Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It's Time To Stop Bus Users Being Short-Changed

Edinburgh's bus company, Lothian Buses, is so good, that it's easy to forget that the rest of the country doesn't have nearly as good a bus service.

When I was a kid, you couldn't move around Glasgow for the number of Corporation buses on the streets. I'm probably showing my age when I tell you I can remember them being green, white and gold! Unfortunately, deregulation didn't go as well in Glasgow as it did in Edinburgh and First Bus have come to dominate in recent years.

Which is unfortunate as the First Bus service is, from all accounts, pretty crap. Glasgow isn't the only casualty. Deregulation was supposed to bring competition and lower fares. Instead, Scotland has seen two big operators (First and Stagecoach) dominate.

What we really need is re-regulation, to make the bus a 'service' again. To make the bus companies provide routes that take the public where they want to go, rather than where the bus company wants them to go. Buses that are attractive enough that people want to sit on them (First's colour scheme alone gives me the dry boak!). And fares that mean public transport is so much cheaper, the car is not an option.

Until then, we have a new Better Buses campaign in Glasgow. Started by Patrick Harvie MSP, it aims to get the voice of the people heard above the corporate wails of the bus companies. Tell them how a service can be improved, tweet about the bad (and good) experiences, and pass on your knowledge of how a service actually runs, instead of how the bus company reports that it runs. Together, Glasgow's bus users can hopefully change things for the better.

No comments: