THE group that led calls for Glasgow to lead the way with feminist town planning has condemned the cancellation of night buses in Glasgow.

Among these organisations was the Young Women’s Movement, which in 2021 conducted a report into Glasgow’s infrastructure and whether it meets the needs of all its residents.

Jenni Snell, CEO of the Young Women’s Movement, said: “The cancellation of Glasgow’s night buses will have a negative impact on young women in Glasgow, many of whom rely on public transport to travel home at night. 

“Our 2021 Young Women Lead Report, Glasgow: A Feminist City? conducted a study into Glasgow’s urban infrastructure and whether it reflects and supports the diverse needs of women and non-binary people living in the city.

"The report presented the findings through a lens of feminist town planning, and one of the key recommendations was that 'More frequent nighttime services' were needed.

“Councillor Holly Bruce, who was part of our Young Women Lead Glasgow cohort, passed a feminist town planning motion in Glasgow City Council in October 2022. It’s disappointing to see that less than a year later, bus services are being cancelled rather than expanded. 

"We urge First Bus to reinstate the night bus services in Glasgow, as it is essential that young women and non-binary people have safe, affordable routes home at night."

Last year, councillors at Glasgow City Council backed this feminist town planning motion from Cllr Bruce, a member of the Green Party.

The motion planned to see Glasgow putting women at the centre of all aspects of planning and design.

By cancelling the night bus service, women and other vulnerable people will potentially be at a greater risk of harm.

Cllr Bruce told The National: “Axing the night bus service will have huge safety implications for women, vulnerable people and people of marginalised genders. This decision ignores people’s specific transport needs and restricts access to jobs, healthcare and socialising. The evidence is clear: Glaswegians want more, not less, evening services that are affordable, accessible, safe and convenient.

“Mobility is critical for women to thrive in our cities. This decision simply puts profit over people, a publicly owned fully integrated bus service is needed as a matter of priority. Glasgow Greens have started a petition to save Glasgow’s night buses.”

Ellie Harrison, chair of Get Glasgow Moving, also expressed concerns, saying “how many more cancellations of essential services do we need before politicians finally begin to realise that the way we run bus services in Scotland (i.e. deregulated and privatised) is fundamentally broken?

"Key workers, women, vulnerable people who rely on these services, should not be left at the mercy of a profit-driven multinational company like First.

“We urgently need our regional transport authority, SPT, to step-up and use the new 'franchising' powers in the Transport Act 2019 to re-regulate all the private bus companies in our region.

"Only then can bus services be planned and co-ordinated to serve communities' needs and to integrate seamlessly with trains and the Subway, with one simple affordable ticket for use across all modes (with a daily price cap).

“This is what Greater Manchester is currently in the process of delivering, and we must urgently follow their lead. Without this massive transformation of our region's public transport, we are never going to encourage more people to start using it and deliver our pressing climate targets by 2030 (ScotGov's target is a 20% reduction in car mileage by 2023, GCC target is to be net zero by 2030!).”

The decision to cancel the night bus service was made by private company First Bus, on the grounds of the service not being financially viable to continue running.

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “We are very concerned about the loss of the night bus service and the impact this will have on people who need public transport late at night.

“We do understand the commercial operators who provide public bus services are facing significant challenges but the decision highlights again the need to look at alternative ways of running bus services in Glasgow.

“We are due to meet with First Bus to discuss the decision on the night bus, and will be engaging with partners, including SPT and Transport Scotland, to identify what can be done to support the transport requirements of the night-time economy.

“More broadly, we will continue to work with public transport operators to support improvements to bus services in Glasgow. We are also working with partners to explore the medium-to-longer term options for greater public control of the city’s bus network that could allow us to set routes, fares and timetables.”