Students have hit out at “unfairness” and “deceptive behaviour” as ‘student singles’ across Sheffield increase to £1.20 just as many leave campus and return home for the Summer.
Stagecoach and First both increased the popular student fare, valid with a Ucard and a feature of many university cities across the country, from £1 at the end of May and the price hike has now been fully introduced.
It comes amid fare increases across many popular routes in Sheffield, with First saying they are encouraging travellers to book ahead and Stagecoach blaming tough economic conditions.
Dorothy Curtis, a first year Economics student, echoed the unhappiness of some students at the way the fare hike has been introduced.
“I think it’s very bad form, to do this in such a sneaky way, without telling anyone – they could have very easily put a notice up on the buses,” she said.
“Any other company would get hammered for that kind of deceptive behaviour.”
Alison Teal, the Green Party councillor for Nether Edge and Sharrow Ward who has been campaigning on this issue, also criticised the move.
Speaking to Forge, she said: “It now costs £3 to get from Nether Edge to town. Residents have pointed out to me that, with just two people, it’s now cheaper to get a taxi from the bus stop.
“Better public transport allows people to choose to leave their cars at home, reducing congestion for all road users while improving dangerous air pollution and road safety.”
A fare hike was also tabled last year but Dom Trendall, then SU President, negotiated for the companies to reconsider.
The fare had been £1 since 2014, when it was increased from 80p to some outcry at the time.
Holly Horton, a first year Geography student, pointed out that it is a 20% increase, and that few students carry around 20p coins, saying it is “very unfair and inconvenient for many students”.
“It also is unfair on next year’s freshers who will be trying to find their way around Sheffield for the first time,” she added.
Becky Quirke, a first year Biochemistry student, added: “I don’t think it’s fair at all considering a student single isn’t that much cheaper than a regular ticket from ranmoor to the SU anyway.”
Responding to the concerns, a First South Yorkshire spokesperson said: “On 27th May 2018 we introduced new fares across South Yorkshire to encourage more customers to purchase tickets in advance of boarding the bus; our student single ticket increased to £1.20 and we offered five tickets for £5 via our mTickets app.
“We agreed with Dom Trendall the student president in 2017 to freeze the price of our £1 single ticket, with a view to reviewing this fare in May 2017. Our student fares have been mainly frozen on our mTickets app, as the weekly ticket remains at £8 and the 5 for £5 offer equates to £1 per journey.”
John Young, commercial director at Stagecoach Yorkshire, said: “Students fares have remained very low in Sheffield for many years. The current offer remains very attractive and is one of the best travel deals anywhere in the UK.
“We face a challenging economic environment due to rising operating costs, changes in lifestyles and cuts to public sector spending on buses.
“The money from fares from all our customers is reinvested into improving services so that we can continue to offer attractive, convenient and safe travel options.”