Whilst the decision by First to reverse the route changes which had been implemented at the start of this academic year was positively received, students and staff who regularly use the bus will be aware of continuing concerns over the quality of the service.
In the short term and with the exam period upon us, First are working hard on a day to day basis to ensure their operation remains robust. The University is in direct communication with First during this crucial period.
Feedback mechanisms such as the Facebook group ‘unibusfeedback’ and the previously publicised email address Bath-Uni.firstname.lastname@example.org can provide a real time understanding of issues as they emerge and as a way for our community to raise any concerns direct with the service provider or make public comment on individual experiences. Please do make use of these channels of communication as they provide First and the University with valuable feedback and perspective and are being actively monitored.
Looking beyond the here and now, the University, together with the Students’ Union, is continuing to engage constructively with First to ensure all concerned have a thorough understanding of the requirements of the University community with regard to the scheduling, routing and frequency of bus services to and from campus. These discussions are also addressing the challenges First face as a commercial provider of these services. The purpose is to establish a firm basis for a sustainable bus service moving forward.
We of course recognise that input from the student and staff community must inform these future plans. In developing a way forward, systematic work is taking place to gather input on passenger experiences and patterns of usage across the University community.
All those involved in these discussions are well aware that our students and staff require a reliable, consistent and good quality bus service which can be delivered cost effectively and that much collective effort is needed in the short, medium and longer term to achieve this aim.
Whilst this work is ongoing, I did want to take this opportunity to wish all those currently involved in exams the very best of luck.
Professor Steve Egan