Mansfield student says he feels he's being "taken for a ride" in bus pass dispute
A Mansfield student said he felt he was being ‘taken for a ride’ after paying £105 for an annual bus pass he couldn’t use during Covid 19 restrictions.
The Vision West Nottinghamshire College student says he paid out £105 for a yearly pass, which in normal circumstances, can be used five days a week.
However, since coronavirus measures the college has been closed or had reduced access since March 19.
Students who have paid out for the yearly pass, told the Chad they had not been reimbursed for the five months they were unable to travel or been given any discount now whilst buying a pass for the new academic year.
According to one A level student, who wishes to remain anonymous, even students only able to attend college every other week still pay the full £105, for what he called “essentially half a bus service.”
He said, “Whenever this has been brought up with some members of the college staff they have been dismissive and have told students that someones has to pick up the slack somewhere even if that means us young adults.
"We all feel a bit cheated, definitely taken for a ride, it is unfair as both years have been forced to pay out the full amount but haven’t had the full service. You would think they would give us something back or at least reduce this year’s pass.
"£105 is a lot of money to pay out for some families. I know some people who have really struggled to pay that in one go.”
The college’s student transport service is operated by Redfern Travel (Mansfield) Ltd and its owner Lee Johnson confirmed that the pass was not arranged by his company, but was a college matter.
A spokesperson for West Nottinghamshire College said: “The bus service is heavily-subsidised by the college, which makes an annual contribution of £216,000 to provide it.
“Without this subsidy, the cost of the service – operated on our behalf by external transport providers – would have to be met entirely by students, costing each user around £372 per year.
“During the Covid closure period we continued to run the buses so that vulnerable students, and those who needed to complete assessments, could still attend college. We also extended the service into the summer to assist students who had to complete college work on-site.
“We appreciate students are currently attending college less frequently due to interim arrangements caused by Covid. However, we continue to provide buses five-days-a-week and if we reduced students’ financial contribution, the viability of the service would be at risk, with the possible withdrawal of some routes.
“The college has introduced a subsidised pay-as-you-use model of £10 per week, which still represents good value for money when compared with other bus services and alternative methods of transport.
“However, for most students the subsidised annual £105 bus pass will remain the better-value option.”