasgow, using powers from the Scottish Government for municipal services and franchising. It would also engage with the government and Network Rail to ensure a renationalised ScotRail service meets the needs of Glasgow’s communities.

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SNP councillors would advocate for extended Subway opening hours to “serve the night-time economy”, the manifesto claims, and they would use the development of a Clyde Metro as “an opportunity to create a fully integrated public transport system”.

They also want to review the management and operation of the Subway, and explore options to replace SPT with a “new and more empowered structure” aligned to the Glasgow City Region. The manifesto promises to continue work to “secure more affordable bus fares and more frequent services, including in parts of the city which have been under-served by bus providers”.

The SNP want to consult “early in the next council term” on a city centre transformation zone, which includes a car-free, or people-first, zone in the core of the city centre. It also plans to develop a car free zone at every primary and secondary school where it is suitable.

Labour

The city’s Labour group has included bringing bus services under public control as one of its key pledges. “Glasgow Labour believes that our city should be world-leading when it comes to public transport,” the manifesto states. Glaswegians deserve a transport network that is accessible, affordable and connected.”

Candidates promise to actively pursue “models of public ownership and control for our buses, ensuring our buses are run in the interest of people, not profit”. The party also supports the proposed Glasgow Metro and would “press the government for firm funding commitments and a timetable for the earliest progress on the plans”.

It is pledging not to use the workplace parking levy over the term of the next council due to the impact of the cost of living crisis on Glasgow’s residents. The Labour group does “recognise the need to rapidly increase the need for electric charging points as people move to electric cars” and would work with the government and its agencies to increase the network of charging points across the city.

Conservatives

Glasgow’s Conservatives believe the city’s road users “deserve better”. “It’s time the council stopped its anti-car agenda and fixed our crumbling roads”, the group’s manifesto states.

Conservative candidates are pledging to double Glasgow’s road capital budget by the end of the next council term – and sooner if possible. They also promise to create a £1.5m ‘Pothole Fund’ to “establish a fast-track service for dangerous potholes to be repaired quickly”.

The group claims it would “abolish the SNP’s proposed ‘car park tax’ so commuters are not unfairly punished for needing a car to manage their daily family and caring commitments alongside their work”. It aims to offer free parking in council and public car parks to “encourage more people to support our high streets”.

The Conservatives also pledge to establish a new active travel strategy which seeks to make walking, cycling and wheeling a safer and more convenient option across Glasgow, enhances access to and priority for public transport and reduces congestion. The candidates are promising to review all temporary ‘Spaces for People’ measures, installed during the pandemic, with a full community consultation and would only keep those with community support. They would also work with SPT on a single ‘tap and cap’ ticketing system and extending the opening hours of the Subway.

Greens

Glasgow’s Green group would set a target to halve the number of local journeys made by private car by 2030. It wants a “fully-integrated, low carbon, publicly-owned transport network which is accessible, efficient and affordable”. Candidates pledge to deliver a comprehensive walking and cycling network, which is accessible to people of all ages and fitness levels and disabled people, and implement a citywide 20mph speed limit on all residential roads in the first year of the council term. They would also take strong action on pavement parking and idling vehicles.

The Greens want Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in every community, reducing the impact of traffic and prioritising space for residents and sustainable travel and to extend the NextBike roll-out to include cargo bikes and family travel options. They would also deliver Scotland’s first local pilot of free public transport, with “an emphasis on connecting areas with higher levels of deprivation”. Candidates want to develop options for a free publicly-owned electric shuttle bus service in Glasgow city centre.

The party would also consult on and implement a workplace parking levy to “reduce demand for private car use” and to raise funds for investing in sustainable travel” and deliver integrated, tap in/out ticketing across different transport modes and providers. Members also want to bring forward publicly-owned buses with capped fares and integrated journeys.

In their manifesto, the Greens include plans to campaign to reverse cuts to services on lines like the Cathcart Circle and support a new Clyde Metro, insisting it connects “to the most cut off areas of the city”. They would support the case for local train station re-openings, including at Ibrox, Blochairn, Finnieston and Parkhead.

Greens also want to extend the Subway’s operating hours and commission research into reducing the adverse impact of the city centre sections of the M8. The group pledges to support taxi operators to sustain their businesses and transition to low emission vehicles.