Brighton students protest end of free bus service

Posted On 18 Sep 2017 at 5:00 pm

Almost 5,000 people have signed a petition protesting about the end of a free bus service between Falmer and the University of Brighton’s Varley Park halls of residence.

The previous service, operated by the Big Lemon, ran between the halls of residence at Varley Park and the campus, and also between campus and town.

However, the service from campus to Varley has been replaced with a new subsidised service operated by Compass Travel – and the free service between campus and the Old Steine scrapped altogether.

The University of Brighton says it has made the changes because the cost of the free service was “prohibitive”.

But students, some of whom say they chose Brighton to study in partly because of the free bus service, will be left forking out several hundred pounds a year to use the service now.

The petition, signed by both students and staff members, says: “The loss of this service will cause a ripple in the education, attendance and finance of most students.

“Using public transport is a luxury, rather than an alternative, for a lot of students. Maintenance loans sometimes hardly cover most if at all the rent that we pay, the £3 for a day pass could be the difference between a meal for a student or getting to lectures.”

And Amy Jaiteh, the student union’s vice president of welfare and campaigns, said: “The main concern is for students living up at Varley Park halls as they are fairly isolated and only one B&H bus serves them.

“We would estimate it is about a 30-40 minute walk, and the quickest route is through a woodland area which is our main concern.”

A spokesman for the university said: “The annual cost of maintaining the existing free bus service provided for students by Big Lemon has become prohibitive.

“Following a review of usage and a competitive tender process the current service is being replaced by a new subsidised bus service between the University’s halls of residence at Varley Park and the Falmer campus. This route is not currently well-served by public transport and a single fare will cost just £1.

“All of our campuses in Brighton are well-served by public transport and student fares and discounts are available. We will continue to monitor the situation and to work with service providers to ensure that our students have access to affordable transport.”

  1. Vinegar Tom Reply

    Whinging snowflake students complaining about having to pay their way in life, just like everybody else has to…

    • A Student Called Lily Reply

      You clearly have absolutely no idea what is going on with the university and the system that is taking place. They are taking away an already perfect system are throwing in a different service that only benefits the more wealthy students at a different campus.
      You have a seriously deranged idea of what students are like because the majority of us ‘whinging snowflake students’ know what it’s like ‘in the real world’ and pay our dues. So get off your high horse and don’t judge the students before you know the situation.

  2. Hazzer Reply

    What about using the cycle lanes that were put in between the university and brigthon at the expense of the few over charged council tax payers still left in brigthon.

    • Charlotte Reply

      What about students with a disability? I have spoken to multiple students who are now stuck, simply because they have chosen to go to university to in an attempt to better themselves. Student loans don’t cover rent in Brighton, let alone general living costs and travel. And due to the nature of full time study, you can’t work full time. The Lemon was a free bus service that meant if students couldn’t even afford to eat, they could at least make it to their lectures! There are plenty of students who have a disability that also cannot afford the new expense of dishing out around £500 for a year of studying. You expect them to cycle to Uni?

      • Gerald Wiley Reply

        1. Those that are disabled get free bus passes.

        2. Good for students wanting to “better themselves” – but who should subsidize this “desire” – the students themselves; the universities; or those that aren’t going to university as they have to get real job?

        3. The Uni couldn’t afford the increased price Big Lemon wanted to provide the bus service. Perhaps the new electric buses are not economical to run – but of course eco-warriors don’t worry about boring things like money. Who should subsidise these uneconomical vehicles?

        4. An annual pass for Brighton Bike Share is only £72 per year.

    • philosofy stuedent Reply

      Aint dat da troof mate init

  3. John Smith Reply

    Funny how the people at Universities telling us something is affordable are on middle management salaries of £60K, or senior management salaries of well over £100K!

  4. Simon King Reply

    Poor hard done by students!
    Gotta pay their bus fare?
    I can’t afford to use the bus, but I have to, to get to my doctors at a cost of £5 I can ill afford on £55pw!
    I just wish I could have the same lifestyle of Brighton’s students, of plenty of partying, takeaways and booze?
    This will of course be rebutted by the student population! But tell that to the people who live next door to student lets!

    • Pork Formula Reply

      The special snowflakes are used to mummy and daddy paying for everything. These children will just have to start paying their way in life, like everyone else has to

      • A Student Called Lily Reply

        ‘Special snowflakes’? Seriously?
        Get a grip before calling students ‘children’ and thinking we all have no idea about ‘the real world’.
        We’re all taking a chance, getting a degree, paying extortionate prices to get through it and just trying to set the uni straight with keeping the Big Lemon going.
        Don’t make assumptions about the student life. Stop putting all students into one circle and assuming they are all the same.
        Give us the benefit of the doubt for fighting for something we believe in.

      • Holly Reply

        That is totally unfair of you to say. My monthly rent for my student property is more expensive than my parents rent, my student loan is £5000 a year and whilst I do work during the weekend when I’m not studying throughout the week, I still barely have enough money left over after food and bills. Can you now imagine what £5 a day will do to my budget? Can you at least try and see why some people relied on that free bus?

    • Annoyed Student Reply

      £55/w is a luxury and more than a student could ever wish to dream of

  5. Marian Wilde Reply

    Students today have it too easy they need to get off their backsides and earn a bit of money when they are not studying or just give up with the studying altogether.

    • Sulis Minerva Reply

      Yeah, not like the old days when students got grants and had their fees paid for them! What are students today complaining about fees of £9250 per year and debts of £20k or more when they leave university with little to no chance of buying their own home before they are 40. Older generations had it hard being able to start families, buy houses, buy cars, at least students today won’t be stuck paying mortgages, just really high rents. At least they won’t be getting pregnant earlier because they can’t afford to settle down, the world is over populated anyway. At least they won’t have the hassle of owning an car, bicycles are better for the environment anyway.

    • Annoyed Student Reply

      “Young people today should give up their life ambitions if they are not willing to work the couple hours spare a day when they are not studying.”
      Do you understand how pathetic you sound? We need a break and to relax somehow, whether or not we use free transport.

  6. Sammie Reply

    I receive the highest student loan available it covers my rent and bills but leaves me -50 a month. I slave away working three jobs, some students go out all the time sure hut for a lot of us that’s simply not a something we can do. This year I am at univeristy in Falmer 4 days at week for 2 hours at day costing £12 a week for 8 hours of lectures. The univeristy doesn’t have enough accommodation for everyone on the campus and charge us 9000 a year for 8 hours in uniberisty so the least they could do is keep the free shuttle going.

    • Joe Stains Reply

      Unless you are studying for a worthwhile Degree such as medicine, Science or engineering, then give-up your Degree and get a full-time job. If you are reading for a ‘Mickey Mouse’ Degree such as art, , English, fashion or ‘media studies with contemporary African dance’, then people have no sympathy for you.

      • Joe Reply

        Sometimes, it’s less about the degree you have, but more about the transferable skills you gain from it. I know of people who graduated with an engineering degree and yet can’t find employment within that sector. Your point is not only cruel but completely invalid.

  7. UniStudent Reply

    I’m a student and worked at least 20 hours a week whilst at uni (Currently on full time placement as a Software Dev). I was originally at a different university where the halls were much further away than the Varley Park > Moulsecoomb route and we didn’t have any buses available.

    I partly blame the SU, time and time again they complain about uni management without actually dipping into their own deep pockets, jacking up prices of the Freshers Events, charging 50p per transaction on card payments and non-stop advertisement on their social media just shows how greedy and selfish they are, they could easily front half the cost.

  8. ROLIVAN Reply

    Oh well there goes 5000 Green Party votes I wonder if Dr Lucas will temedy it?

  9. Robert Sandrine Reply

    Pay up and shut up.We all have to pay .One day when you all grow up you will have to pay Council tax,Nic,income tax etc Use your paid for by us cycle lanes!

    • Kate Bloomingfellow Reply

      You do know that the money for the Lemon is funded by us right

    • Student Reply

      How can people be so so ignorant and rude. We are spending our time studying to allow us to be able to afford to pay our way in life. Yes, we get a loan but that is given to us based upon whatever our parents earn. We are not seen as individuals we are seen as people living off of someone else’s income – when this does not always mean that our parents CAN help us even if they want to. I live with my partner who isn’t a student so I do infact pay council tax, pay rent and attempt to pay my way with a loan AND a job that doesn’t cover the bare minimum living costs. Buses ARE a luxury for students and cycling from the centre of town out to Falmer isn’t not an easy or even necessarily safe journey. The lemon bus was offered to us and was made available to us for this reason for many years. Don’t be so narrow minded and patronising when at the end of the day most students are working their arses off in attempt to pay their way

  10. Sammy Reply

    To everybody with their sarcastic attitude towards students:

    I am a student nurse living in moulsecoomb. I study in falmer. I do not receive a lot of income as my course is funded for by the NHS. Due to the NHS paying for my tuition, they give me very little money to live off. This means I have to work. I have ‘got off my backside’ and got a job. My job just about covers my rent. Let alone my bills and food. The lemon bus was our way of travelling to campus without having to fork out £3 for a bus. Yes that may not seem a lot but I’m sure a lot of people who have commented are full time workers or part time workers who have the money to spend on public transport.

    As the article says, £3 on the bus could be a meal for me. So no not all of us live off the bank of mum and dad. Get your facts right before you start making assumptions. Never realised how un supportive the Brighton community is. Take a look at yourselves and imagine if you were in my position.

  11. Emily Woods Reply

    I feel a lot of the main points haven’t been put across in this article, so I’m guessing a lot of the adults that are moaning about this probably don’t understand everything.

    • Joe Stains Reply

      Well why don’t you explain it to us grown-ups then? If you can…

      • A Student Called Lily Reply

        How about not being so rude and condescending? Just be appreciative with the fact that all of us are fighting for something we believe in.
        Do you not understand that this bus service they are getting rid of is FUNDED BY STUDENTS??? But they University are trying to make that little bit more money and leaving it next to impossible for most students to get to uni?
        Don’t be so rude and come back when you actually have an argument.

    • Sarah Reply

      Funny that the independant just predicted the opppsite and said that careers in art would be the only jobs not taken over by androids. So yeh med, science but not too sure about engineering.

  12. UniOfBrightonStudent Reply

    I think some of these comments are extremely rude and patronizing. I am a third year student, and my loan does not cover my rent. I have a part time job which covers the rest, and I can barely afford to eat or go out. The free lemon bus was the only benefit, considering I am at the falmer campus and it’s extremely difficult to walk or even cycle there everyday. The comments saying “students shouldn’t complain they have it easy” I find extremely offensive, as I am now struggling to find the extra £60 a month to actually attend my education I’m paying out a lot for.

  13. Annoyed Student Reply

    Ah, yes. I’m so glad that £9000 a year I pay goes to the bigwigs and not to getting me to and from university. My tuition did not rise by an extra £250 this year as anticipated, however I would have gladly accepted this if it meant the free service could continue.
    For all those who have evidently gained their degree, or who didn’t go for one, it’s not as easy as ‘don’t go to uni unless it’s medicine’ as many employers now use degrees as a signpost for commitment and ability.
    It’s also fair to point out that there was a time where university was £3,000 a year. My high school teacher paid off his loan within 20 years as his entire debt was around a year’s salary for him. As it stands, I’m looking at being in upwards of £80k of debt when I leave, with little hope of ever entering a job where that would be my salary.
    I know plenty of students who work to earn money, yet after rent has been taken out of their account, are still in the minus for weekly expenditure. That’s those that are able to get a job in the first place (let’s not forget the high unemployment numbers and distinct lack of jobs that dont require a number of years of experience beyond our reach).
    We more than pay our way in life. Most of us scramble to fit in as many hours of work over summer as possible just to afford to live, let alone this ‘drinking, partying and takeaway’ lifestyle everyone seems to generalise onto us.
    But anyway, so what if we want to go out and celebrate? So what if one night we scrape the money together for a take out? We seem to be the scapegoats – barely getting by in an economy shattered by the older generations, being set up for a life of debt, being told a job is the answer go our problems but being ‘pesky’ or ‘parasitic’ whenever we take a job that ‘should have gone to a local’.
    We are not the cause of your problems. You are. Stop trying to use every little thing we do as an excuse to blame us.

  14. Emily Woods Reply

    By ‘adults’, I mean condescending idiots, that clearly have no idea what they’re talking about 🙂 think we are allowed to be angry at something that WE pay for being taken away. But thanks for your unnecessary inputs.

    • Joe Stains Reply

      You’re welcome. Again, would you like to explain to the adults and grown-ups here what points you feel haven’t been put across in this article?

      • Emily Reply

        My use of the word adult was sarcastic, as you clearly think you’re above anyone who goes to university and are standing up for themselves, which is something we have a right to do. You quite clearly think we are immature children that get spoon fed. Not true. I’m 22,and have a job to get my way through uni. One main point is that to make a lecture for 9am,you have to get the 8am bus. This is constantly full, due to not only workers commuting but also Sussex Students, as the only bus is the 25. Many of times the 25s at this time in the morning drive past students as it’s too full, thus we miss out on lectures. I’m sure all the workers who also get this bus will be complaining soon when there’s no space for them either.

        • Joe Stains Reply

          When you children prove that you do not require adult supervision due to 1) playing loud music at antisocial hours and 2) flytipping rubbish when you go back home to mummy and daddy at the end of Term, then grow-ups will begin to take you seriously.

          Years ago when I was a student, we had to make their own way to university campuses; most telling that you special snowflakes are now complaining that your subsidised transport is being taken away from you and that you’ll have to start paying your way in life (just like adults and grown-ups have to…)

          • Emily Woods

            I feel sorry for you and your small minded brain. Not all students are like this. Like to see your response to staff members petitioning against this. Your whole argument is unraveled.

          • Emily Woods

            Also, your response had nothing to do with mine. Yet again focusing only on the money point.

          • Annoyed Student

            Part of out student loan goes toward funding this service. We literally pay for it ourselves. I dont understand what is difficult to understand about this?
            Not all students play music in anti-social hours. By 10pm I’m normally in bed, reading a book. I also don’t see the need to fly tip – our home is well maintained, as are the majority of student homes.
            I don’t understand why we seemingly have to be completely model citizens for ‘adults’ (who are currently spitting their dummies out over something that does not effect them) to take us (bear in mind, we are also adults) seriously.

  15. Amelia Reply

    I am a student actually, doing a degree in media studies and contemporary african dance. all the adults here are bittre because they have not gone to university like people like me.

    why should we have to start paying for something like this, we need to spend our money on books and stuff to help us pass the degree.

    some of the adults here should think about wot they are posting be causing trash talking students WE ARE YOUR FUTUR

  16. ROLIVAN Reply

    So what has Cllr Druitt got to say for himself.He has got himself a lovely money majing business off the backs of crowdfunding and Government Grants.

    • The Dirty Pants Cowboy Reply

      You’d have to ask his partner, Green Party Councillor Alexa Phillips….

  17. Emily Reply

    Also I’d like to argue that a lot of members of staff are against this, so doesn’t quite fit the stereotype of lazy students who don’t pay taxes. Sorry.

    • Annoyed Student Reply

      I have actually seen members of staff use the lemon bus, so whilst they may be able to afford it, free travel between campuses benefits more than just us lazy, good for nothing scroungers’ with Mickey mouse degrees!!!

      • Brightonian pedestrian Reply

        I cant get why your so peeved about losing a free ride in a bus that smells like a backstreet chippy!surely you heard of a train or as you would have been about a cyclelane,this really xxxxxd me off when i learned myself and thousands of locals had to pay for!it supposed to encourage young and old alike to use those 2 things we all have,to pedal,you got it all to yourselves and you still moan at having to get out of bed early you now have no excuse for being late for lectures

    • Joe Stains Reply

      Erm, but you don’t pay Tax, do you? Grown-ups do that for you. Who do you think your pays for your rubbish to get collected every week?

      • Annoyed Student Reply

        I pay income tax at 20%. I have paid rent at home in order for my family to be able to afford to live where they live whilst they aren’t in employment (which they are now in, so feel free to keep your opinions to yourself there). Part of this rent has gone towards council tax.
        Why are you so bitter?

      • Annoyed Student Reply


  18. UniStudent Reply

    What I find funny is the amount of people commenting in the early afternoon. If you are off working so much how come do you have so much time to comment on a article?

    • Amanda Grayson Reply

      Some workers have a day’s off; did you realise this? Do try and keep up….

      • Charlotte Reply

        As a student who also works as many hours as I can around university, I actually don’t have ANY days off. I still can’t afford the bus to get to my lectures without getting myself into yet more debt.

    • Joe Stains Reply

      Well, people who go out to work have this thing called ‘a day off’…

  19. Kim Reply

    If a uni has two campuses in different locations it should provide free transport. However I think it shouldn’t provide a free bus to town. I walked everywhere when I was at uni, I got a bus once when in my third year my dissertation deadline was looming on the horizon. The uni should justify where students fees are spent and be more transparent. Students are seen as a cash cow now when they should be seen as investing in the countries future.

  20. David crespin Reply

    Jeez, some nasty comments here, I say bring the big lemon back, I had seen it before but didn’t realize what a good job it was doing. Young people have not got things easy today, do not be rude and call them snow flakes when they are just complaining about changes that disadvantage them.

  21. Tom Case Harcourt Reply

    There seems to be a lot of jealousy aimed at the students getting a free bus. It was paid for by the university, so hardly affecting anyone else.
    I didn’t like the big lemon purely for the smell. If the students get a free bus ride to take them to their lessons, it’s no skin off my nose.

  22. Fishwife, 49 Reply

    Sorry, flowers – I’ve been offline all day. What have I missed?
    (Scrolls to top of comments)
    Ooh, this looks like a fun thread! FIGHT!

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