One of the best ways to explore Glasgow is by foot. The center of town is laid out on a grid, which makes map reading relatively easy. However, some of the city's significant attractions, such as the Burrell Collection, are in surrounding districts, and for those, you'll need to rely on public transportation or a car.
Glasgow has an extensive (if somewhat confusing) bus service run by the privately owned First Group. The buses can be embarrassingly litter-strewn by the end of the day, and routes tend to run between east and west or north and south, with almost all buses coming through the city center on busy thoroughfares such as St. Vincent, Hope, Argyll, and Sauchiehall streets. Service is frequent during the day. After 11pm it is curtailed on most routes, but some (for example, 40 or 62) run all night long (at least on weekends), although there is a premium put on tickets. Typically, one-way (single) fares are about £1.80, and for £3.75 you can use the buses (after 9:30am) all day long with few restrictions. A weeklong ticket costs £16. The city bus station is the Buchanan Street Bus Station. The "Traveline" number (tel. 0871/200-2233) gives timetable information (but not fares); you can also log on to www.firstgroup.com.
"FirstDay" Bargain on the Buses -- For £3.75, at time of writing, you can buy a FirstDay ticket that allows you to hop on and off buses run by the main bus company all day long. The ticket is valid daily from 9:30am to midnight. It's sold by drivers. For more information, check www.firstgroup.com.
By Underground & Suburban Train
Glasgow's Underground, which in a nod to the city's American cousins is officially called the Subway, offers a 15-stop circular system linking the city center, West End, and a bit of the Southside. There are no stops east of the city center. During the day there is generally no more than a 5- to 8-minute wait for trains. Trains run on longer intervals on Sunday and at night. The one-way adult fare is £1.10. Alternatively, you can purchase an all-day Discovery Ticket for £3.50 or a 20-trip ticket booklet for £19. The underground runs Monday to Saturday 6:30am to about 11:30pm and Sunday 11am to about 6pm.
The Transcentre (local ticket sales only) at the St. Enoch underground station, two blocks from the Central Station, is generally open Monday to Saturday from 8:30am to 5:30pm, but it closes early on Wednesday. On Sunday, the hours are 10am to 5pm.
Glasgow and the region have the largest train network in Great Britain after London, operated by the private franchise holder First ScotRail and the quasi-public body now called the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT). Local train services to both Central (upper and lower levels) and Queen Street (lower level only) stations run as frequently as every 10 minutes or so during the day to destinations in the West End and on the Southside. Service is less frequent after the evening rush hour, and the system shuts down around midnight. While extensive, the trains are not cheap by European standards. A typical round-trip fare is £3 to £5.50.
For families on an excursion, the Daytripper ticket is excellent. For £17.50, two adults and up to four children (5-15 years old) can travel anywhere in the system (including broad swaths of Ayrshire) by suburban train, the underground, most buses, and even a few ferries. For one adult and two children, the fare is £9.80.
The main SPT switchboard is tel. 0141/332-6811. Hours are Monday to Saturday 9am to 5pm, or visit www.spt.co.uk.
Metered taxis are the same excellent ones found in Edinburgh or London: the Fast Black, which you can hail or pick up at taxi ranks in the city center. Alternatively you can also reserve one by calling Glasgow Taxis Ltd. (tel. 0141/429-7070). Most taxi trips within the city cost between £6 and £16. A surcharge is imposed for late-night/early-morning runs. There are also Glasgow Private Hire cars, but they cannot be hailed. Call tel. 0141/774-3000.
Glasgow, in reality, goes a long way toward encouraging car use with several multistory parking lots offering parking prices cheaper than public transport tickets. But traffic at times is absolute murder. Metered street parking is available, but expensive. Some zones in residential areas are marked PERMIT HOLDERS ONLY - your vehicle may be towed if you lack a permit. A double yellow line along the curb indicates no parking at any time. A single yellow line along the curb indicates restrictions, too, so be sure to read the signs for details of limitations.
If you want to rent a car, it's best to arrange it in advance. But if you want to rent a car locally, most companies will accept your foreign driver's license. All the major rental agencies are represented at the airport. In addition, Avis Rent-a-Car is at 70 Lancefield St. (tel. 0870/608-6339); Budget Rent-a-Car is at 101 Waterloo St. (tel. 0800/212-636); and Arnold Clark is at multiple locations (tel. 0845/607-4500).
Though bikes are not as widely used in Glasgow as in Edinburgh, most parts of the city are fine for biking.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.