Using Glasgow’s bus network pretty much means you have to use Firstbus plc. Almost 98% of Glasgow commuters have to use the one private bus company or a monopoly as you can call it. Firstbus receives subsidies from the government to run the service.
Some people will remember that before Firstbus ran Glasgow’s buses, there was Strathclyde Passenger Transport Executive, with big yellow and green buses.
Deregulation (or privatisation) of UK bus services, opened up to the market to other companies. In 1986 Council-owned Strathclyde Buses was born and had to stand on its own two feet. In 1998 Firstgroup bought up Strathclyde Buses and the monopoly began.
Should we be blaming Firstbus plc for Glasgow’s poor bus services? Yes, but they are not the only ones to blame – Firstbus plc is like any other profit-making company: they have to make as much money as they can – it’s the system. Before Glasgow Firstbus, the decision to privatise was taken by politicians and it has not favoured for the people of Glasgow.
We need a service that is run for us, not for profit. We need a say where the buses go in Glasgow and not cutting areas off at night.