Lead officer: Emily Chapman, Vice President Further Education 2017/19
In 2017, NUS’ Vice President (Further Education), Emily Chapman made it her priority to address the huge problem that expensive, unreliable and inaccessible transport caused for students and apprentices across the UK. This led to the launch of #myFEjourney, a campaign for cheaper, better transport for FE students and apprentices across the country.
From Aberdeen to Abertawe and from Sunderland to Sheffield, NUS spoke to 1000 students and heard about the barriers that transport caused for them when accessing their education.
The message was clear – poorly funded, unreliable transport was harming students’ education.
Using our findings we provided a #myFEjourney briefing for students’ unions and students to use in discussions with local providers. A media campaign , supported by a TES FE feature on the campaign, helped to raise the profile of the issues and led to helpful discussions with key authorities across the UK.
We secured involvement in the Dept for Transport’s Inclusive Transport Strategy Advisory Groups and collected case studies from SUs tackling transport locally. We have influenced Greater Manchester Combined Authority on their reforms to bus services and the National Society of Apprentices (NoSA) conducted travel research with over 3,000 apprentices which resulted in us winning a seat at the table for the government’s National Bus Strategy.
NUS Scotland secured a commitment from the Scottish Government to extend free bus travel to Modern Apprentices. And the Welsh Government announced it would not scrap the My Travel Pass discounted travel scheme for young people, following campaigning by NUS Wales.
We also influenced the decision to extend rail fare discounts to 16 and 17 year olds, announced in January 2019, after many years of NUS campaigning, which meant students between 16 and 18 years of age could purchase a new 16-17 railcard or the 16-25 railcard, from September 2019.
Affordable and accessible transport will always play an important part in NUS’ plans to improve students’ lives. We stated this in our National Conference Board Report 2020, and it’s a piece of work we’ll be picking up once life has returned to some semblance of normal after the pandemic concludes.
In the meantime we will continue to work with agencies, partners and the necessary legislative bodies to ensure that students do not pay inflated rates for public transport, restricting access to education, and our partner TOTUM will continue to negotiate travel deals on behalf of students.
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