GENUINELY wasnae me, m'lud, but a friend of mine once got a lumber on the night bus home from Glasgow to Coatbridge.

It turned into a long-ish term relationship too, and I'm sure she wasn't the only one to pick up more than she'd bargained for on the service.

Ah, the night bus. A stalwart of every young person's clubbing years and now soon to be a relic of the past.

My immediate reaction, on seeing that First Glasgow was planning to scrap late night bus services, is not fit for print. And that was after at least two double takes to make sure I'd read it right.

Glasgow bus operator to end night buses in the city

Let's look at the bigger picture: Glasgow is trying to reinvigorate its night time economy. Trying to encourage more folk out to enjoy the pubs, clubs, gigs and hospitality on offer.

It's trying to regenerate a town centre ravaged by the pandemic and suffering from the proliferation of out of town malls and a lack of workers returning to the office.

Glasgow City Council has made Glasgow the first of four cities in Scotland to implement a low emissions zone (LEZ) banning certain cars from the city centre and ensuring that a decent, affordable, well functioning public transport offering is more vital than ever.

And we're trying to position our city as a go-to for the music scene, which famously does not operate office hours. 

What's top priority then? Being able to make it home at night.

Time was that the night bus was an absolute rammy. When I used to take it home in my student and early adulthood years it was merely an extension of the club. People would smuggle on booze and a pizza slice; someone would be playing tunes on their phone.

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If you were on your way home from a night out and in a well refreshed state yourself then the night bus hullabaloo didn't affect you. If you were merely trying to get up the road from your work then it's easy to see why any other mode of transport might be preferable. 

What alternatives though? I wanted to go to the cinema on Sunday night but I'm currently cat sitting and the car I'm borrowing while I'm here (it's residents only parking) is not LEZ compliant. The subway finishes at 6pm. I have an injury and can't walk the required distance home.

Do I trust the bus to turn up? I do not. Take a taxi? That's a risk. 

The Scottish Government has given out 415 interest free loans to help finance new electric hackney cabs and there are temporary exemptions for cabs but drivers of taxis and private hires are still expressing concerns via their union, Unite, about being able to afford to operate in the LEZ. 

Post-pandemic, the number of taxi drivers in the city hasn't recovered.

There are times that calling a cab feels like a gamble with time and space. I recently tried to take a taxi home at about 2am and one of the operators who answered the phone shouted - actually shouted - "We don't have any taxis" before hanging up. Not so much as a hello. 

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First Glasgow is a private company. It exists to make money and it says it's not making money on the night bus route. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy though. 

Young people can't used their under-22 cards on the night bus, nor can other travellers use their travel passes. The buses were off for a long time due to the pandemic and have only been running for a year - not long enough to get folk back into the habit.

Buses are so unreliable on certain routes that some customers have been lost, not to return without serious persuasion. 

Functioning public transport is vital to a functioning city. A lack of it affects the lowest paid, women and vulnerable groups - groups for whom we should really be doing better, particularly as Glasgow claims itself to be becoming a feminist city. 

I was home in Sydney in April and noted that in the five years since my last visit the council had built and was operating a fully functioning tram system.

One travel card takes you on frequent light rail, heavy rail, bus and ferry services. I realised I had very quickly become spoiled when I went for the train from Bondi Junction to St Martin's Place and I was impatiently fuming to find it would be a six minute wait. Six minutes and it felt egregious. 

The Glasgow Green Party has now set up a petition to ask First Glasgow to reverse the decision and have we ever, as a city, been more embarrassed in our lives? (Yeah, OK, don't answer that)

But come on, it's mortifying. To have to set up a petition? To ask a private firm to please, please, pretty please give us the transport system we need? 

There needs to be a better solution to this. The Scottish Government does not have the power to intervene in the provision of bus services but it does have the power to finally enact the bus franchising powers in the 2019 Transport (Scotland) Act to allow the local transport authority - Glasgow City Council - to step in. It's overdue time for Scottish ministers to do so.

How many times are we going to have this conversation about Glasgow and its shabby transport system? Make this the last time, please, before we're humiliated any further.