TRANSPORT campaigners have handed in a petition with more than 4500 signatures demanding fairer bus fares in Glasgow and the surrounding areas.

Activists held a protest outside of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) offices on St Vincent Street, Glasgow, asking the authority to use new bus powers to establish a Manchester-style connected and affordable bus network.

The campaigners timed their protest as board members of the regional transport authority arrived for a meeting on Friday morning.

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Get Glasgow Moving handed over a petition with 4844 signatures asking for a better service and cheaper fares.

In Edinburgh passengers using publicly owned Lothian Buses pay fares which start at £1.80, while in Glasgow the starting fare can be as high as £2.65. An all-day ticket, which is the only option to buy as a return, costs £4.90.

In Manchester, the city’s newly regulated bus network will get underway in Wigan, Bolton and parts of Salford from September 2023. All bus services in Greater Manchester will be franchised by the end of 2024.

This will provide one network, with capped daily fares and tickets – no matter how many times you travel or how the journey is made. All bus fares have been capped at £2.00 from this September.

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Ellie Harrison, from Get Glasgow Moving, said after the petition hand-in: “People came along this morning to tell our representatives we badly need a change in our transport system.

“Over 4500 people signed our petition and many more are fed up with the eye-watering fares charged by the likes of First Bus.

“What we want is simple – for SPT and our local councils to use the new bus powers they have been given by the Scottish Parliament and plan a fully integrated bus network across the whole region.

“This is what Andy Burnham is doing in Manchester and the same thing can be done here in Glasgow.”

The National: Campaigners took the petition to the SPT's Glasgow office ahead of a board meetingCampaigners took the petition to the SPT's Glasgow office ahead of a board meeting (Image: Colin Mearns, NQ staff)

Campaigners have also pointed out that affordable public transport can help to tackle the climate crisis and reach the Scottish Government’s net zero targets.

Gavin Thomson, transport campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “Transport is our biggest source of climate emissions. The deregulation of buses in Glasgow has been a disaster for passengers and for the planet.

“We’ve seen nothing but rising fares and disappearing services. If a transport authority like SPT introduced franchising, we could have a planned network that’s affordable, accessible and reliable.

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“A thriving bus network is essential to taking cars off the road, reducing our emissions and achieving our climate goals.”

The SPT area comprises the following council areas: East Dunbartonshire, East Ayrshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow City, Inverclyde, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, West Dunbartonshire and the Helensburgh and Lomond area of Argyll and Bute.

SPT has been contacted for comment.