FIRST Bus has announced that it will end its night service in Glasgow by the end of the month.
The decision came after a 12-month review of passenger numbers, which revealed the services were running regularly at just 14 customers per hour.
The change will affect 11 routes that operate across the city in the early hours of Saturday and Sunday.
Services covered travel from the city center through Glasgow and the surrounding areas including Clydebank, Paisley, Newton Mearns, East Kilbride, Hamilton, Motherwell and Wishaw.
First Glasgow reintroduced its night bus services in June 2022 to boost the city’s nighttime economy as Covid-19 restrictions were lifted.
The bus operator states that its drivers affected by the change will be used in the daily network.
The SLTA (Scottish Licensed Trade Association) described today’s decision as “another hammer blow” to the licensed trade.
Colin Wilkinson, SLTA chief executive, said: “A city the size of Glasgow should have a night bus service so people who like to go out and work in hospitality can get home safely.
“With the recent introduction of the low emission zone for many vehicles and the reduced number of taxis in the city since the pandemic, some licensed trading companies are really concerned about the impact that the elimination of night buses will have if they are still trying to win back business posts.” -Pandemic and amid the cost of living crisis.
“The SLTA has previously spoken out about the chronic lack of overnight transport in Glasgow so this is not the news we want to hear as we approach peak tourist season.
“We fear that when homecoming is such a challenge, people simply will not bother to travel to central Glasgow. This is extremely bad news for the city’s pubs, bars, restaurants and clubs.”
Graeme Macfarlan, Commercial Director at First Bus Scotland, said: “Despite multiple efforts by First Glasgow and partner organizations to increase the number of people using the night buses, the levels required to maintain these services beyond July have not been reached. ”
“To do that, we’d have to triple the number of people using them every weekend overnight, which isn’t realistic.”
“We were keen to give these services every chance of success, which is why we have absorbed the operating losses of the last 12 months.
“However, with changing behavior and the times at which people go out in the city at the weekend, it has become clear that there is not enough interest in Glasgow in seeing night bus services operate successfully into the early hours.”
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