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Campaigns to reverse the privatisation of buses gain pace

The Start-up: In Manchester and Glasgow, debate is heating up about Andy Burnham’s franchise plan and the sale of First Bus

Hazel Sheffield
Wednesday 26 June 2019 14:11 BST
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Manchester’s Better Buses campaign is run locally by the organisation We Own It, which is calling for public ownership of public services nationwide
Manchester’s Better Buses campaign is run locally by the organisation We Own It, which is calling for public ownership of public services nationwide (Athena Mellor)

Glasgow should be the ideal place to take public transport. The city has the biggest suburban railway network outside London. It’s one of only a handful of places, including London and Newcastle, to have a subway which, when it opened in the late 19th century, was the envy of the world.

Yet passengers say the system doesn’t work. Bus use in the southwest of Scotland and the Strathclyde area has declined 38 per cent over a decade, compared to 22 per cent for Scotland as a whole. In 2018, a single fare on Glasgow’s privatised First Bus service was £2.40, compared to £1.70 on Edinburgh’s publicly owned Lothian buses and just £1.50 on London’s buses, which are regulated by Transport for London.

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