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Withdrawal Of Night Bus Services In Glasgow Threatens Hospitality Sector, Warns SLTA

Withdrawal of Night Bus Services in Glasgow Threatens Hospitality Sector, Warns SLTA

First Glasgow will cease its night bus services in Glasgow from the 31st July 2023. The change will impact 11 routes that operate across the city in the early hours of Saturday and Sunday mornings. First Glasgow reintroduced its night bus services in June 2022 to help boost the night-time economy in the city as Covid-19 restrictions were lifted.

Graeme Macfarlan, Commercial Director at First Bus Scotland, said:-

We were delighted to be able to reintroduce our night bus network last June in an attempt to support the city’s night-time economy.

Despite a wide variety of efforts by First Glasgow and partner organisations to increase the number of people using the night buses, it has not reached the level required to sustain these services beyond July. To do so, we would require the number of people using them each weekend to treble overnight, which is not realistic.

We really wanted to give these services every chance to succeed which is why we have absorbed the operating losses for the last 12 months. It has become clear, however, given the change in behaviour and times people are going out in the city at the weekend, there is not enough appetite in Glasgow for night bus services to successfully operate into the early hours.”

First Glasgow’s night buses covered travel from the city centre across Glasgow and the surrounding areas including Clydebank, Paisley, Newton Mearns, East Kilbride, Hamilton, Motherwell and Wishaw.

Yesterday’s decision by First Glasgow to withdraw its night bus services in Glasgow from the end of the month was described by the Scottish Licensed Trade Association as “yet another hammer blow” for the licensed trade.

Colin Wilkinson, SLTA managing director, said:-

A city the size of Glasgow should offer a night bus service so that people enjoying an evening out and those working in hospitality can get home safely.

With the recent introduction of the Low Emission Zone on many vehicles and fewer taxis in the city since the pandemic, some licensed trade businesses are really worried about the impact the removal of night buses will have when they are still trying to claw back business post-pandemic and amid the cost-of-living crisis.

The SLTA has spoken previously about the chronic lack of late-night transport provision in Glasgow so this is not the news we want to hear as we approach the peak tourist season.

Our fear is that people will simply not bother travelling into Glasgow city centre if getting home is going to be such a challenge. It’s extremely bad news for the city’s pubs, bars, restaurants and clubs.”

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