Pictures: Glasgow subway anniversary marked with campaign for integrated public transport

Get Glasgow Moving call for Glasgow transport to catch up with modern cities of the world

CAMPAIGNERS have marked 120 years since the opening of the Glasgow subway by calling for a modern, publicly owned and fully integrated transport system in Scotland’s largest conurbation.

For years academics and activists have complained that the subway, which circles the city centre and doesn’t extend into greater Glasgow’s urban sprawl, has been a monument to planning failures over many decades, which have left Glasgow grossly unevenly developed.

One of the campaigners hitching up a stall next to the newly refurbished St Ennoch’s square subway station was artist Ellie Harrison, who is currently engaged in an art project, ‘The Glasgow Effect’, exploring the lived environment of Glasgow.

Harrison told CommonSpace they wanted to see the subway train circuit extended into Glasgow’s communities as part of a holistic reform to bring about at fully-integrated transport network.

She said: “Today is the 120 year anniversary of the Glasgow subway. It is the only subway in the whole world that’s never been extended, despite the fact that SPT (Strathclyde Partnership for Transport) promised, in 2007, an East End extension in time for the commonwealth games.

“We are here to ask that they extend the subway to serve everyone in the city.”

Whilst Glasgow city centre has boomed in recent years, becoming the UK’s second largest shopping district, surrounding communities have seen persistent and even growing problems of poverty, poor health and social isolation – a condition researchers have referred to as the ‘Glasgow effect’ after which Harrison’s project is named.

Get Glasgow Moving at St. Ennochs subway station in Glasgow

The Unite union’s Community branch has launched a petition under the twitter hashtag #haudthebus, to call on the Scottish Government to regulate Scotland’s bus network.

Only 49 per cent of Glasgow households have access to a car, and the majority of its people rely on its badly outmoded transport infrastructure.

The GGM campaign is calling for a total overhaul of transport in the city, and for it to make more accessible surrounding suburban areas, rather than be a system simply directing traffic to and from the centre, so that Glasgow’s communities can experience greater economic development.

A spokesperson for SPT said: “A report from 2007 highlighted two options for the Subway - the modernisation of the existing system or consideration of a possible extension to the East End of Glasgow.

“Being estimated at £2.3bn the cost to extend are simply unaffordable and Scottish Government backed SPT’s recommendation to modernise the existing system.

“That programme has been underway for some time now and has seen the introduction of a new Smart Ticketing System, very significant improvements to our Subway stations, and the order for a fleet of new automated trains and associated signalling systems which will make the Glasgow Subway one of the most advanced metro systems in operation anywhere.”

The newly refurbished St. Ennoch’s subway station

The demands of the Get Glasgow Moving campaign

A publicly owned bus company: To take over bus routes from private firm Stagecoach one by one, using profitable routes to re-open those terminated under private ownership.

One city, one ticket: For all private transport companies operating in Glasgow to accept a smartcard which allows for seamless integrated travel across all public travel, including buses, trains, subway and bike hire.

Bike hire: The establishment of bike hire stations across the city, with free use for concessionary groups including young people.

A publicly owned transport authority: To take control over Glasgow’s entire network, including public and private transport.

Pictures CommonSpace

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