Bar staff could be trained to drive late-night buses, says First Bus boss

First Bus announced on Monday that services are being ended due to low passenger numbers.

Bar staff could be trained to drive late-night buses, says First Bus boss PA Media

The boss of a bus company which has come under fire for cancelling undersubscribed night services has suggested bar staff could be trained to ferry late-night passengers home.

Duncan Cameron, managing director of First Bus, made the comments in an interview with the Herald as pressure on the company grew after the cancellation of 11 night services in Glasgow was announced.

The company said passengers numbers are not enough to sustain the service beyond July.

On Wednesday, 16 SNP MSPs representing Glasgow and the surrounding areas – including First Minister Humza Yousaf and former first minister Nicola Sturgeon – wrote to Mr Cameron, calling for the decision to be reconsidered.

Speaking to the Herald, Mr Cameron said: “A driver behind the wheel is the biggest challenge. What’s to stop somebody working in a bar being volunteered to be trained by First Bus and, as part of their shift, work for First Bus doing two journeys and the night late services?

“It might sound a bit of a wacky idea, but it would it would solve the problem and provide employment.”

The bus boss also hit out at the service cancellation being used as a “political football”.

“I’m aware of the level of engagement that we’ve had prior to making this decision, seeking support, seeking involvement and seeking other solutions to try to help us overcome this,” he said.

“But the bus has been used as a political football.

“People will be aware of comments being made by certain individuals and, I can assure you, those individuals were very quiet through some of these discussions. I’m not going to hang anyone out to dry… They know who they are.”

His comments came as First Bus competitor McGill’s announced it is exploring the creation of a night service in Glasgow.

Group chief executive Ralph Roberts said: “We are only at an initial stage of looking at what may be achievable.

“The First Glasgow services that are being terminated are extensive and we cannot say at this stage that a like-for-like replacement will be feasible.

“That said, we know there is a level of demand for night-time bus services and, if Glasgow is to thrive as a city, it needs companies such as McGill’s together with city leaders to see what we can achieve.”

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