- By Katy Scott
- BBC Scotland news website
The boss of a bus company was fired for suggesting that late-night buses could be driven by bar staff after a late shift.
First Bus said passenger numbers were not enough to sustain 11-night services in the city after July.
However CEO Duncan Cameron said emissary that the main problem is the lack of drivers.
Donald MacLeod, who owns some of Glasgow’s most iconic locations, called the proposal “stupid”.
First Bus said it made the decision to cancel services because the regular bus operates with only 14 passengers per hour.
Drivers will be redeployed into the daytime network to support existing services.
Speaking to the Herald, Mr Cameron said: “The driver is the biggest challenge.
“What can stop a volunteer bar worker being trained by First Bus and, as part of their shift, working for First Bus with two rides and late-night services?
“It sounds like an odd idea, but it solves problems and brings jobs.”
Donald Macleod, who owns the Garage and Cathouse nightclub in Glasgow and convenes the Glasgow Licensing Forum, called the proposal “stupid”.
“That negates any responsibility on their part,” he told BBC Scotland.
“I believe that a company like First Bus, after the millions of pounds in subsidies given to them during Covid – it is a public service.
“There is a need for legislation to force these companies to provide services at all times of the day.
“I wasn’t in favor of nationalization before, but I really think it’s something we should be looking at.”
On Wednesday, 16 MSP SNPs representing Glasgow and surrounding regions – including First Minister Humza Yousaf and former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon – wrote to Mr Cameron, calling for a review of the decision.
But Mr MacLeod argued that the government should take more responsibility for improving public transport in the city.
“There needs to be an integrated transport policy that supports people in these areas,” he said.
“It is the responsibility of the council and the government and they have brushed their hands off the issue.
“I think Glasgow is suffering the death of thousands of cuts here and none of our leaders support Glasgow as a great power.
“A real failure of the city is not having an integrated travel policy – even closing the subway so early, especially at 18:00 on Sundays is a joke.”
Mr Cameron told the Herald he was surprised by the level of response “because it is not representative of the level of engagement or response in the sessions we have had with the counselees and those with whom we seek support.”
He said First Bus has been trying to resolve the issue through regular meetings with stakeholder groups for six months and the company remains open to exploring alternatives in the future.
But Mr Macleod said there was little opportunity to engage with First Bus on the issue.
He said: “They warned us that the service was not being used and we said we would meet and make recommendations.
“And then this bomb went off. They weren’t interesting to talk to.”
“And not coming back with any other solution than finding someone new to the six-hour job and giving them the keys to a double-decker – ridiculous.”
First Bus met with Glasgow City Council on Thursday to discuss night bus services in the city and potential solutions.
It said the company suffered losses for more than a year, with an average of 4800 passengers a month on the night bus, before finally deciding that the service was not viable.
A company spokesperson said the increased frequency on daytime routes will benefit more than 600,000 passengers per month.
‘Risk to the public’
Graham McNab, Unite officer at First Bus Glasgow, said: “First Bus is a well-organized workforce who would be very unhappy with the proposal to introduce normalization.
“Our members will be concerned about the risks to the public if these proposals are approved.
“Bus driving requires skill, dedication and awareness.
“Transporting passengers should never be seen as a second job for someone who is exhausted after working an eight-hour shift in a crowded bar.
“Our members will not accept these proposals and the idea will certainly not be supported by Unite.”
Bryan Simpson, Unite’s hotel organizer, said: “The fact that First Bus in Glasgow even suggested that exhausted bar workers should drive themselves home late at night was probably one of the comments. most disrespectful we’ve ever heard towards both the bar staff and the bus driver.”
“If the people of Glasgow need more reason to come together to demand the introduction of a Glasgow city bus that, like Edinburgh, is accountable to the people and not to shareholders, First Bus has just given them one.”
A spokesperson for First Bus said that the idea “was not presented as a solution – it was simply an example of the kind of creative thinking that all stakeholders may require to overcome this problem.” labor challenges that we and other industries are continuing to address.” face.”