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To: Glasgow City Council, SPT and Transport Secretary Michael Matheson MSP

Time to take back our buses!

Bring Greater Glasgow's buses back into public ownership

Why is this important?

People in Greater Glasgow have suffered at the hands of private bus companies far too long, with rip-off fares and routes being cut leaving communities isolated.

During the coronavirus crisis FirstGroup received massive public bailouts to keep essential bus services running for key-workers. Despite this they are now axing routes all over the place – the X1, X2, 32 and 208 to name just a few.

This has to stop! We urgently need Glasgow City Council, SPT and the Transport Secretary to intervene. We cannot afford to keep throwing public money at private companies which don’t deliver the public transport that we need.

Greater Glasgow needs a publicly-owned bus company that puts passengers first, like Edinburgh’s Lothian Buses (on Lothian fares are £1.80 compared to £2.50 on First Glasgow).


New powers in the Transport Act 2019 finally allow councils and transport authorities (like SPT) to own and operate bus services.

If FirstGroup is close to financial collapse and cutting vital routes to stay afloat, then it’s time for us to ‘take back our buses’ – to buyout not bailout the company – and start running services in the interests of our region’s people.

This is what Aberdeen City Council is planning to do, and this is what Glasgow must do too, in collaboration with the surrounding councils in our region and SPT, with support from the Scottish Government.

Public ownership is essential to prioritise safety, save public money and help improve services in the long-term – reinstating routes to isolated communities and integrating bus services with trains and subway.

It’s the only way to deliver the world-class, fully-integrated public transport network that we need to: address the climate emergency, prevent poverty and isolation, boost the local economy, tackle toxic air pollution and create a people-friendly city.


We first launched the ‘take back our buses’ campaign on 19 June 2019, after FirstGroup announced they were planning to sell their UK bus businesses. We gathered more than 3,500 signatures on this petition within a week.

Glasgow City Council responded and on 27 June 2019, they passed a motion to investigate “what the process of acquiring and operating bus operational assets could involve”.

On 29 January 2020, we delivered this petition, then signed by 7,093 people, to Council Leader Susan Aitken and were told that FirstGroup was no longer selling. The outcomes of the Council’s investigations have never materialised.

Instead Glasgow City Council and SPT appear to have reverted to developing a ‘partnership’ with bus companies. On 18 June 2020, they published a paper saying they aimed to “closely align with the needs and requirements of the bus industry”.

This is the opposite of putting passengers first and delivering the public transport that we need.

We re-launched this campaign on 21 July 2020 to demand that Glasgow City Council, SPT and the Transport Secretary intervene to stop the cuts and act to bring our buses back into public ownership now.

Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL





2019-08-07 15:26:35 +0100

5,000 signatures reached

2019-06-28 07:20:55 +0100

On Thursday 27th June, Glasgow City Council announced some great news:
'We've begun discussions to explore what a bid for a Council owned bus company could look like for Glasgow' said Cllr Anna Richardson, Convener for Sustainability & Carbon Reduction
This is the first step in our big campaign to #TakeBackOurBuses! Please keep signing and sharing the petition to keep the pressure up and help ensure these 'explorations' become a reality.

2019-06-22 01:00:06 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2019-06-20 20:59:19 +0100

500 signatures reached

2019-06-19 21:47:21 +0100

100 signatures reached

2019-06-19 20:18:24 +0100

50 signatures reached

2019-06-19 19:58:02 +0100

25 signatures reached

2019-06-19 19:44:17 +0100

10 signatures reached