Exclusive: The shuttle bus between George Square and King’s Buildings will no longer be free from September

Thanks for nothing!

The Edinburgh Tab can exclusively reveal that Edinburgh University will no longer cover student bus fares between the central George Square area and King's Buildings from September 2019.

A high-ranking source has informed The Edinburgh Tab that in place of the free service, the university will purchase Lothian Buses "ridacards" to sell to students at a discounted price.

EUSA President, Eleri Connick, has confirmed this to The Edinburgh Tab, commenting: "Our new model proposes discounted nine month student ridacards, removing the upfront cost of £420 and allowing students to spread the cost over the academic year."

Eleri further explained that the decision to cancel the free shuttle service was in response to students being "dissatisfied with current transport support services."

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EUSA President Eleri Connick

The decision to end free student travel between buildings was finalised at a University Executive meeting, which took place last Tuesday, 14th May. However, Edinburgh University had planned to keep the decision tightly under wraps and it is unclear when any official announcement was supposed to be made.

Commenting on the matter, Eleri, who is the only student representative who sits on the University Executive, told The Edinburgh Tab: “For a number of years, the student body has told us for a variety of different reasons that transport support to different campuses, accommodation and placements has been dissatisfactory.

"To date, different schools have had different policies and support in place for transport, and this has led to an uneven system. Due to this, the University appointed, with our support, travel consultants to commission a proposal on what transport system could be enacted that would be equitable for all students, future proof for our ever changing student population and progressive – one that would think about student life holistically.

"The model that has been decided to go forward with from September 2019, is one which we think will benefit a vastly greater number of students. The new model proposes discounted nine month student ridacards, removing the upfront cost of £420 and allowing students to spread the cost over the academic year. In addition, students will be able to access a deeply discounted (£40 instead of £90) JustEat annual bike membership."

Eleri added: "The implementation of the new model will however, see the end of the free KB shuttle bus; with these funds being diverted to support the newer, progressive model. We do recognise that this will affect students who use the KB shuttle service. However, we have taken the decision not to oppose the new model because it will support a far greater number of students.

"Currently, we are seeing more and more students living out with the Bistro Square area, in Leith and New Town, whom have to pay daily to get buses to King’s Buildings and this doesn’t include our commuter students, students on placements, and students based at Easter Bush, the Western General and the Royal Infirmary, who also pay significant amounts to support their travel costs. We also believe students having access to discounted ridacards will allow students to fully engage with the wider Edinburgh community by allowing full travel across the city, rather than just between two campuses – for example, assisting in making the Peffermill facilities more cheaply accessible to all students.”

Responding to their decision to cancel the shuttle bus, a University of Edinburgh spokesperson told The Edinburgh Tab: "We have been working closely with an external transport consultant to review transport provision across our five campus areas. We have sought to devise affordable and sustainable solutions that are fair and equitable for our students.

“While we recognise that this will affect those students who currently use the King’s Buildings shuttle service, the money used for this service will be redistributed to benefit a far greater number of students across the whole University. From September, all of our students will be able to take advantage of subsidised prices for Lothian Buses’ Ridacard and significant discounts on the Just Eat Cycle hire scheme.”