One of the UK's richest men has called for SPT to be disbanded in response to a report suggesting the transport partnership is best placed to organise a bus franchise in the city.

Sandy Easdale, co-owner of McGill's Buses reacted to a story in The Herald detailing findings from the think tank Centre For Cities that named SPT as the most obvious choice to coordinate bus services.

Mr Easdale and his brother, owners of Scotland's largest independent bus company, have been consistently firm in their opposition to the suggestion franchising would improve Glasgow's transit system.

A report, Miles Better: Improving public transport in the Glasgow city region, which was launched in the Scottish Parliament by Centre For Cities chief executive Andrew Carter, states that Glasgow's economy is underperforming by £7 billion annually due to a lack of fully joined up transport options for residents.

READ MORE: Economist says Glasgow's transport system makes 'European city officials weep'

However, Mr Easdale said: “I would like to see his Mr Carter’s figures about this this mythical £7bn loss for Glasgow.

"Does he think bus franchising will make up the difference?

"SPT should be disbanded as they are not giving taxpayers value for money.

"It’s a redundant institution out of step with modern transport."

SPT (Strathclyde Partnership for Transport) is one of seven regional transport partnerships in Scotland and is responsible for running the Glasgow subway and several specialist bus routes.

The £7bn figure comes from a Centre For Cities report from 2021 by Paul Swinney, Director of Policy and Research at the think tank.

That report states: "Conservative estimates suggest that Manchester is furthest from its productivity potential, represented by the dotted line, of any city in the UK at £15 billion, followed by Birmingham at £11 billion and Glasgow at £7bn."

This uses data taken from the ONS Regional gross domestic product (GDP) reference tables and the Census 2011.

As detailed in The Herald, Mr Carter spoke at an event at Holyrood organised by Labour MSP Paul Sweeney to discuss the findings of Miles Better, commissioned by grassroots transport campaigners Get Glasgow Moving.

It recommends franchising of the type most recently seen in the development of Greater Manchester's Bee Network and says the city should act immediately when new powers in the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 come into force on December 4.

An SPT spokesperson said Glasgow's existing bus services are "not delivering" for passengers in the city and surrounding areas with fares at above inflation prices.

She said: "SPT is developing a Strathclyde Regional Bus Strategy (SRBS) to look at the future of bus as it is abundantly clear it is currently not delivering for passengers or wider society within Strathclyde.

"Initial findings of the SRBS have highlighted sustained patronage decline, shrinking network coverage, congestion induced delays, and above inflation fare increases, to be amongst the key issues and this has been set out in SPT’s Case for Change report.

READ MORE: McGill's boss accuses activists of 'wacky ideas' and Putin-style takeover moves

"Phase 2 of the SRBS will consider all options to address such issues, including the provisions set out in the 2019 Transport (Scotland) Act, with the intention to present a preferred way forward in March 2024 – including the proposed operational and funding model, and timescales for delivery.

"SPT welcomes the input and views of all interest groups and parties as we work towards developing and delivering the SRBS to ensure the bus network better serves the people and communities of the west of Scotland."

In a strongly worded response to SPT previously, Mr Easdale had said "wacky" transport campaigners were encouraging officials in a Putin-style takeover of the bus system.

He further suggested that SPT Chief Executive Valerie Davidson "has had her head filled with nonsense by wacky activists and now she’s planning a power grab by her organisation which has sucked on the government teat for years."

Paul Sweeney, the Labour MSP who hosted the Holyrood launch of Miles Better, said SPT should be "enhanced" and supported calls for franchising.

He added: "The Strathclyde Partnership for Transport must be enhanced, not abolished.

"SPT has faced 27 years of downgrade of its executive planning powers after the Tories broke up Strathclyde Regional Council in 1996, but the answer to producing a world-class transport system does not lie with abolishing SPT – it is to strengthen SPT to bring about an integrated public transport system.

"Control of the farebox is a critical element in any coherent regional transport system worldwide and SPT is best placed to act as that controlling administrative authority as a franchised bus system is established, which I fully support Greater Glasgow pursuing when bus franchising powers are finally commenced by the Scottish Government in December.

"The Centre for Cities report recommends that building out from SPT is the most logical and efficient approach as opposed to starting a regional transport body from scratch."