MARK Smith has charted some of the issues facing Glasgow City Centre (“What I discovered from my return to Glasgow city centre”, The Herald, April 23). However, he omitted to mention another significant problem.

As it happened, I too was in the city centre on the same day as Mr Smith, although I was in the Argyle Street area from mid to late afternoon. Within the space of half an hour, I witnessed the following: a drunk or drugged-up cyclist on the pavement in Union Street stopped beside me and almost collapsed into me, semi-feral youths wandered through the pedestrian area of Argyle Street shouting, a violent argument took place amongst young men at the corner of Glassford Street and Trongate, and when passing three youths on the Glassford Street pavement, one reached out to grab me. I have also recently read reports in the newspapers of violent fights occurring in St Enoch Square and at the place known as the Four Corners.

And judging by the comments of a friend, the situation in the evening is even worse. It is a number of years since I myself have been in the city centre on a Saturday evening, but even then, there was a palpable air of menace with much public drunkenness. I have lived in other cities and neither then, nor on holiday visits to foreign cities, have I felt the degree of discomfort that I have felt in Glasgow. Years ago, police foot patrols were much in evidence and laws associated with breach of the peace were rigorously enforced, but no longer.

Then we have the large number of seemingly professional beggars, the fact that the Avenues Project is proceeding at a glacial pace, and the paucity of decent late-night public transport – I live on a prime commuting railway line, which decades ago had a service of three to four trains per hour, but which is now down to one per hour, with the last train leaving at a frankly ridiculous 10.45pm. And the last Subway is not a great deal later.

The Scottish Beer and Pub Association has just called for Glasgow to appoint a "nightlife tsar" to try to revitalise the city's nightlife and in a letter to your newspaper (April 25) the chief executive of the company which owns Glasgow Airport writes that the city must "work even harder to sell Glasgow as an attractive destination". However, until the above issues are resolved, I fear that any attempt to revive Glasgow will be doomed to failure.

R Murray, Glasgow.

* MARK Smith paints a picture of Glasgow city centre, particularly Sauchiehall Street, which is very much in line with my own experience of recent visits. The only issue I would take with his comments is his reference to paying £11 for parking. I don't know where he lives but would be very surprised if he is unable to access the city centre using public transport, even if it involves a short car journey from his home.

In six decades living and driving in the central belt of Scotland, most of it in the Glasgow area, I can count on my fingers the number of times I have had to pay for parking in Glasgow.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.


I'M sure we all want science to advance for the benefit of mankind but learning that driverless buses will be carrying out test runs between Edinburgh and Fife is a step too far for most of us at the moment (“UK’s first full-sized autonomous bus takes to Scots roads”, The Herald, April 25). Yes, initially a driver will be "on hand" within the bus to oversee the research being applied and to take over in an emergency, but having such test vehicles running on main Scottish motorways and using the Forth Road Bridge may well be courting disaster: perhaps even an accident waiting to happen.

Already, some of us have heard of failures in self-drive cars in North America and I suggest that new legal problems might well arise as soon as the first of those new buses becomes totally driverless. Who, for example, will be legally responsible for the control of the passengers? And who will take control in case of an accident?

Recently the driver of a normal rural bus was prosecuted when, driving through the village of Freuchie in Fife, the movements of the vehicle caused an elderly lady to become unseated and thrown off her feet: the woman later died.

The point is that we have legal mechanisms for prosecuting drivers but surely there can be no way that we can bring a self-driving bus to court in order to prosecute it.

I suggest that updated legislation for those driverless buses is brought in prior to their being allowed on our roads ... with or without back-up drivers.

Archibald A Lawrie, Kingskettle, Fife.


A FAMILY friend has a small occupational pension from a job she gave up in 1988. Last week she was notified of its annual increase and being a bit concerned, phoned the pension administrators.

She was told "we've been inundated with phone calls since Tuesday: you need to phone HMRC".

On doing so she was advised that "the increase in your occupational pension when added to your state pension takes you into a new tax bracket. As we can't tax your state pension, we've applied the new tax coding to your occupational pension."

Her only problem now is to decide how she'll spend the net 2p per month increase resulting from the annual increase in her occupational pension.

John F Crawford, Lytham.


AS the correspondence on micturition and compost heaps (Letters, April 19, 20, 21 & 23) dribbles to an end, understandably to the relief of some, as a postscript to one of the terms, I go back to the early 1980s before the break-up of what was then Yugoslavia, when after lunching well I informed the young lady behind the bar that “I would like to pay”.

She obligingly summoned a waiter who then escorted me to a door labelled “WC”.

To avoid further confusion I thanked him warmly, and paid later.

R Russell Smith, Largs.