By Alex Welsford |
Falmouth and Exeter’s student community was in outrage on Thursday evening, as a screenshot of what appears to be a leaked email made the rounds on social media.
The email, pictured below, details changes in the way that First Bus Kernow will operate from the 1st September, including an end to the £1 subsidised bus fares for university card holders.
According to an online petition started by Kurt Ruby, a Labour councillor from Penryn Town Council, the move “will make it much more expensive for the average student to procure sustainable travel”.
The petition goes on to state that the announcement “completely contradicts” the climate emergency declarations made by Falmouth and Exeter universities earlier this year.
The issue was first brought to light by the Falmouth and Exeter Liberal Democrats society, in a Facebook post, in which they call upon the universities “to remedy this mistake as soon as possible”.
A “cross-society campaign” comprised of members from “all the political societies” has sprung up overnight, with organisers coordinating via a Facebook group chat.
In screenshots leaked to the Anchor, one group chat member notes that the changes will mean “keen beans will be punished and lazy layabouts will be rewarded”.
This is due to the fact that the £50 monthly bus pass, mentioned in the leaked email, would have a negative financial impact on students using the bus five days a week, compared to the existing £1 fee.
“It punishes poorer students…”
An anonymous source involved in the campaign released a statement this morning to the Anchor: “It appears that these changes are going to result in increased prices for the vast majority of students who rely on buses to get to lectures.
“It punishes poorer students who will have to buy tickets in £50 bundles instead of the cost being spread out over time, or they will face higher fares still. Those on accelerated courses, or who have to stay on campus beyond the 24 weeks of lectures are also punished with the annual cost being far higher than it would have been under the previous set up.
“As the Universities have both declared Climate Emergencies it seems illogical to punish those who wish to use public transport for their commute.”
“When showing prospective students around the uni, we pretty much always tell them about the £1 bus…”
FXPlus have released an FAQ, in which they state that the money “generated through parking fees is being used in its entirety to provide a free month’s travel within Falmouth and Penryn (including Penryn Campus), a bundle of 20 days travel within Falmouth and Penryn, or a bundle of 10 days travel across the whole of Cornwall.”
This money was previously used to subsidise the £1 tickets, something which is still being used to advertise to new and prospective students, according to a student ambassador from Falmouth University who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of losing their job:
“When showing prospective students around the uni, we pretty much always tell them about the £1 bus, especially when on the Penryn campus. This seems to be a big ‘selling point’ for a lot of students because the campus feels isolated without the cheap bus prices, and now it feels like false advertising to have told everyone who is coming in September that this will be the way.
“Lots of Woodlane campus students choose to stay in Glasney accommodation because they know they can get the bus for £1. Now, for obvious reasons, these students will try and opt for accommodation closer to the Falmouth campus. So they’ll probably have to look for student houses, which puts even more pressure on the town and its resources”.