In light of information about the changes to the bus services appearing on social media, we thought we would provide some information to help clarify the changes that are happening to bus prices. We are providing this update now to prevent the spread of rumours and clear up any confusion. The universities are separately communicating this information to their students directly in the run-up to and during Freshers.
For the last few months there have been meetings about the bus changes with a working group between Falmouth University, University of Exeter, FXPlus and the SU. The previous contract with First Bus which protected the £1 walk-on bus fare in exchange for a subsidy from the universities is unfortunately due to come to an end in September 2019.
The changes to the service were driven by commercial decision making by First Bus. Despite the universities wanting to protect the £1 fare, First Bus were unwilling to enter into a new contract which would allow it to continue. Instead, First Bus are wanting to move all transactions to their app and are therefore offering ticket bundles exclusively through the app. First Bus also set the pricing of these bundles to reflect their policy of having cheaper fares for those who use the buses more often and are prepared to commit to longer periods of use. This means that for some students, depending on how often you use the bus and whether you pick the right bundle for you, you could potentially see a reduction in your overall travel costs depending on how often you use the service.
Following discussions with the SU, the universities agreed to continue to invest the same amount of money into the bus service, ensuring students get the best deal we could achieve with first. This money is generated from the car parking revenue, so will continue to encourage sustainable travel amongst our students, in line with the climate emergency declarations. This takes the form of a free travel gift (worth up to £50, depending on which gift you choose) for every student which you are able to claim by downloading the app and registering with your university email, and then use the code sent to this address in the app (and please, please do claim your travel gift!).
The most important thing for you to do is to look into the bundles and see which gives you the best value and to claim your travel gift from 1st September. The SU is working with FXPlus to release a matrix which will help you to make the best decision for you.
We hope that helps and if you have any more questions, email email@example.com
The SU will be hosting a feedback forum on this subject after Freshers. If you would like to help, or give your opinion, please email Sarah Redman at firstname.lastname@example.org