CLYDEBANK councillors are calling on transport bosses to “retain and reform” Glasgow’s night bus service.

It comes as FirstBus Glasgow – the main bus operator in Clydebank – announced it would be axing the city’s night buses on July 10, just one year after they were reintroduced.

Four days later on July 14, the operator announced it would be delaying the withdrawal of the services from July 31 to August 20 amid backlash. It noted that this was also to provide time for all partners to review wider transport options late at night.

Clydebank Post: Clydebank bus stationClydebank bus station (Image: Newsquest staff)

What Clydebank services are affected?

  • N2 - Glasgow City Centre to Faifley
  • N6 - Glasgow City Centre to Mountblow
  • N60 - Glasgow City Centre to Drumchapel

Sophie Traynor, councillor for Clydebank Central, told the Post that she and Councillor Gordon Scanlan wrote to FirstBus outlining their “disappointment” as well as safety fears.

Councillor Traynor said: “I’ve had conversations with people who rely on the buses to get to and from work as well as for leisure purposes.

“It takes away a safe route home for a lot of people, especially women. If they [local residents] are working in Glasgow how are they supposed to get home if the buses and trains aren’t running at that time of night?

“Are they supposed to get a taxi and pay all of that money? People may have to change what they’re doing and it could have that much of an impact on people’s jobs that they’ll have to look for something else.

“In our letter, I outlined our disappointment as well as asked for the service to be reformed and improved going forward.

“One of the big issues, not just on the night service, but on a lot of the FirstBuses in general, is the reliability of them.

"This could be an issue on other buses too but FirstBus is the only operator that functions here.

“People are going for the bus and then it doesn’t show up, this has been happening quite often.”

Clydebank Post:

The proposed change will impact 11 routes that operate across Glasgow during the early hours of Saturday and Sunday mornings [between 6pm and 4.30am].

FirstBus noted that a 12-month review monitoring passengers numbers found that it was regularly operating with as little as 14 passengers per hour and that despite “significant efforts” to promote services, including offering free tickets in December last year, passenger numbers remained between 30 to 35 per cent.

Councillor Traynor explained that by reforming the service to be more reliable uptake could be improved.

She added: “I know that they [FirstBus] said there are some services operating with only 14 people on them per hour but that’s still 14 people who rely on them.

“Despite the withdrawal date being moved there is still no guarantee that anything is going to happen during that time.

“I only passed my driving test last year and before that, I was relying on public services a lot.

"I know the importance of using them myself so I was thinking if I was regularly using these services and they just took them away what impact would that have on my life?

“Scotland is very much pushing public transport as the way forward, we are talking about climate change, we have the Low Emission Zones being introduced, and yet here is a big transport partner in Glasgow taking a vital service away at the same time.

“If the service was not only kept on but reformed to be more reliable it could improve uptake.”

Last week, Duncan Cameron, managing director of FirstBus Scotland, said the “biggest challenge” for the operator was getting drivers behind the wheel.

He proposed that bar staff could be redeployed to drive colleagues and customers home on night buses as part of their shift.

However, councillor Traynor said that she doesn’t believe this is the best solution.

She said: “I am aware that there are ongoing issues with bus drivers and a lot of recruitment drives are being held.

“A lot of drivers were unable to run certain routes during Covid and have maybe gone away from the profession.

“However, when I first saw the proposal I thought it was a spoof. It was disbelief at the reality of the situation.

“Are they [FirstBus] expecting people to finish their shifts and do another one?

"I don’t think putting the responsibility on someone else [bar staff] is the best way to do that.”