YUSU representatives challenged the recent price hikes on the FTR buses in a meeting with FirstYork officials last week. YUSU Officers met with FirstYork in an attempt to address the issue on January 18, to make students’ discontentment known, and to provide “positive suggestions” for a solution. Possibilities such as the reintroduction of the previously popular 10-journey tickets and a special student rate of £1 journeys into town were discussed. “I proposed ‘A pound to town’ during RAG week, if they treble their trade and make just as much profit, while students are happy, then FTR will be doing well,” said YUSU President Anne-Marie Canning.
FTR spokesperson Jonathan Stewart described the meeting as “constructive,” and that FirstYork would now “consider other options.” When questioned about the price rises, he claimed that the prices were part of a network fare review and that, as there hadn’t been a price review in 2007, the rise in fares this term was a form of “catch up”.
FTR single prices rose by 20% and return prices by 16% following the introduction of zonal fares instead of fixed prices. An online group against the rises states: “The rise in price is far more than the inflation rate.”
Canning admitted that the price increase this term has caused a “significant backlash from students.” She maintains that the core issue is that “journeys to town are too expensive”. Canning stated that FirstYork were “not keen” to reintroduce the 10 journey ticket despite its previous popularity amongst students. Despite Stewart advocating the £99 Term Passes, Canning believes “students simply won’t want to pay £99 at the beginning of term.”
YUSU have also arranged a panel discussion on campus in order for students to pose questions directly to FirstYork. “I’m throwing them to the lions,” joked Canning. “We will keep the pressure on First to show some action.”