Travel around Glasgow
Getting around Glasgow need not be a nightmare. In fact, it can be a pleasure if you follow our simple guide
Bus services in Glasgow are owned by Stagecoach (www.stagecoashbus.com) and SPT (www.spt.co.uk). Yet the biggest provider is the First Group (www.firstgroup.com), with a fleet of around 1000 buses. Service and timetabling information can be obtained from the First website, or Traveline Scotland (08712 002 233, www.travelinescotland.com). Fares cost 85p–£1.50, depending on the number of stages travelled, and those travelling by bus are advised to keep spare coins handy as First take exact change only. Alternatively, a Day ticket offers unlimited rides for £3.20. First also operate the 747 half-hourly Airlink between the city centre and Glasgow International Airport for a fare of £3 (£5 return). For getting home after hours there are a range of Night Buses (services 9, 12, 40, 56, 57, 62, 66 and 75) between 1am-4.30am on Fri/Sat nights. These cost a flat single fare of £2.10 (£2.50 to suburban areas).
Glasgow has around 1500 black cabs on its streets, more than 970 of which are administered by Glasgow Taxis (www.glasgowtaxis.co.uk, 0141 429 7070). 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. Tipping is appreciated, while certain surcharges 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 tend to be cheaper than black cabs, although they can only respond to phone bookings. Also try Glasgow Minicabs, 0141 429 1111 or 50/50 C.A.B.S Ltd, 0141 882 5050.
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 in print 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 to complete a full circuit leave at 11.24pm (5.50pm on Sundays). A single ride adult ticket costs £1.20 and a return journey is £2.40, while a Discovery ticket – which offers unlimited travel for one day – is £3.50. 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
Although the network of cycle paths and lanes around Glasgow isn't as wide-reaching as in Edinburgh, there are plans to extend it by 2012 as part of the National Cycle Network. Outside of the city, however, there are some impressive areas to take a bike, including out to the west coast, along the Clyde Valley and north to Loch Lomond. There are many bike shops in the city, with West End Cycles (16-18 Chancellor Street, 0141 357 1344), Billy Bilsland Cycles (176 Saltmarket, 0141 552 0841, billybilslandcycles.co.uk) and Cyclelane (193 Clarkston Road, 0141 637 2439, www.cyclelane.co.uk) all providing hire services.
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 Greater London. It serves 186 stations. Prestwick Airport is served by a half-hourly service from Glasgow Central station to the airport's own rail link station. Also of note are the 'low-level' stations around the centre, including Glasgow Central, Glasgow Queen Street, Exhibition Centre, Partick and Charing Cross. These are smaller stops for regional services passing through the city and provide short-distance transport. The local rail system in Strathclyde is run by First Scotrail (www.firstgroup.com/scotrail/). Full information can be obtained from the National Rail Enquiry Service, 08457 484 950, www.nationalrail.co.uk or from Traveline Scotland, 08712 002 233, www.travelinescotland.com