Brighton and Hove Buses, who provide bus services in Brighton, Hove and the surrounding areas, have released a new ‘M-Ticket’ for students.
Students’ Union President, Frida Gustafsson says the ticket, which was released on September 15, is a direct result of campaigning by the SU and herself. She also expressed her concerns over “last year’s crammed buses and expensive fares”.
A spokesperson from B&H Buses confirmed the new ticket was released “following requests from students and the student union at both the University of Sussex and University of Brighton”.
The ticket will allow students to buy both Network Savers (which allow travel within and beyond the city) and ‘City Savers’ (for travel within Brighton and Hove) for a period of 28 consecutive days; they cost £52.00 and £49.00 respectively.
The daily cost of a new 28-day ‘Network Saver’ is therefore around £1.85 and a ‘City Saver’ will average at about £1.75 a day, about half that of normal day tickets which cost just over £3.00.
Before the change, students had to choose between 1 day, 7 day and 90-day tickets which may not have suited their needs.
The ticket can only be bought through the ‘M-ticket’ app, which can be downloaded for free onto a smartphone, tablet or similar device and allows students and other passengers to buy and use tickets digitally.
A B&H Buses spokesperson has told The Badger: “The new ticket saves at least 30% compared to the standard adult prices…
“…It also saves time as it avoids having to buy individual tickets each week and can be bought in seconds on your phone…Using the mobile app also helps speed up the bus for everyone as it enables quicker boarding at stops.”
B&H buses increased their fares earlier in the year, with a centre-fare now costing £2.20, up by £0.20. According to Brighton and Hove News (online), the price increase was part of a plan to increase revenue and encourage passengers to buy advance ‘M-tickets’ to speed up boarding.
With regards to the fare increases and their impact on students, B&H Buses had this to say: “Our range of student tickets offer discounts of over 25% on normal prices, without any subsidies from the universities…
“…We introduced the 1[-]day student SAVER two years ago following requests from students and it has become our most popular student ticket.”
The SU President, Frida Gustafsson, has talked to The Badger about the new tickets saying: “it is my first win with the Bus Company”.
Cheaper bus fares is a promise that Ms Gustafsson made in her SU election manifesto and slogan. She organised meetings with B&H buses and convinced them that a 28-day saver ticket would be easier for students to commit to than the 90-day tickets due to a lesser upfront cost: “I know I’ve never been able to afford a 90-day saver – even though it saves you money in the long run I’ve never had £123 to spare to actually be able to buy one” she said.
When asked if the new tickets were a good deal for students she replied: “The difference in price is slight, but hopefully it will be a first step towards making sure students get a better deal when using the bus services in Brighton.”.
The new tickets come amid reports of more frequent and improved services to and from Brighton’s university campuses. Frida Gustafsson believes this is “the result of students speaking up about their dissatisfaction with the bus services”.
B&H Buses have updated The Badger on the new services, saying: “We have made significant enhancements to the service in recent years including the creation of the 25 X … and the 50U…
“…Despite this, there have been times where buses have been full… As a result[,] we are putting three extra buses into service on routes mainly used by students. This will mean more frequent services on the 23, 25 & 25X during term time…
“…We’re also running more N25s in the early hours of the morning during term time on Mondays to Saturdays so that they run every 7-8 minutes.
When asked about the increasing prices of bus fares overall the SU President said: “I think the B&H Bus Company is becoming increasingly aware of the dissatisfaction among students with the increasing ticket prices…
“…I am already working to set up a bus services survey for this autumn and will be working to create an SU policy for cheaper and better commuting to go to referenda this autumn.
“…when we speak up we can make a hell of a difference.”.