Rip-off bus companies are bleeding us dry and nobody’s doing anything about it
Its either get the bus into uni or have enough money for food
Despite boosting their annual sales with a new contract in the Netherlands last year, Arriva is still hell-bent on increasing their prices and making students’ lives a misery. Despite making an annual profit of £373 million last year, students in Liverpool condemned to using the Arriva service are being charged £432 for the year.
Perhaps it wouldn’t be as bad if Arriva offered a brilliant service, but £432 for a bus pass which serves one of the busiest, most congested and most poorly-maintained roads in Liverpool with over-crowded, irregular buses is a pretty shit deal if I’m honest. You don’t have to be on the Dragons’ Den panel to give it a firm “I’m out”.
When comparing this extortionate amount to the rest of the UK, the Arriva bus service is truly put to shame. Trent Barton offer a student pass for students in Nottingham which costs £199, £233 cheaper than their counterparts in the north-west. It also offers a student mango card, giving users 25 per cent off the fare as well as discounts when topped up over £50. Students down south also face a better deal (which is something I never thought I would say). Even in expensive Bristol, you can get a pass for £171.
Of course plenty of bus companies other than Aviva has upped their prices in years, including Trent Barton and Stagecoach. Government cuts have left bus companies with a noose around their necks and unfortunately the financial loss is passed down to us. Of course, perhaps we would be more willing to put up with the increase in price if we felt the bus service was actually worth paying for. Arriva offers an incredibly shit service not only in Liverpool, but also my hometown Derby, with a lack of double-decker buses on the busiest routes and irregular services.
Universities cannot shy away from the fact they’re simply not doing enough to ensure students have affordable and reliable transport. Choosing which university you attend shouldn’t be dictated by which one offers a bus pass under £300 and your budgeting for the week shouldn’t include decisions like whether to get the bus to a seminar on Wednesday or be able to afford lunch.
Our university campuses are kitted out with Starbucks and Costas, but how the hell do our university leaders really think we can afford £2.80 for a very average coffee, when we can barely afford to get on the bus and get to campus?
When we talk about responsibility at university, an awful amount seems to fall on us, whether it’s sorting student finance, battling for accommodation, paying for over-priced halls and rent, organising meetings with tutors, checking online portals and emails, booking in career consultations or generally trying to make sense of what the fuck is going on. At what point can we pass a bit of this back over to the guys we are paying £9,000 a year? Because nobody should ever be paying that much money for a service which offers so little assistance or protection.