COP26: 5 ways to save time and money when the conference comes to Glasgow


As Scotland’s debt specialists, Carrington Dean is based in Glasgow, a city that is about to undergo some major changes, at least for the next few weeks. 

We’re now just days away from COP26, the global climate conference that will take place from the 1st to the 12th of November. The summit will see delegates from more than 200 countries descend on the city for two weeks of talks on future climate action. 

Now, you may be thinking that politicians, statisticians, and scientists discussing the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy doesn’t exactly sound like something that will impact your day-to-day life. Think again. 

COP26 will see an influx of more than 30,000 newcomers into the city, from Joe Biden to Joe Bloggs. This is going to cause serious disruption across the city, from road closures to price hikes. With that in mind, here are five tips for saving yourself time and money when the conference comes to Glasgow.

1. Plan your route

One of the biggest impacts COP26 will have on your life over the next couple of weeks is on your ability to get around the city. The arrival of high-profile visitors like Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Greta Thunberg, and David Attenborough will see parts of Glasgow shut down. 

Around the conference campus (in and around the Hydro), certain roads will be closed for the duration of the summit, while there will be temporary road closures in place as some of the more high-profile attendees travel to and from the city.

If the road closures weren’t bad enough, there has been talk of both bus and train strikes for the duration of the conference. While last-ditch talks with the relevant unions may have put a pin in strike plans, the influx of people into the city is bound to make transport routes busier than usual. 

So if you have places you need to be, whether it’s the commute to the office, picking the kids up from school, or visiting an elderly parent, make sure you plan ahead. The best place to keep up with the latest traffic and travel information is the Glasgow City Council COP26 site, www.getreadyglasgow.com


2. Work from home if you can

Right off the bat, it’s important to state that we understand not everyone has the means or the permission to work from home. 

If you’re in a manual job, work for the NHS, or are a key worker doing your best to keep the shelves stocked in a local supermarket, for example, then you’re going to have to find a way to get to work one way or another. In that instance, planning your route becomes even more important. 

If you work in Glasgow and you’re able to work from home, however, now might be the time to take advantage of that luxury. Road closures and public transport disruption will make certain commutes into Glasgow close to impossible for the next couple of weeks. Even if you are able to make it in, you could be adding hours on top of your usual journey time. 

If you haven’t heard any talk of your company making preparations for COP26, it might be a good idea to ask if you can work remotely over the next couple of weeks. That said, many companies around Glasgow (including Carrington Dean) will be willing to take a flexible approach to home working for as long as the conference lasts. 


3. Avoid expensive taxi surcharges

Surge pricing for taxis and Ubers has been the bane of many a night out. We all know the feeling; frantically trying to get home on Hogmanay, finally managing to book a car, only to discover that a journey that normally costs you a fiver has jumped up to £25. 

The surge pricing model is based on supply and demand. If a particular area experiences a sudden rush of demand for cars, the prices for those cars will start to go up. This happens most often around the Festive period. And during COP26, it might as well be Christmas every day in Glasgow. 

Road closures, increased pressure on public transport, and a busier city overall, will see the demand for taxis and Ubers soar, causing prices to increase across the city, but particularly in and around the conference campus in the West End.

If you’re going out, make sure you have the most up-to-date public transport schedules to hand. And if you know you’re going to be out late, try arranging a lift beforehand so you don’t find yourself in the situation where an expensive taxi is your only option.

4. Delay that overnight stay

When 30,000 people descend upon a city, you need somewhere to put them. Accommodation around the city has gone nuts as a result. 

Glasgow has demonstrated its creativity when it comes to housing our new residents, whether that’s locals opening their homes to delegates from far-flung corners of the world, or gigantic cruise ships sailing up the Clyde to be transformed into floating hotels. 

But when these kinds of measures are being taken into consideration, you just know traditional accommodation is a no-go. Airbnb’s across the city are going for thousands of pounds per night, while three-star hotels are charging more than the Ritz in London for a three-night stay. 

So if you were thinking of treating yourself to an overnight stay in the city, or were planning on visiting for a few days from elsewhere, it’s probably best to wait for things to calm down a bit.


5. Avoid certain bars and restaurants (unless you’ve booked ahead)

As you’ll know if you live in Glasgow, Finnieston is one of the most popular districts in Glasgow for cafes, bars, and restaurants. People from all over the city often decamp to Finnieston, and the West End as a whole, at the weekend, to grab a cup of coffee or a nice meal.

For the next few weeks, however, hungry delegates and politicians will be filling up our restaurants and bars. While that might be great news for hospitality staff and owners who were hit hard by the pandemic, it will make going out much harder for us. And Finnieston is bang in the middle of the red zone.

Because of its proximity to the Hydro and the wider conference campus, Finnieston restaurant and bar owners are seeing delegates block-booking like never before – this November, “Every day’s a Saturday.”

If you already have a booking for a restaurant or bar in the area over the next couple of weeks, that booking should be respected by the venue. But if you were hoping to wander over to the West End for a quick drink or a bite to eat, you will probably end up disappointed.

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