Bus company reports sharp rise in passengers amid rail strike chaos

The number of people using First Bus in Glasgow increased by 13% on the initial day of industrial action.

Glasgow First Bus run additional services as RMT rail strike chaos increases passenger numbers iStock
Drivers took on overtime shifts and additional services were run to cope with demand.

First Bus in Glasgow has reported a sharp increase in passenger numbers as rail strike disruption continues across the country.

On Tuesday, Network Rail members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union began industrial action, which will continue on Thursday and Saturday of this week. 

The action saw nine in ten ScotRail services cancelled, with trains operating on just five lines between 7.30am and 6.30pm. 

The number of people using First buses in Glasgow increased by 13% on Tuesday, compared to the same day last week.

First Bus says that it shows “the importance of a good bus network and what an agile bus network can offer to the general public”.

Some 40,000 members of the RMT union and 13 train operators walked out on Tuesday in a bitter dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.

Much of Britain had no passenger trains for the entire day, including most of Scotland.

In order to cope with the increase in passenger numbers, the bus operator saw drivers take up additional overtime shifts in order to run some additional services.

A spokesman for the company said: “First Glasgow services coped well with the increase in passenger numbers.

“Additional overtime shifts worked to allow us to run some additional services and we also prioritised double deckers on our busier routes to ensure we were able to cope with the increased demand.”

As rail strikes continue this week, First Bus are anticipating similar increases of customers on their services, with potentially even more passengers.

Gordon Martin, RMT regional organiser for Scotland, said the rail strike is the last resort for members and said they were looking for a “meaningful offer” to resolve the dispute.

Nick King, a spokesman for Network Rail in Scotland, said a modernised railway could improve its pay offer for staff by passing on savings.

A spokesperson for First Bus said: “We would encourage everyone to download the First Bus App which will help you to plan your journey, keep you updated on live bus timetable information and also allow you to buy tickets.”