GLASGOW City Council is to explore options to take bus services in the city into public ownership.

The move follows First Group's announcement earlier this month which revealed it is putting its UK operations up for sale.

An emergency motion put forward by Glasgow Labour's transport spokesman Matt Kerr came after community campaign Get Glasgow Moving collected over 3,500 signatures on a petition calling for public control.

It was agreed by the Council after negotiations between all political groups.

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"This is a step-change in public transport planning in Glasgow," Councillor Kerr said.

"I am delighted that we were able to work across party lines to come to an agreement, to make clear that bus provision is just not good enough.

"Now we have a real opportunity to go further and faster to deliver a transport network suitable for a truly 21st century, European, metropolitan city.

"I'd like to thank campaigners at Get Glasgow Moving and others for pushing on this, and for those across the city chamber for working constructively on this issue."

Council officers will discuss the issue, which gained momentum after the Scottish Parliament voted to include direct powers for local authorities to run bus companies in the Transport Bill, with First Group, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport and other national transport partners among others.

Glasgow City Council's decision follows similar moves to explore public takeover of First Bus services from councils in Aberdeen and Falkirk.

LETTERS: Hats off to First Bus for taking us back to the good old days of Glasgow transport

Mr Kerr told councillors he brought the motion forward due to the "seriousness and urgency" of the situation.

He said members were regularly contacted about the reliability of bus services and were "constantly fighting what at times seems to be a losing battle or at least a rear guard action".

The councillor added there would be more accountability with public ownership. "Deregulation has failed," he said. "We need to look at a new model to deliver this and put it safely in public hands."

Green Party representative Bailie Christy Mearns-Macleod seconded the motion, saying: "There has never been a better time to re-imagine what our public transport should look like."

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Councillor Anna Richardson, the Council's convener for sustainability and carbon reduction, said the authority was determined to explore every option and had started informal discussions as soon as it was notified of First Group's intentions. She added there was commercial sensitivity around any negotiations.

Council leader Susan Aitken said: "This process has already started. We are aware that there will always be barriers as long as the buses aren’t in our hands.

"The principle is one we are absolutely signed up to."

Further developments are set to be reported to the Council's new transport delivery working group.