Council bosses have revealed plans which put the ‘FreeCityBus’ service in jeopardy in the latest round of cuts to hit the city. The scheme launched in September 2008, approved by the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority and Bradford Council's Executive offered a free bus service to key locations around the city centre – including Bradford College.
The service, which carries students, staff, commuters and shoppers between destinations in the city centre, has proved a success since it was started in 2008 by Metro and Bradford Council. The scheme makes it fast, easy and reliable for people to get to their destinations, whilst actively encouraging commuters to leave their cars at home.
Students from Bradford College Students’ Union have gone into battle with Council chiefs in a bid to save the service that students have come to rely on. The ‘West Yorkshire Transport Plan 2011-2026’, outlined priorities for transport across West Yorkshire, made no mention of the ‘FreeCityBus’ in Bradford City Council’s consultation document.
Mohammed Munawar, Vice President of Bradford College Students’ Union said: “It’s disappointing the Council have not committed to keep the services as part of their long term plans. The free bus serves both Bradford College and Bradford University helping many of the 35,000 students in Bradford get to classes on a daily basis. The bus is a lifeline for many of our students who wouldn’t be able to get into College without it.”
Students’ Union Vice President Mohammed Munawar continued: “The recent Government decision to remove the Education Maintenance Allowance has come as a devastating blow to students in Further Education and the removal of the Free City Bus in Bradford would have a further negative impact, particularly on the very poorest students.”
Bradford College Students’ Union have been encouraging students to sign a bus ticket petition to show the Council why they should commit to keep the bus.
Nikita Novikovs studies Advertising at the College and said, “I study full time and also have a part-time job to support myself. I use the free bus to travel home safely at night and without it I wouldn’t be able to afford to get home. The Council say they want to improve safety in Bradford, so they definitely shouldn’t be getting rid of the free bus.”
It’s not just students who are angry about the potential loss of the service. Students’ Union campaigners have been travelling around Bradford on the free bus whilst they still can, talking to passengers about the campaign.
Mohammed Munawar concluded: “It’s great to see that so many non-students are also behind the campaign. A whole range of people in Bradford use the service and have been signing our petition to show support.”