Glasgow will not have any of the 26 low-carbon buses to be built with the help of this year's Green Bus Fund, despite the city being at the heart of the region with the highest number of journeys. SNP councillor Kenny McLean said questions needed to be asked after the results of the grant's second tranche of funding were announced earlier this week, while Gordon Matheson, the Labour council leader, said he was surprised by the results.
Lothian Buses, the biggest beneficiary of the grant, announced a £2.5m order yesterday for 10 Volvo 7900 hybrid buses which run on diesel and electric power and are expected to reduce fuel use and carbon emissions by 30% compared to conventional vehicles.
The council-owned company has been given £750,000 of public money, while National Express Dundee, which is also expected to buy 10 low-carbon buses, has been given £500,000. Only one firm in the west of Scotland, Henderson Travel, has been included in the grant and will be given £87,000 for one vehicle.
The first phase of the grant saw £4.3m given to companies to purchase 48 vehicles, 14 of which were bound for the west of Scotland.
However, it emerged yesterday that First Glasgow, which operates more than half the bus services in the city and last year was given nearly £1m from the Green Bus Fund to purchase 10 vehicles, had not applied for the latest round of funding.
Mr McLean, who represents Partick West, said: "As well as benefiting the local environment, with lower emissions, and helping passengers by introducing clean, new buses to city routes there would be an economic benefit to Scotland. Alexander Dennis are to build the fleet of new buses for Dundee, following similar work for Lothian Buses last year.
"Questions have to be asked, as this appears to be a real opportunity missed.
"We will work with bus the companies to ensure Glasgow does not miss out on similar schemes in future."
Mr Matheson added: "It is a surprise that no companies in Glasgow are involved in this tranche of funding.
"We are one of the largest bus cities in the UK and although bus travel is itself a sustainable form of transport, we need to see much faster improvement of fleets in order to ensure that Glasgow leads the way."
A Transport Scotland spokesman confirmed there were no bids for the Scottish Green Bus Fund Two in the Glasgow area.