Campaign launched to support Subway as funding ends

Funding package shared between the Glasgow Subway and Edinburgh’s tram network set to expire.

The Scottish Greens have launched a campaign to protect Glasgow’s Subway system as emergency funding comes to an end.

In July, the Scottish Government announced a £9 million funding package to be shared between the Subway and Edinburgh’s tram network.

However, funding was only due to last until the end of September and will expire after Wednesday.

The Greens have now launched a campaign to protect the Subway, which the party say lost £4.5 million between April and June due to the coronavirus lockdown imposed in March.

By March 30, the system had already seen a 97% drop in passengers, according to some reports.

Greens co-leader and Glasgow MSP Patrick Harvie said: “The fact that Glasgow’s iconic and vital Subway faces an uncertain future is a serious dereliction of duty by the Transport Secretary Michael Matheson.

“The ‘clockwork orange’ is such an important part of life in Glasgow, where over half of residents don’t own a car. Public transport needs to be the priority, not an afterthought.

“Cutting services at any time would be wrong but forcing more people onto fewer trains in the middle of a pandemic would also be unacceptable on public health grounds.”

The news comes as emergency measures to support Scotrail and the Caledonian Sleeper were announced earlier this month in the form of emergency measures agreements, which will last until January.

Mr Harvie added: “We’ve seen support for private train operators extended until January.

“Instead of only bailing out the private sector, it’s time for the Scottish Government to value the public sector in order to build a fairer and greener recovery.”

Assistant chief executive of SPT – the body which runs the subway network – Valerie Davidson said that no extra funding would result in cuts to other services.

She said: “SPT provided and continues to do so, key transport links during the pandemic when other operators were reducing services.

“It was reported to our partnership meeting on September 18 that discussions continued with Transport Scotland to secure financial assistance in line with other transport operators.

“At the time of writing, no formal response to this request has been received and without additional financial support, it will be necessary to reduce other expenditure, including tendered bus services costs, to lessen the anticipated deficit arising from the reduction in patronage levels and income.

“The SPT Chair, councillor Dr Martin Bartos, at the request of all partnership members, is raising this directly with the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Michael Matheson.”

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