The bus company at the centre of complaints over handling of its ID card policy say there has been no change in policy.
First Bus expressed apologies for confusion caused over their First Student ID card, a student discount verification system used by the company, after students expressed concerns. However, First say the policy has been in place for eight years.
A number of students told Stirling Students’ Union of their confusion at being asked to use the ID card for the UL bus service between Stirling city centre and the university, even though the bus company’s policy prohibits this.
Students who do not carry a First Student ID card do not get to travel with a student discount in surrounding areas like Alva, Alloa and Cornton, known as ‘Zone Tickets’.
Jamie Grant, Vice President Communities at the Union, said he and Union President Astrid Smallenbroek were approached by “a handful” of concerned students who were unaware of this policy.
“We had a few international students that came through into our offices and said that, for some reason, First Bus were asking for First Student IDs to get on the bus,” he said.
“So, you had to have your matriculation card, your First Student ID, and a valid ticket, and Astrid and I thought this was a bit weird.
“We’d never heard of this before. The university hadn’t heard about it. The Union hadn’t heard about it.
“And First had not communicated this well to students at all.”
Several students also experienced confusion this week about this policy, when they were asked for the card to use a 62 bus from the Cowane Centre in Stirling city centre to campus.
“They had never heard of this before, [and] there’s no way of getting a First Student ID on the bus,” he said.
Brig understands First have used this policy “for many years” but it remains unclear how the policy is being implemented.
The Union say they are working with First Bus to resolve the situation.
In a statement, they wrote: “We understand that First Bus is undergoing a corporate restructure and that this will have impacted them, so we have been trying to get across the confusion and frustration that has been reported to us regarding the issue of valid student identify for their services.”
They added: “First Student ID cards are not required between the Stirling Rail Station and the University Campus on the direct UL route and services that serve this route.
“Services which require a First Student ID, as well as your regular student ID, include the 62A, 63A and 54 services. This is because these services diverge from the direct UL route.”
A First Midland Bluebird spokesperson told Brig: “We’re sorry to hear there has been some recent confusion over which services require presentation of a Student ID.
“Our customer services team have been in touch with colleagues at our Bannockburn depot to ensure drivers are fully aware of routes where the Student ID applies.
“There has been no change in policy with regards to the Student ID. The Student ID has been in place for eight years, with details on our website. It is also promoted every year at the university fresher events and has proved very popular – with substantially more applications received this year.
“However, we would be happy to consider other ways to further raise awareness of the Student ID and its conditions among the university population.”