Posted on Thu 29 Jun 2017 at 14:47 by Luke Pilot
The following is the contents of a letter sent (23rd June 2017) to Steve Burd, Managing Director of Stagecoach Midlands, and Sir Brian Souter (Chairman) and Martin Griffiths (Chief Executive) of Stagecoach Group, as mandated in the policy 'Stagecoach: Stop Taking Us For A Ride!' passed in the Term 3 All Student Meeting & Policy Referendum.
Dear Steve Burd (cc Sir Brian Souter and Martin Griffiths)
I am writing to you regarding Warwick Students’ Union’s position on Stagecoach and the services you provide to students.
In our Term 3 Referendum, in which all students are able to submit policy and vote, the new policy ‘Stagecoach: Stop Taking Us For A Ride’ was passed. It should be noted this policy passed with the highest proportion of votes in favour of any motion since our All Student Referenda have existed.
This policy mandates me, as SU President, to write to you detailing our members’ concerns and frustrations with your bus service, which they use to commute between Leamington Spa and the University of Warwick campus.
Three specific concerns have been raised by our members in this policy:
- Replacement bus passes. Students are concerned by Stagecoach’s decision this year to more rigorously, and unfairly, enforce your bus pass replacement policy, punishing students who have genuinely lost their pass by making them pay substantial sums of money due to the actions of a minority trying to abuse the system. This concern is demonstrated not just by this policy, but also in a separate petition set up by students which gained 1000 signatures (found here). The Students’ Union demands that you resume the replacement of lost bus passes at minimal cost by 7th July 2017, or the SU will no longer promote Stagecoach or allow Stagecoach to promote or sell its products within the Union buildings until this policy is reversed.
- Vacation timetable provision. Students are concerned that your timetable of buses outside of term-time is insufficient, with too few buses departing campus in the evening and the service ending much too early. This is particularly detrimental to medical students, postgraduate students completing theses or conducting research (who work on campus all year round), international students (who stay on campus during the vacation as they are unable to return to their home countries) and staff and students working or studying on campus over the holidays. In spring vacation for example, many students stay on campus the whole time in order to revise. These service users have been left stranded on campus at night or forced to finish their work early in order to return home. The Students’ Union demands that you improve your vacation timetable, specifically operating your service from campus later into the evening.
- Technological capability. Students are concerned that Stagecoach is falling behind its competitors technologically, thus further failing its customers. Though we have received numerous updates about the potential introduction of Swift card capability and contactless payment options, we are aware that these services — which could address the problem with replacement bus passes — will be introduced much too late for successive generations of Warwick students. The Students’ Union demands that you endeavour to secure the latest technology on your buses as soon as possible, in order to avoid further inconveniencing your customers.
The above grievances, combined with an overarching frustration with the efficiency of your service, have led to Stagecoach losing a substantial amount of goodwill with — and irreparably damaging your reputation amongst — Warwick students over the last few years. The requests to improve your vacation timetable, to implement more up-to-date technology and to resume the replacement of lost bus passes at minimal cost by 7th July 2017 may go some way to rectifying this in the short term.
We are keen to maintain a good line of communication between yourselves and our membership, and we anticipate your rapid response and efforts to address these issues.