University News: Rail and bus fares hike leaves students late for lectures and strapped for cash

FIRST ESSEX BUS - FOR USE WITH COMMUTERS STORY
A First Essex bus. Photo: David McKay

Several student commuters to the University have been voicing their dissatisfaction with the price of rail and bus tickets, and the quality of the services, as it has left a lot of them out of pocket, with many surmising that they’re not getting value for money, and some even late for lectures.

At the start of 2018, Greater Anglia instituted a price hike of 3.4%, their biggest rise in fares since 2013 saw a price hike of 3.9%.

First Essex also instituted a price hike, but the percentage of the price hike has not been included on their website. It is clear, however, that prices have risen, as a student’s season pass (three months) now costs £160.

One student who voiced her concerns over the high price said how it cost her £100 a month to get the bus from Chelmsford, and that she spent over 4 hours commuting, and the delays in bus times caused by the level of congestion in both Chelmsford and Colchester have made her late for lectures, and has meant her skipping some classes altogether.

Another, who commutes by train from Ipswich, spoke of how they spent £60 a week (£15 day). He went on to say that given the quality of the services available from Greater Anglia, this was unfair and not worth the money, going on to say “I might as well buy a car get it insured and drive in. In fact, I will, it will be more convenient and cheaper.”

We have contacted First Essex for comment, and a First Essex spokesperson said:

“We aim to keep fares as affordable as possible, but occasionally we need to make changes to reflect the rising costs that we face as a business.

“Travel by First Essex still offers great value for money and we continue to offer a lower price for many tickets purchased via the mTickets app, in comparison to tickets purchased from the driver, so that we can speed up bus boarding times. Research by the business shows that boarding the bus is 75 per cent quicker if customers switched from paying with cash to mTickets.”

We also contacted Greater Anglia, but they did not respond.

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