Travel in the city
- The Midgie
- 1 October 2008
It’s got a subway network that travels round in a circle and the streets are laid out in a grid. With the best public transport in Scotland, Glasgow’s a cinch to get around. We tell you how to make the most of the city’s transport links.
Bus services in Glasgow are owned and operated by a number of private companies. Stagecoach run cross-region services (www.stagecoachbus.com) and SPT is a public body which controls some subsidised local routes (www.spt.co.uk). The biggest bus operator is First Group (www.firstgroup.com), with a fleet of around 1000 buses in the region.
Service and timetabling information can be obtained from the First website or from Traveline Scotland (0871 200 22 33, www.travelinescotland.com). Fares cost between 85p-£1.50 for adults and 55p-£1.35 for children, depending on the distance travelled. Travellers planning to use buses are advised to carry coins as First do not give customers change on their fares. For unlimited rides until 1am in the morning, buy a FirstDay ticket.They cost £3.20 for adults and £2 for children.
First also operate the 747 Airlink between the city centre and Glasgow International Airport.The bus runs half-hourly throughout the day for a single fare of £2.90. For getting home after hours there are a range of Night Buses (services 9, 12, 40, 56, 57, 62, 66 and 75) between 1-4.30am on Fri & Sat nights. They arrive every 15 minutes and A single fare costs £2.10.
The network of cycle paths and lanes around Glasgow isn’t as extensive as Edinburgh’s but there are plans to extend it by 2012 as part of the National Cycle Network plan. However, outside of the city there are some impressive cycle paths including a trip out to the stunning west coast, along the Clyde Valley and north to Loch Lomon. There are many bike shops in the city, although West End Cycles (16-18 Chancellor Street, 0141 357 1344) and Alpine Bikes (4 Couper Street, 0141 552 8575, www.alpinebikes.co.uk) are recommended for hire services.
Glasgow has around 1500 black ‘Hackney’ cabs on its streets, more than 970 of which are administered by Glasgow Taxis (0141 429 7070, www.glasgowtaxis.co.uk). These can pick you up on the street or at designated ranks. If you’re in Glasgow centre, head for Gordon Street, in front of Central Station, or Sauchiehall Street, in front of the Garage nightclub, to find a rank. A taxi ride will generally cost in the region of £7 for a metered three mile journey. Certain surcharges (which must be agreed upon beforehand) may apply for trips outside the city boundary.An amber light above the front windscreen indicates a cab is for hire.
Private hire saloon cabs (for example Hampden Cabs, 0141 429 1122) also operate in Glasgow and are cheaper than black cabs, although they can only respond to phone bookings and won’t stop on the street. Do not accept a lift from drivers who offer their services in the street.
This is illegal, and you will be uninsured if an accident occurs.
Opened in 1896, Glasgow Subway is the third oldest subway train system in the world, after the London Underground and Budapest Metro. Although often referred to as the Clockwork Orange – due to the system’s distinctive orange-painted rolling stock – locals simply call the two-track, single loop service ‘the Subway’.
Connecting various points in the city centre, the west end and on the southside, the first services depart between 6.28am and 6.35am (between 10am and 10.10am on Sundays) while the last services leave at 11.24pm (5.50pm on Sundays). A single ride adult ticket costs £1.10 (55p for children), a return journey is £2.20 (£1.10 for children), while a Discovery ticket - that offers unlimited travel for one day - is £2.50. Season tickets and concession fares are also available.All tickets can be bought in subway stations. SPT: 0141 332 6811, www.spt.co.uk/subway
As well as being efficiently connected to the rest of Scotland and the UK, the rail network in Strathclyde (Glasgow’s surrounding area) is the UK’s largest outside of Greater London. It serves 186 stations across the region, a full map of which can be found at www.spt.co.uk/rail/railnetwork.html
For trains to the airport, Prestwick International Airport is served by a half-hourly service from Glasgow Central station to the airport’s own rail link station. Glasgow International Airport is not served by its own railway station, although Paisley Gilmour Street station is a short local bus ride away, and fares from Glasgow Central to Paisley are particularly cheap.
Also of note are a variety of ‘low-level’ stations around the city centre including Glasgow Central, Glasgow Queen Street, Exhibition Centre, Partick and Charing Cross.These are smaller stations for regional services passing through the city to stop and they also provide effective short-distance transport to locations in the centre not served by the Subway.
The local rail system in Strathclyde is run by First ScotRail (www.firstgroup.com/scotrail).Timetable and pricing information can be obtained from the National Rail Enquiry Service (08457 48 49 50, www.nationalrail.co.uk) or from Traveline Scotland (0871 200 22 33, www.travelinescotland.com).