The time spent commuting to and from university is under huge scrutiny amongst the community at the moment, especially as a result of late bus services.
This edition we have been in contact with the founders of an emerging Students’ Union campaign which is sparking a lot of conversation amongst the regular commuters across Brighton. This interview illustrates the processes and procedures that led to its formation, as well as drawing attention to the platform that’s been built to allow others, like our Badger readers, to get involved and speak-out for this relatable cause.
Can you begin by outlining what the campaign is protesting for?
Anushka: We are protesting the punctuality, frequency and timings of the B&H bus routes to University.
The buses just don’t deal with the high demand of passengers, especially students in the morning and every hour. We want to stop students being late due to multiple buses driving past them as they try and commute to university.
How did you form the group as individuals?
Anushka: Frida brought us together; she knew Talia and I were passionate about the subject so we met to talk through our ideas and create a Facebook Page. Once we had that set up, Irem contacted us through our page and joined our team. Since then we have created both a Twitter and an Instagram account for the page.
Have you had people reached out to you as a result of this campaign, and if so, how?
Anushka: Yes, we have! We met Irem on our Facebook page and we have heard stories about buses being late or not turning up on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
We’ve been able to use our social media platform as a way for students to share their frustrations. Facebook has been an amazing way to start polls to find out how many people this is affecting, as well posting the bus timetables for those who need them.
Do you feel like this campaign has started to make the desired impact?
Irem: We have great support of students. My friends keep telling me how they couldn’t take the buses every day and say that they’re supporting the campaign.
When I mention the campaign to people who haven’t heard of it before, they get excited and start telling me about their stories.
So, it isn’t just really on social media. People ask questions about the campaign, want to know more about it and do something/support in some way and speak up.
And because they know that we’re also a bunch of students who work with the SU (Students’ Union) makes them want to get involved more because they know that we’re on the same ship, and we have the same problems, so we want to solve those problems as much as they do.
Anushka: We have had an amazing social media response so far from students and the local community. Unfortunately, Brighton and Hove buses have not replied when we have reached out to them. We hope that as our campaign grows Brighton and Hove Buses will realise how big this issue is, and that they have a responsibility to make change.
What is in-store for the future of this campaign?
Anushka: We hope to get some meetings scheduled in the next few weeks, we will be posting the details on our social media accounts. Before we created Late Again B&H, Frida took to Twitter and managed to lobby for more relief services on route 25.
We want to continue to lobby Brighton and Hove Buses and get relief services on all other routes to university! We want to make sure that buses turn up to their stops and turn up on time! We want to make sure students aren’t left out in the cold this winter waiting to get home after a long day at University! We don’t want to be late again B&H Buses!
I also conducted a separate interview with Talia Fogelman, where I asked her to present her own additions to this piece. She replied:
Talia: The bus issue is one that doesn’t only affect students but every citizen in Brighton. If a company has a monopoly on a service within an area, then the very least they can do is provide a reliable service. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case in Brighton. If you ask for over £400 a year to access the service and boast about profits, then you need to be prepared to invest those profits into a better service.
We’re not asking them to invest millions into a new system we’re asking them to provide the service they have promised and, in the future, to improve to create less of a strain and problems for their paying customers. They’ve done it before and they’ll do it again.
I would say this is a ‘by the people for the people’ protest above anything. While yes, I want more 23 buses because that’s the route that stops near me, I also want to know how others are being affected.
I want to be steered by others and that’s what I think sets this campaign aside. It comes from a real place of wanting to fix things, and when Anushka and I spoke for the first time, the place it kept coming back to is how it was affecting students with disabilities, chronic pain, sleep disorders, anxiety etc.
Something has to give. Essentially, I’m angry and fed up of a big corporation providing subpar services while also charging exorbitant amounts for this service.
I am just plain tired.