Leader of the Scottish Greens on the buses

GLASGOW deserves better buses.

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That is my view as a daily bus passenger in the city and over the course of this year I have been using a website to help bring together the voices of others who feel the same.

Through street surveys, online polling, social media and direct contributions to the website (betterbuses.org), I have collected their first-hand experiences of the city's buses.

Hundreds of people have offered opinions and ideas, and they have painted a picture of a service that is trailing behind other cities.

The failings of our buses carry a social cost, an environmental cost, and a financial cost for individuals and households.

So many places in Europe enjoy public transport that makes for cleaner and greener places to live, as well as making life easier for people in every walk of life.

So why isn't it happening here?

Bus passengers in Glasgow seem to accept that timetables are a joke, that bus fares just keep going up, and that the routes and frequency of services get cut, cut, and cut again.

Why do we still put up with it?

Well, while motorists have a powerful political lobby and train users benefit from a closely regulated system, bus users have neither.

Since the 1980s, the UK has had a market-driven approach to bus services; it is seen as a commercial industry, not a public service.

Right wing politicians believed opening up buses to competition would give people choice and minimise costs for passengers and the state.

I think this argument was disproved a long time ago, and I think most politicians in Scotland know it, but government after government has refused to take back a bit of control by re-regulating bus services.

When passengers have no voice, it is no surprise their services are treated as the lowest priority, so the Better Buses website was designed to let passengers speak with a louder voice by speaking collectively.

This week I have published the first results. I have tried to listen to passengers' issues and priorities, and to their ideas for making things better.

There have been calls for better regulation, which can only be done nationally, but also ideas for making things better for Glasgow's services here and now.

I will be taking the results to the bus companies, and to the other political parties. We can't afford to ignore the case for regulation any longer.

Local government

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