Glasgow operators First and McGill’s will work together to provide a night bus network following the announcement by First that it was planning to cease operating its night services
Following the announcement by First Glasgow that its existing night bus service, re-introduced after the pandemic, was not sustainable and would be withdrawn, the operator has agreed to retain some services, with McGill’s stepping in to operate others as part of a new night bus network across the city.
Following dialogue with Glasgow City Council and a number of other stakeholders after First’s announcement, McGill’s will initially operate an hourly service between 0015hrs and 0345hrs on Fridays and Saturdays on five routes from the city centre:
- N3 – Shawlands – Thornliebank – Nitshill – Pollok
- N4 – Shawlands – Eastwood – Newton Mearns
- N6 – Anniesland – Scotstoun – Clydebank
- N38 – Ibrox – Paisley
- N60 – Maryhill – Drumchapel
McGill’s added that it intends to build upon its initial provision to extend the service beyond two nights a week in future, and that its night bus network will use electric buses. At the same time, First Bus has said it also plans to continue operating four separate night bus routes between 0045 and 0300hrs on Friday and Saturday nights.
Ralph Roberts, CEO of McGill’s Group, said: “Buses are vital to the success of Glasgow and we’ve been striving to find a solution that serves the night-time economy, residents and visitors. We’re delighted to be announcing an initial five night-time bus routes that will be run by McGill’s serving the city.
“McGill’s Group has been in discussions with Glasgow businesses to understand the issues they have been facing with transport and we have also deployed our management and staff overnight to the city centre to examine what measures Glasgow City Council could take on roads and streets to help buses deliver a better service for passengers. Our intention is to build our night-time services in future and work with the council and businesses to help achieve that.
“There will be a range of ticket options available on night-time services, including discounts for regular users and McGill’s ticket holders, and we will announce more details on that shortly.”
James Easdale, chairman of McGill’s Group, said: “We committed last month to exploring what was commercially viable for introducing a McGill’s night bus network in Glasgow and we’re pleased to be able to announce an initial five routes today.
“From speaking to passengers and business owners, there is substantial concern regarding Glasgow city centre and its ability to attract people and investment in order that it can prosper for the next decade and beyond.
“McGill’s has listened and stepped up with these new services that we would hope to add to in future. However, for the Glasgow night-time economy to prosper, this cannot be seen as a ‘job done’ moment. Civic leaders need to ensure they are providing a long-term a strategy that encourages public transport use and makes it easier for operators such as ourselves to deliver better services for passengers.”
First Glasgow said that new new collaborative approach stretches its driver resource as far as it possibly can to provide services into the early hours of Saturday and Sunday morning, reiterating First Bus’ commitment to delivering for its customers and the communities it serves. The operator said that its data has shown a post-pandemic shift in behaviour in Glasgow, with over 2,500 more people catching the bus between 2230hrs and midnight on Friday and Saturday nights than before.
Managing Director Duncan Cameron said: “Following discussions with business owners and key stakeholders in the city, we are pleased to announce a new collaborative solution alongside McGill’s Group to continue offering a comprehensive night bus network in Glasgow.
“When we first announced the withdrawal of our night bus services, we highlighted the challenges we faced as a business. This solution allows us to continue to operate a night bus service in the face of the current driver shortage. It also highlights the importance of the Glasgow Bus Partnership in being agile and the benefits of operators working together to overcome challenges, providing the services needed by the people of Glasgow.
“We understand the need for a wider late-night public transport strategy in Glasgow. Our hope is we will now see action from stakeholders, politicians and other transport modes to support local businesses and provide a way forward for the city’s night-time economy.”
First’s night bus services, departing from the city’s Sauchiehall Street, will consist of:
- N2 (East) – Parkhead – Shettleston – Baillieston – Easterhouse.
- N18 – Rutherglen – East Kilbride – Greenhills.
- N240 – Parkhead – Bellshill – Motherwell – Wishaw – Cleland.
- N267 – New Gorbals – Rutherglen – Cambuslang – Hamilton – Hillhouse.