Glasgow’s subway is set for a top-dollar revamp as nearly £290 million is invested in its development.
All 15 stations on the city’s 115-year-old ‘clockwork orange’ have been earmarked for refurbishment using a £246m sum pledged by the Scottish Government. Strathclyde Passenger Transport is to add its own contribution to the pot, to the tune of £41.5m.
The city’s subway, which covers over ten kilometres, will see facility improvements including driver-less trains and a new ticketing system modelled upon London’s Oyster card scheme.
Work at Hillhead station is already underway and scheduled for completion this summer, while Partick (lower level), Kelvinhall and Ibrox are set for refurbishment before the 2014 Commonwealth Games. All modernisation work is expected to be complete by 2020.
SPT research estimates the plans could save up to £150m in maintenance and operational costs over the next 30 years.
Chief executive Jonathan Findlay hopes the new system will make Glasgow stand out amongst other European cities. He said: “I’m delighted that the Scottish Government has again shown great faith in SPT and its delivery of projects.”
Alison Murray, senior line supervisor at Hillhead Station, added: “I think staff are really enthusiastic about it. We’ve not had a lot of changes in the subway over the last 30 odd years if not more, and to now see the improvements coming to the station is great.”
However, the move has sparked a mixed response from locals in and around the city.
Glasgow resident John Gavin, 35, from Dennistoun said: “I think it’s a good idea because it does get used a lot. When I first moved here and saw there was a subway I immediately ditched the car. At the moment they look a bit old-fashioned, and they smell a bit.”
Charlotte Roberts, 20, from the West End disagreed. She said: “I haven’t really noticed a need for improvements. The improvement work at Hillhead at the moment has actually been a bit of a nightmare for commuters.”
Margaret McPhee, 59, from St George’s Cross added: “The Government should be pumping their money into improvements on the roads and getting jobs for young people. It’s a vulgar amount to spend in the current situation.”