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Stirling Students’ Union ‘disappointed’ as First Bus cuts vital Hillfoots services into university

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Credit: University of Stirling

Students are set to be affected as First Bus have announced several changes to their services that pass through the university.

The company has come under fire from the University of Stirling’s Students’ Union, who have expressed their dismay over the decision to cut vital services into the campus.

Last month, union sabbatical officers met with the company, where First representatives advised them of services changes.

The most significant changes – which came into effect on Monday 10 September – are the cuts to services to and from the Hillfoots area.

The 62 and 63 services to Alloa and Tullibody will no longer stop inside the university grounds. Instead, it will serve the rear entrance of the university.

It is expected that these cuts will leave many students stranded and having to pay more money for vital services to and from the university.

As well as this, the 54 and 54A service, which passes through Bridge of Allan, is set to retain its link through to the university, however the services will now operate only under the 54 and has been reduced to every 30 minutes.

It is believed that university staff will also be impacted by the changes as they are set to lose their ability to access student discounted fares.

First Bus, however, has improved their UniLink service, with a revised circular route which will cover more of the university campus and the Wallace Monument. The company has revised their timetables to include more early morning and evening journeys.

The UL service will also operate all year round, with a 30-minute frequency outside of the semester.

The company reached the decision to implement the changes after a one-week consultation in Stirling city centre back in July, an issue which Stirling’s Students’ Union President, Astrid Smallenbroek and Vice-President Communities, Jamie Grant have described as ‘frustrating’.

In an open letter to First Bus, they said: “We recognise that a significant proportion of the students we represent depend on [First’s] services to get to and from our campus. Services that are punctual, safe and affordable make all the difference to the wider student experience, and it’s on this basis that the Union have been working closely with the University, in attempts to improve the working relationship we both share with First Bus.

“It is therefore disappointing and frustrating that, once again, communication and cooperation have broken down, leaving us let down by the actions of First.

“The newest round of service changes, including the scrapping of several services through the campus from the Hillfoots area, have left us deeply frustrated at First’s continual lack of stakeholder engagement.

“One week of public consultation in the Stirling area earlier in July is simply not adequate, especially given that many students are currently on their summer break.”

“We are not in support of the service changes proposed and would ask First to have a genuine consultation with students and the wider Stirling community – who will be affected by these changes.”

First Bus has been approached for comment.

This is not the first time the Union and First Bus have been at loggerheads. Back in January, Brig reported that First Bus announced it would be scrapping its four-week bus pass and replacing it with a new 10-week semester pass.

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