A number of staff have raised concerns about recent changes to the bus services to and from campus both in relation to the new U1 route and the new prices announced by First. These concerns are naturally shared by our students.
I asked the Managing Director of First, James Freeman, to attend a meeting at which he could explain the background to these changes and the serious issues raised by the University community could be fully aired.
The President of the Students Union and other colleagues were also present alongside Councillor Mark Shelford, B&NES Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment.
The meeting was extremely frank on both sides of the table but approached in a constructive manner.
All of us recognised the importance to the University community, our immediate neighbours and all those who visit our campus of ensuring that the bus services remain sustainable, efficient and commercially viable for the operator.
Mr Freeman outlined the challenging commercial context in which First are operating and provided a rationale for the new prices, the U1 route change and the introduction of the new U10 service.
He accepted that the communications by First around the recent changes had not been well handled for which he apologised and that the messaging around ticket pricing was not sufficiently clear or informative.
It was pointed out that neither First’s website nor the mobile ticketing app made clear that staff as well as students could benefit from the concessionary fares offered to students on production of a valid staff photo ID .
This has been addressed by First who have also taken steps to remind their drivers that all the ticket options available to University of Bath students are also available to staff.
First have published a new announcement on their website which provides further detail.
Concerns were also discussed over the location, accessibility, information provided and safety aspects of specific bus stops. These aspects of the service are the responsibility of the local authority (B&NES) rather than the bus operator (First), and Councillor Shelford agreed to keep the new routes and locations under review with this in mind. If you have any feedback or personal experiences you’d like to share please contact First by emailing Bath-Uni.email@example.com
With the start of the new academic year imminent and the inevitable extra pressure this will place on the Unibus service, a follow up meeting has been scheduled for week 2 i.e. mid October.
I will let you know the outcome of that meeting.
In the meantime, if you have any further comments or questions, you can contact First directly by emailing Bath-Uni.firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor Steve Egan Vice-President (Implementation)