Glasgow’s Connectivity Commission has recommended a new metro for the city, as part of transport improvements costing £10bn over two decades.
The ‘independent’ Commission, which works on behalf of Glasgow City Council, has published its Phase Two report, which focuses on matters beyond the control of the council itself.
Commission chair Professor David Begg told the BBC that too many people in the city are cut off by poor transport links. He said: ‘It really surprised me how close the link is between deprivation, low income, lack of employment opportunities in Glasgow and access to the fixed rail network.’
He added that the city had a high percentage of households that did not own a car and the bus network was ‘not really serving them as well as it should’.
‘The city is not working as effectively and efficiently as it should and the solution is a metro system,’ he said.
The report argues that while the city itself has a very good transport network by UK standards, ‘comparison with those cities across Europe and beyond that Glaswegians like to think of as their peers reveals that the city falls substantially short of what has been achieved elsewhere’.
It states: ‘The most glaringly obvious omission from Glasgow’s current transport system is the absence of the kind of comprehensive, modern rapid transit system serving inner urban destinations that just nearly all of Glasgow’s comparator cities have been busy building for the last 30- 40 years.’
The report calls for Transport Scotland to take lead responsibility for the development of a Glasgow Metro, which would include creating a rail link between Paisley Gilmour Street and Glasgow Airport by 2025 using currently identified City Deal funding, ‘utilising technology that would enable this to be extended to become the first leg of the Glasgow Metro, serving the South Clyde Growth Corridor’.
It also calls for two city centre stations – Glasgow Central and Queen Street – to be connected by a tunnel to increase capacity and for Glasgow Central station to be extended to the south of the Clyde to prepare for HS2 services.
'Taken together, based on outline costs produced for the Scottish Government’s last Strategic Transport Projects Review, the Glasgow Metro, development of Glasgow Central Station for High Speed Rail and the Queen Street/Central Station tunnel account for around £10bn expenditure. Over two decades, this would represent spending of around £500m per annum.'
Council leader Susan Aitken, who asked Prof Begg to chair the commission in 2017, said: ‘This is the kind of thinking which Glasgow has needed and it's clear that the Connectivity Commission has benefited from a very high calibre of evidence and expertise.’
The report also calls on the Scottish and UK Governments to consider ‘how to change the way we pay for road use to accommodate the shift towards electric and autonomous vehicles’.
‘This should consider: how national, regional and road charging models could operate; a national conversation to build and identify public support for changes to the charging model; the regulatory, fiscal and legislative changes that may be required.’
The Commission's map of a possible Metro network