Environmental campaigners have reacted angrily to the news that delegates to the UN climate talks in Glasgow will receive free public transport while they’re in the city, while no such offer will be available to any Glasgow residents. 

COP26, the UN climate talks, will take place in Glasgow on November 1st-12th. Delegates to the conference will include civil servants from governments, world leaders, diplomats and scientists. The Transport Plan, published on Friday, confirms that they will receive a smartcard that provides free access to all modes of public transport in Glasgow.

Gavin Thomson, transport campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“It’s outrageous that delegates in Glasgow will receive free public transport while residents get nothing. This is going to be an enormous conference, which will likely result in delays for residents. What’s more, delegates will receive a smart card which provides access to every mode of transport. This is streets ahead of any device available for residents who have to pay full fare.

“Between the UN, the UK Government, the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council, surely they can get this sorted. If it can be done for delegates, it can be done for everyone. Free public transport should be made available for everyone in Glasgow for the first two weeks of November.

“Transport is Scotland’s biggest source of climate emissions. Taking action on climate has to mean improving our public transport, making it more reliable and affordable while taking cars off the road. COP would be a perfect opportunity to make public transport more attractive, by making it free. Instead, Glasgow’s transport will be just as expensive as always and even less reliable due to the scale of the conference.”

COP Transport Plan

“All COP26 registered attendees and volunteers assisting with the delivery of the event will be provided with a free travel smartcard. The smartcard will provide holders with free use of public transport from their accommodation to the venue for the duration of the conference. The bespoke COP26 branded card will allow all registered attendees to choose their mode of Public Transport and not be limited to only one option i.e. bus or rail.”



The Free Our City campaign is pushing for free public transport for everyone in the Glasgow City Region.



Friends of the Earth Scotland is:

* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation

* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland

* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 73 national member groups, and 5,000 local activist groups.