‘It literally saves lives’: Students outraged that LUSU axe the Sugarbus
‘A really scary time for students, especially women and this should be a top priority for the Students’ Union’
The Sugarhouse, run by Lancaster University Students’ Union, has announced that it’s cancelling the much loved Sugarbus, a free bus transporting students from Sugar back to campus, due to “cost saving measures”. This service was one of the main safety selling points of Lancaster University for both students and parents.
Many Lancfessions have been posted over the past week where students are sharing their outrage and confusion about why LUSU have made this decision. One post said: “So Sugar’s ‘fun without fear’ agenda seems legit… until you’re a fresher in a brand new city, drunk and in the dark trying to find your way back to campus on your own because there’s no Sugarbus”.
We reached out to students and asked their opinion on the Sugarbus being axed and how valuable this service was.
‘The Sugarbus was a real selling point for me’
Katie told The Tabthat because she came from a city with lots of transport links, she felt “concerned” on how she would get home after a night out in Lancaster. She said: “The Sugarbus was a real selling point for me. Coming from a city where I have lots of transport options I was quite concerned on how I would get home safe on a night out.”
Katie also has a disability, therefore the concern about how she will get home is more prevalent. She said: “I also have a disability so the idea of being able to just get a bus straight home was a real reassurance to me.”
‘It’s the safest way to get back to campus and important to the welfare of our students’
Grace said that while she understands that cuts need to be made, she is disappointed that LUSU decided to cut the Sugarbus first.
The idea of students paying for the bus could be a solution to save it. She said: “It’s the safest way to get back to campus and important to the welfare of our students. Even if the bus had to be paid for, the fact that it picks you up right outside The Sugarhouse alley is really important to prevent students from walking to the bus station alone.”
With stories in the news reporting women not getting home safely, it’s more important than ever that the safety of students and women are a priority for the university and the Students’ Union. Grace said: “With everything in the news at the moment, it can be a really scary time for students, especially women and this should be a top priority for the Students’ Union.”
‘It is so fun bumping into your mates and catching up’
As well as the safety concern for the cancellation of the Sugar bus, Sarah said that she will miss the social aspect of the Sugarbus. She said: “It is part of the night out, it is so fun bumping into your mates and catching up with them! Really don’t think they should get rid of it!”
‘It just makes you question where the money is really going’
Georgia told us that she believes it’s “unfair” on freshers who are unfamiliar with the city and don’t know how to get around Lancaster at night. She found the bus very “helpful” as a first year. She said: “It makes you question where the money is really going seeing as Sugarhouse was closed for most year so you would think that there would be leftover funding.”
‘Cancelling the Sugarbus is not the way of dealing with a lack of funds’
Olivia spoke to us about how cancelling the Sugarbus is a major issue for students’ safety. She told us that other top ranking universities seem to be improving their safety measures but Lancaster is doing the opposite. Olivia said that axing the Sugarbus is “unbelievable” in the current climate, focusing on the tragic cases of Sabina Nessa and Sarah Everard.
But Olivia suggested a solution to this situation. She said that instead of getting rid of the Sugarbus, just charge students for a ticket into town which they can use as a return when going home in the early hours. She said: “This would also prevent the rushes/ crowds for buses at the end of the night. Cancelling the student bus is not the way of dealing with a lack of funds.”
‘It would be absurd to get rid of it, it literally saves lives’
Sam said that the Sugarbus was an important part of the Lancaster University experience, allowing students to safely get back to campus. They said: “The Sugarbus is a safe and free option that ensures all on-campus students can get home safely. It would be absurd to get rid of it, it literally saves lives.”
A LUSU spokesperson said: “Owing to the severe financial consequences of Covid and the subsequent lockdowns the Students’ Union has had to make some very difficult decisions about the services it offers and the Sugarbus was one of them.
“We have done everything we could to ensure that your nightclub opened this year. In the event of any further lockdowns or increased restrictions we would suffer severe losses if the Sugarbus contract had been renewed.
“The Sugarhouse prides itself in being the safest venue in Lancaster. We are listening to our members over this and will be exploring ways of providing a service.
“However, there is a significant cost involved in that and we will need to consult with students on how we do it in an affordable way.”
Names have been changed for anonymity