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#CutTheCosts: Wiltshire College SU take on high bus costs

Monday 14-03-2016 - 14:51

Wiltshire students are campaigning against high transport costs after reports of some taking out huge loans to afford the bus passes that get them to college.

Welfare Officer Kieran recorded a video about Wiltshire College SU’s involvement in the #CutTheCosts Fairer Fares campaign ahead of assembling a group to take their bus to local transport hubs.

Living in a rural area, students are dependent on buses to get to the local FE College which has four campuses in the county. These journeys can take up to an hour and half, and services run neither frequently nor on time.

The students’ union surveyed students about annual travel costs and discovered that those arriving by bus spend an astounding average of £500 a year on bus travel.

Depending on where they live, the annual pass for a 16-18 year old student who must legally be in full-time education or training is either £495 or £625.

One consultation response said: “The bus company is very overpriced; £3.80 for a single and £6.10 for a return from Devizes. The interior is rarely/never cleaned.

“Buses are late a lot, run too infrequently (often every two hours) and not late enough for some people. The bus pass cost is too high as well - I had to take out a loan to pay it.”

The information gathered was used in a letter to local MPs Michelle Donnellan for Chippenham and Claire Perry for Devizes – who also happens to be transport secretary.

At the end of January the NUS Fairer Fares bus appeared at the College’s health and wellbeing event while students were asked further about their transport experiences.

Campaigners then set off for local bus and train stations where they filmed a short campaign video.

A council consultation around planned cuts to subsidised bus travel is now taking place, with the next step for Wiltshire students being to add their concerns to the process.

How have you been campaigning for Fairer Fares on your campus? Let us know campaigns@nus.org.uk

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