Bradford College Students are celebrating after winning their battle with council chiefs to save Bradford’s FreeCityBus, after fears the free shuttle service would be axed in the latest round of cuts to hit the city.
The service that students have come to rely on, carries students, staff, commuters and shoppers between destinations in the city centre, making it fast, safe and reliable for people to get to their destinations, whilst actively encouraging commuters to leave their cars at home.
The scheme, approved by the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority and Bradford Council's Executive, was put in jeopardy after 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. Draft budgets for spending in the city as recently as February 15 also included plans to scrap the service.
Council bosses confirmed during a meeting at City Hall on February 24 that the FreeCityBus service would not be axed. The victory led by the Students’ Union will ensure the service, which has proved a success since it was started in 2008 by Metro and Bradford Council has been saved.
Councillor Greenwood, the leader of Bradford City Council commended the enthusiasm of the students who lead the campaign and went onto say the campaign had informed the decision to save the ‘FreeCityBus’, which would have otherwise been scrapped.
Over 1700 students, staff, and residents of Bradford signed the Students’ Union petition to stop the service from being withdrawn, demonstrating the strength of feeling around the potential cuts to service.
During the campaign students attend a meeting at City Hall on Friday 18th February armed with ‘Save Our Bus’ t-shirts, posters, comments and quotes from community partners and Michele Sutton, College Principal, OBE who supported the campaign.
Commenting on the success of the campaign, Nabeel Hussain, President, Bradford College Students’ Union said: “We are thrilled with the result of the campaign but this victory is set against the backdrop of devastating cuts to Further Education and public sector services which support the most vulnerable in society. This campaign has shown that students will not stand further cuts that threaten their right to access education and are at the forefront of the campaign to protect those most at risk.”