Tell the University and First to fix the buses!

In January 2023, in response to feedback collected from students from the University of York Students’ Union, the University of York and First bus made considerable progress to address concerns around overcrowding on University bus services. This was essential for both students and staff at the University, who rely on dependable public transport for commuting to and from campus, and for safe and accessible movement across the city of York.

However, over the summer break, an extensive range of changes were introduced to the University bus services for the 2023/24 academic year.

When these changes were proposed to elected representatives from the University of York Students’ Union in March 2023, they were formally opposed. The Students’ Union was then categorically excluded from the decision-making process that led to these changes being implemented, meaning that commercial interests for both the University and First Bus were considered before the fundamental needs of the service users, the majority of whom are students.

These changes included a restructuring of the free services that our University community relies on for movement between campuses, combined with fare increases to all staff and student tickets, which have left many more financially exasperated than ever before.

Enough is enough. The University of York community deserves to have a bus service provision that they are able to directly input to, to ensure that it works for their best interests. To date, University of York students have not had the chance to contribute to the changes that have been made, other than having the concerns that they have raised ignored.

Our Concerns:

  • Fair Fares: The simultaneous implementation of fare increases has hit students at a time when the cost of living is soaring. First increased their University of York prices at a rate of 22-26%, whilst inflation sat at 6.8%, so the increase is unparalleled. This financial burden impacts students’ abilities to focus on their studies and maintain their well-being when additional pressures have been put on transport costs. We believe in the importance of fair fares that make public transportation affordable for all members of the University of York community.

  • Right Routes: The changes to the bus services have led to inconsistencies when trying to access free services between campuses, making it difficult to attend classes on time. Reinstating free service areas on the 66/67 should alleviate this. More recent changes have meant that some areas of campus that were initially serviced by bus routes have now been inconvenienced, such as Halifax College. We need reliable and well-planned routes that cater to our needs, ensuring that we can travel seamlessly between campuses and across the city. The students and staff of the University should be able to directly contribute to the design of these routes, to ensure their service meets their needs.

  • Students First: Students make up the majority of service users on University buses, so they should be at the forefront of decisions about the bus services. Elected Students’ Union representatives have spoken out against the changes, citing student dissatisfaction with the proposed services, and they were categorically ignored. We believe it is imperative to put the needs and well-being of the University of York community, especially students, first.

Our Call to Action:

Ultimately, the University of York signed off on the changes made to the First Bus services for this academic year, and so we are strongly urging the University to reconsider these recent changes, and prioritise the needs and well-being of the University of York community. The University is well-known for its commitment to providing a conducive environment for learning and research, and reliable and accessible public transportation is a fundamental part of that commitment.

We also encourage First Bus to engage in a dialogue with the University and its key stakeholders, including student representatives and staff, to find a solution that ensures that our transportation needs for the 2023/24 academic year are met, so that we can rely on First Bus as a dependable service provider.

In summary, we request a full review of the recent changes made to the bus services for the 2023/24 academic year. We believe that with your cooperation and understanding, we can find a solution that benefits all parties involved and maintains the high standard of service that we have come to expect from First Bus.

Join Us:

To support the Fix First campaign, we invite you to sign our petition and engage with the campaign on social media through @yusuwellbeing, @yusupresident and @yorkunisu on Instagram.

Together, we can make a difference and ensure that our voices are heard to create a brighter and more accessible future for the University of York Community.

Letter Campaign by
Hannah Nimmo
York, United Kingdom