What Could Glasgow’s Transport Future Look Like?

By Cameron Macpherson

(Photograph: Cameron Macpherson)

With local council elections having just taken place, there are a lot of positive changes that could take place in coming months. Especially in terms of transport.

First on the agenda is the introduction of bus franchising, which is set to be implemented during summer 2022. This would afford more control of bus routes and prices to local councils; meaning, potentially greater transport integration for deprived areas. Also, the ability for councils to cut bus fares and offer free bus travel to those under twenty two.

It is steps like these, as well as the recent decision to re-nationalise ScotRail, that signal the government taking decision making out of the hands of shareholders.

However, one of the most pertinent issues in terms of Glasgow transport is the M8 motorway. Speaking on the matter, local Green councillor Christy Mearns, said:

“The level of public money that has gone into resurfacing stretches of the M8, in particular the Woodside viaduct is incredible. That money could be better directed to tackling inequality or improving Glasgow’s climate.”

“Not to think of the level of emissions having a major motorway going through the heart of the city cause as well. Not just from a climate perspective but from a public health perspective, these emissions can have a detrimental effect on life expectancy.”

A curtailment or blocking of the M8 would take Glasgow a step closer to being a car free city. Which is where we should be aiming according to Mearns, as around 50% of Glaswegians do not own a car.  Thus, there needs to be an effective public transport system in place to cater for those who do not have access to car travel.

Clyde Metro and Integrated Ticketing

One of the more prominent ideas in improving Glasgow’s transport system is the introduction of the Clyde Metro. The multi-billion pound investment would see around 1.5 million people have better connections to efficient transport, especially those in deprived areas. This would boost employment opportunities and better access to healthcare facilities.

The metro would consist of a network of buses, light rail, and metro rail. Some of these networks would service as accessories to existing networks of transport.

This is where the idea of integrated ticketing could be introduced as well, with one ticket able to cover multiple forms of transport. Unlike the current model in Glasgow which relies on purchasing different tickets for different modes of transport. However, all of this would signify sustainable travel being made accessible to all.

Below is a graph, using figures obtained through the Scot Gov website, which shows the percentage of people who say they are satisfied with the public transport in and around Glasgow.

The telling statistic here is the satisfaction rates just outside of Glasgow, such as Renfrewshire, is quite low – indicating that transport levels stretching out of Glasgow are in need of attention.

However, according to Mearns, as promising as the Clyde metro seems, it is currently on a timescale of about twenty to thirty years before being fully operational.

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