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Archive for the ‘Better Buses News’ Category

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Better Buses in the Sunday Herald

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

Yesterday’s Sunday Herald featured an interesting piece on local transport, with Better Buses getting a mention and comments from Patrick Harvie. You can read the article here.

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Patrick responds to news of First service changes

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

“More frequent buses on key routes will be a welcome improvement but First must not use this reorganisation as cover for cutting yet more peripheral bus routes that people rely on. Glasgow suffered this time last year when First cut or reduced dozens of services, and they admit that these new changes will see fewer miles covered. We need a public service that really serves all parts of our city.

“It’s clear from this latest decree that all the power is in the hands of the bus company, and very little is held by bus users. Two weeks of consultation is a worryingly short period for passengers to find out about these changes and make their views known.”

You can see a full list of the changes here, and details on how  to respond to the consultation here.

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Patrick Harvie condemns "sticking plaster" approach to bus funding

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Patrick Harvie has responded with criticism to the Scottish Government’s latest funding deal with bus operators.

The deal will see £10 million made available to help with cash flow, and a phased reduction in the level of reimbursement firms receive for concessionary travel.

At present, the rate of reimbursement is 67% of an adult fare. This will fall to 60% in 2013/14, and 58.1% in 2014/15. Up until 2010, the rate had been 73.6%.

Patrick Harvie said: “This last-minute fumbling for spare change to tide over a vital public service shows that buses remain a low priority for the Scottish Government. Operators will continue to struggle, putting services at risk and leaving passengers to pay higher fares.

“SNP ministers seem happy with a sticking plaster approach to bus funding and a lack of regulation. Scotland’s travelling public deserve better.”

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Bus regulation bill welcome but funding critical

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Responding to the announcement that former Labour leader Iain Gray intends to bring forward a member’s bill to regulate buses, Patrick Harvie, MSP for Glasgow and transport spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said:

“I welcome this move by Iain Gray and look forward to seeing the details. It is abundantly clear the current unregulated free-for-all is failing Scotland’s bus passengers. We see private firms putting profits ahead of public services, and we see a Government failing to properly fund these services.

“Over the last year across Glasgow I’ve been gathering the views of the travelling public through my Better Buses website and the need for affordable, reliable buses is clear. Proper regulation will help but this must come with additional resources if we are serious about making public transport a priority.”

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Cost of taking the bus rising at double the rate of motor costs

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Transport statistics show the cost of running a car has fallen while people who rely on buses and trains have been forced to pay ever more.

Figures from government agency Transport Scotland show that the cost of purchasing a car has fallen by 20 per cent in cash terms over the last ten years. They also show that while the cost of running a vehicle has risen by 32 per cent in the same period, it is less than the 36 per cent increase in the retail price index, so a real terms fall.

By contrast the costs of bus and rail fares have risen by a massive 62 per cent over the same period, a real times increase.

First Bus has introduced a series of price increases in Glasgow during 2012. In April, 27 different fares were hiked, with a short hop single up from 90p to £1.15, and £1.50 added to the cost of a FirstWeek. A 10 week all zone FirstCard went up by £5, and then by a further £5.50 in November, meaning some passengers will be forking out more than £50 extra next year.

Patrick Harvie said:

“At Westminster we hear politicians promising to end the so-called war on the motorist. And at Holyrood we see the larger parties banging the drum for more roads and cheaper petrol.

“The real war is being waged against those who rely on public transport, and Glasgow’s bus users in particular are really feeling the pinch. Recently we’ve seen the transport minister cut funding for buses and rail improvement projects, while moving quickly to blow his budget on new roads that will simply encourage more car use.

“Proper investment in public transport, with electrified rail routes, a green bus fleet and a cap on fares would help with economic recovery, our climate change obligations and help foster a more equal society. Where is the government’s vision?”

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First cuts fares! (for a lucky few)

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Last night, we saw on Twitter the welcome news that First Bus is cutting their prices in Glasgow. At last! OK, so it was only FirstWeek tickets that were being cut (and this after hiking the cost of FirstCards last month) but still, it was something to be cheerful about for once.

Today though, after a bit of digging, it seems that this good news is not all that it seems.

First introduced big changes to their prices in April this year, with FirstWeek prices taking a big hike. A one week Glasgow City ticket went up from £14.00 to £15.50 and tickets in Dumbarton saw a similar increase. These increases have not been reversed in the latest announcement, so many will still be paying more than they were this time last year.

While a lucky few will see big reductions to their fare, it seems that many of us are still stuck with the higher prices that were introduced in Spring, and that First is being a tad selective when promoting their new fares.




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Better Buses: what you told us

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

We are pleased to publish our report into Glasgow’s buses, “Better Buses: what you told us”.

The report contains the issues and complaints you raised about buses in Glasgow, along with suggestions about how to deal with them. Many of the recommendations come straight from you, and we’d like to thank everyone that has taken part. Among the suggestions were calls for better regulation, which can only be done nationally, but also ideas for making things better for Glasgow’s services here and now.

These proposals will be taken to politicians, transport groups, and the press to ensure that the voice of Glasgow’s bus users is heard, and change delivered.

You can read the full report here.

We’d love to hear your feedback – drop us a line at:

Alternatively, Tweet us @betterbuses or post your thoughts on the wall of our Facebook page.


References for the report are available here.


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MSP backs Glasgow Council study into bus services

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Patrick Harvie MSP has lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament welcoming the decision by Glasgow City Council to commission a detailed study into the city’s bus services.

The report approved by Glasgow city councillors is available here:

Half of Glasgow doesn’t have access to a car yet the city’s bus services are unregulated, with private operators able to increase fares and change or withdraw services without consulting passengers.

Patrick said:

“At long last the city council are taking steps to address the shockingly poor quality of Glasgow’s bus services – services that so many people rely on. I sincerely hope the Scottish Government fully co-operates with this effort to examine different franchise arrangements rather than continuing with the current free-market failure.

“To date SNP ministers have fobbed off bus users by rejecting the idea of a passenger survey like they have in England and by claiming that regulation would cost too much. We’re already paying for our buses; it’s time we demanded a basic level of service from the operators who make profits on the back of our money.”

The motion lodged by Patrick Harvie is available here:

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What does the draft budget mean for buses?

Friday, September 21st, 2012

So, what did yesterday’s draft budget mean for the buses? Well, let’s start with the good news – £2.5 million for low carbon buses. To date, the Green Bus Fund has invested over £6 million in Scotland’s low carbon bus fleet, putting an additional 74 of these greener buses on the roads (with First in Glasgow receiving cash for 10 double deckers). However, when you consider that the bus fleet Scotland-wide numbers in the thousands, this is a drop in the ocean. More money is welcome, but it’s simply not enough.


The bad news? Well, the Scottish Government’s wider transport priorities still seem to be all wrong. As Transform Scotland have highlighted, funding for roads continues to escalate, while overall funding for public transport stagnates. Indeed, this draft budget sees a small decline in funding for buses in real terms. Until bus services are seen as high priority, their potential social, economic and environmental benefits will go unrealised.

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Your Questions Answered

Friday, August 10th, 2012

Charlie Anderson, Chair of the Bus Passenger Platform, the body dealing with Bus Complaints answers some of your questions.


SPT are also getting back to us with the answers to some more questions. And the ultrimate guide to the madness of the buses will be published on this website at the end of August – the Big Plan for Better Buses!

I sent a complaint in to the bus company and they didn’t reply to me. What can I do?
If you have contacted the operator and have not received a response to your satisfaction you may wish to contact the Bus Passengers’ Platform (BPP).  BPP can review the way in which bus operators have handled certain bus complaints.

Who has the overview of where the bus routes go and where they stop? It seems to be a total free-for-all. Traffic Commissioner: however, you’re right in that anyone with the correct credentials can start a bus service

Our local bus timetable has been really reduced in the evenings and at weekends.  Is a bus company allowed to just run buses at the busy times and not at all in the evenings on a really important route? basic answer is “yes”

Who do I complain to about the buses being late so often?Bus operator/Traffic Commissioner/BPP

The trains have targets for punctuality and the results are displayed in stations and published on the web. Is there anything similar for buses. No direct equivalent

Can I get compensation from a bus company if my bus is late? Possibly – but bus operator must be first point of contact

Are there targets for bus punctuality and how is it monitored? Traffic Commissioner

My bus stop was just taken away and replaced by a sign. Who can I complain to? Local Authority

Why don’t bus companies need to give us decent notice before they put the prices up?  We seem to get less than a week’s notice and then you have to be ready with the right change and people get caught out. Bus operator – grounds for complaint to Traffic Commissioner/BPP

Is there anything to stop the bus companies putting the fares up as much as they like and as often as they like? No – in theory “ the market” will intervene

Why do some buses give change and some don’t – it doesn’t seem to take any longer? Ask the Bus operator, but “exact fare” is much quicker

The bus company just stopped taking bus passes for night buses when I had already bought my four-week bus pass, are they allowed to do that? Adequate notice must be given

The exhaust fumes from buses in the centre of Glasgow is really bad, are there any laws that limit the emissions from buses and who is monitoring it? Scottish Government/Local Authority, but the fumes aren’t just from buses – cars are also offenders

I often have trouble getting a bus because I have a buggy. Is there any law that says that buses need to have accessible doorways for the disabled and those with buggies?  Scottish Government – there is a timetable towards 100% compliance

How do I complain about not being let on the bus with my buggy?  Bus operator/BPP

Part of the problem with buses is that they get delayed going through town with the congestion. Why do buses have through routes when most people are just travelling into town or home from town?  There are a number of operational reasons, which the individual operator would have to explain

We have had lots of tweets and website posts to betterbuses saying that Lothian buses are much better than Glasgow buses, is there a reason for this?  Subjective – can’t comment

Someone got on the bus in front of me with a can of tenants but I wasn’t allowed on with my takeaway cappuccino. You can take coffee onto trains why not onto buses?  This may or may not be within BPP’s scope but much more specific information would be needed


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