Student discount for blue star busses
Given that the campus is fairly isolated from the rest of Southampton it seems unfair that the busses should be so expensive. Bluestar busses have a monopoly on the way students travel (of course walking and cycling are an option) but compared to other places the price is not competitive. Other university towns have a student free service or student discount. There is a shuttle to Winchester that is free yet the rest of bus travel is extortionate.
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I have raised this issue with the University's transport manager. There are plans for Unilink to move away from using the 'Key' cards and passes and doing all tickets through an app. This might mean that the prices of bus tickets could potentially decrease slightly, although this would not be until September.
Whilst I do understand your frustrations as money is always tight for students, I have done some research into the prices, to present a case to lobby the University and Unilink to lower them and found that actually the bus prices are very competitively priced. According to the 2017 TAS National Bus Fares Survey, the average price of a day bus ticket in England, Scotland and Wales is £4.92 (This was taken from a sample of 1,000 fares). This is notably more expensive than a day ticket on a Unilink bus. (The whole survey can be found here: http://taspartnership.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/5th-TAS-National-Fares-Survey-2018.pdf)
I have previously explored the option of free shuttles. The problem is that this would undermine the Unilink service, meaning that it would not be commerically viable and therefore unable to run. This would be a significant loss to the City. In some places it is easy to have a University shuttle as there is just one campus, or because the University campus is so excluded. With Southampton, there are many different UK campuses (NOCS, Boldrewood, Avenue, Highfield, WSA, UHS) and so it would be impossible to run one shuttle without running on to them all. Aside from the financial implications of this, the problem would then come in where to have the pick up point from as students live and study in many different areas of the city.
Fortunately, Southampton does not have the problem of being excluded from the city as it is pretty well connected and all campuses are fairly central to the city centre.
Of course, I understand if you're coming from London Southampton is likely to seem not central with pricey bus tickets. However, compared with other University's, it's in a pretty good position.
Having said this, we are always looking to improve things for students so I will pass this feedback on.
All the best,
Vice President Student Communities, 2018-19.
Friday 29th Mar 2019 4:10pm