Dec 9, 2009 0
Liberal Democrat campaigners are calling for Reading University and Reading Transport to work together to restore a vital bus link for students cut earlier this Autumn.
Working with Reading University’s Liberal Democrats and Woodley’s Liberal Democrat Councillors, Lib Dem prospective MP for Reading East Gareth Epps has handed in a petition signed by hundreds of Bulmershe students demanding a restored affordable shuttle bus after a petition-signing session on campus. This followed the withdrawal without consultation of the shuttlebus connecting Bulmershe with the main Whiteknights campus.
In a private meeting with Reading Buses chief James Freeman in November, Gareth sought confirmation that the reconfigured Reading Buses routes would restore a link, but asked whether the University was prepared to consider a subsidy to make the fare affordable for students. He was told the University had refused to consider a subsidy.
“There is overwhelming support among Bulmershe students for our campaign to restore the bus link. This is just another front line service that has been axed by Reading University. Along with PCSOs and departmental staff, the wrong people are being targeted by University bosses as they respond to Government cuts. The new bus services could – if the will is there – result in at least this service improvement, in spite of the other cuts faced by Woodley residents.”
“Bulmershe students have been left lingering in the dark once again” said Mark Whiley, President of Reading University Liberal Democrats Society. “We’ve collected petitions from almost two-thirds of Bulmershe students, wanting a voice to bring back an efficient, affordable and convenient bus service.
“There is a commitment to safety here; a commitment to promises made by the University upon the arrival of Freshers in September; and for students that paid for their course to be able to get to lectures on time and use the services available on Whiteknights Campus.”
Bulmershe JCR President, Liz McCarthur backed the campaign: “It’s understandable that the University is facing hard times and therefore is forced to make significant cuts… however, it is simply unfair, inappropriate, and most unacceptable for Bulmershe students to be left unprovided for, especially as the five hundred-odd Freshers find themselves in an already disadvantaged position upon arrival.”
“It is my view that as long as lessons are taught there and Bulmershe houses students, there must be a shuttle service, irrespective of whether or not the University makes a loss on providing it. The fact will always remain that those students on principle deserve equal opportunities and access to the facilities that all of Reading students have available to them.”