SCOTLAND'S national transport agency has said it lacks the powers to intervene in a decision by a private operator to scrap night bus services in Glasgow.

Transport Scotland would only say that it "notes" a controversial decision by company First Glasgow to end late night bus services in the city from July 31.

Meanwhile, the local authority said it was "very concerned" by the loss of the service and would be approaching Transport Scotland to attempt to identify a solution to the issue.

A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council said officials would be meeting with First Bus, the parent arm of First Glasgow, and said that "alternative ways" of running bus services are vital for the city.

First Glasgow announced on Monday morning that night bus services would stop at the end of this month after a year-long monitoring of routes found low passenger numbers.

READ MORE: First Glasgow is to scrap night bus service this month

The company said passengers numbers would have to treble in order to make routes financially viable.

A spokesman for the council said: "We are very concerned about the loss of the night bus service and the impact this will have on people who need public transport late at night.

"We do understand the commercial operators who provide public bus services are facing significant challenges but the decision highlights again the need to look at alternative ways of running bus services in Glasgow.

"We are due to meet with First Bus to discuss the decision on the night bus, and will be engaging with partners, including SPT and Transport Scotland, to identify what can be done to support the transport requirements of the night-time economy.

"More broadly, we will continue to work with public transport operators to support improvements to bus services in Glasgow. 

"We are also working with partners to explore the medium-to-longer term options for greater public control of the city’s bus network that could allow us to set routes, fares and timetables."

The decision has drawn cross-party political condemnation alongside concerns from anti-poverty charities and fears for the safety of women and vulnerable groups. 

The power to subsidise services sits with local transport authorities and Transport Scotland emphasised that the Scottish Government does not have the power to intervene in the provision of bus services.

READ MORE: Pressure mounts on First Glasgow to reverse night bus axe

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: "We note the decision taken by First Bus, which we understand is driven by low use of the service, coupled with the difficulties in recruiting bus drivers.

"We are aware of the importance of bus services and are committed, in conjunction with operators and local authorities, to improving services to ensure everyone has accessible public transport regardless of geographic location.

"There is a broad package of long-term investment in bus, including through the Network Support Grant, Community Bus Fund, and for bus priority infrastructure, together with the enhanced suite of options for local transport authorities to improve bus services according to their local needs, including formal partnerships, franchising and running their own bus services.

"Our own research shows that women and girls are being forced to adapt their own behaviour and change their travel habits in order to feel safe on public transport – which is simply unacceptable.

"The research makes 10 recommendations – and we are now considering how best to take these forward with transport operators and stakeholders to ensure our transport network is safer and more secure for all who use it. 

"This will include close engagement with bus operators."