16 sports societies affiliated with the Falmouth & Exeter Students’ Union have called for it to provide better transportation options.
The groups cover a range of activities, including football, surfing, climbing, volleyball, American football, hockey, sea swimming, tennis, rugby, and lacrosse.
Members require transportation for fixtures, regular sessions, and trips, some of which take place across Cornwall.
The SU currently has one 12-seater minibus, purchased recently, for every society to share.
However, the groups noted that this minibus does not have enough seating capacity for larger teams and argued that it has failed to meet high demand, leading to an over-reliance on car sharing.
The societies said that such frequent car sharing “is contributing heavily to the carbon footprint of the universities” and clashed with their pledges to reduce emissions. Multiple minibuses, they said, “would be able to significantly reduce our carbon emissions”.
Car sharing has also been logistically difficult for the groups, “with drivers constantly dropping in and out of trips, meaning you have to kick people off a trip with very little notice”. Fuel payments have “proved a huge pain, with passengers struggling to get cash or simply forgetting”, putting “too much pressure on drivers”.
They “have also found it takes up a lot of valuable time that we could be dedicating to our studies at uni or into organising our societies”, spending “hours” each week arranging trips that should have been straightforward.
“We don’t expect you to buy us a fleet of minibuses because it’s clearly a huge waste of money and resources”, said the societies, instead proposing the use of minibuses outside of the universities.
This arrangement would involve students being insured to drive minibuses hired by the SU upon request, and the groups argued that it could be implemented with “very little difficulty”.
A spokesperson for the SU told the Anchor: “We are aware of the difficulties that student groups are having with transportation, and we appreciate this being brought to our attention by a number of groups. We’ve had some really positive conversations with student groups this week to work on some short-term solutions while we try to put in place longer term solutions as an organisation to structural issues with transport in Cornwall. The SU’s minibus is of a size and weight that it can be driven by many of our students without the need for an additional driving licence, which is why it is a 12-seater. Unfortunately, hiring external minibuses and ensuring that our student members are appropriately insured to use them is a complex process, but we are committed to working with student groups to help them to find solutions to transport issues.”