Green light for subway modernisation

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by Rona Mackay

The Scottish Government has given the green light for the modernisation of Glasgow’s subway after agreeing to help fund the project.

The decision was announced yesterday in answer to a parliamentary question from Glasgow MSP Bob Doris who has held a series of meetings with Government Ministers in support of the upgrade to Glasgow’s underground system.

The SNP’s Bob Doris said: “This is great news for Glasgow.  The subway hasn’t been upgraded since the 1970s and with so many Glaswegians using it on a daily basis, we can see it’s in desperate need of repair.

“Last December saw 100,000 extra passengers rely on the subway, as a result of overground transport grinding to a halt.  However, the subway kept Glasgow moving during the adverse weather.  This shows why investment in the popular Glasgow transport icon is desperately needed.

“Strathclyde Passenger Transport have been given the green light to take its business plan to investors with a copper-bottomed assurance that the Scottish Government will back subway modernisation financially.

“Ongoing Government support is already assisting SPT to refurbish stations and introduce integrated ticketing, which is also long overdue.”

Strathclyde Passenger Transport say there will be no disruption while the modernisation takes place over the next five years.  However, Newsnet has been told by a specialist in public transport management, who has contacts within SPT, that in reality this may be extremely difficult.

“If there is not much disruption, how can there be much improvement?” he asked.  He was also concerned that the existing rolling stock, last modernised in 1970s, would actually last another five years.

He said: “It is good news that they are doing this, but they have left it so long they are now pressing the panic button.  Instead of extending the network throughout Glasgow to bring it into line with most European cities, they have once again opted for a patch up job, which will presumably only last another 20-30 years.

“Obviously money is tight and tunnelling is expensive, but no-one seems to have the will or the foresight to invest in our subway system which is far more environmentally-friendly than buses, where most of the local authority money goes, or the disastrous Edinburgh tram project.

“Coupled with cutbacks in staff and the voluntary redundancy packages being offered, you really do have to wonder about the priorities here.”