Local bus routes play an integral part of getting students (and staff) up to campus every day. As an SU, we annually lobby the University, bus companies and local council for good quality bus services.
We recognise the reality of the situation: that students do not receive the quality bus service that they deserve, and that we campaign for. Read more on this page about what we have done so far this year to push for improvements, and what you can do if you are disappointed with services. We also recognise that First’s decision to cancel the First Bus 20 service is also causing issues for some students – and that its Abus replacement is not currently providing a like-for-like service.
The various problems you may be experiencing with the bus services are a product of multiple factors, for example, First Bus are currently experiencing a significant driver shortage alongside increasing costs of fuel. Despite our best lobbying efforts, these are some of the reasons why short-term solutions can be difficult for the bus companies or University to implement.
On this page:
Here are some updates on what we have done since June, and what we plan to do this semester, to campaign for improved bus provision at Bath.
Throughout the summer, SU Officers met with various senior University staff, local politicians, and First Bus company representatives to ensure that students’ concerns regarding transport is considered as a critical issue this year. We have particularly been pushing for improved active and alternative travel provision, a replacement for First’s service 22, and improved communications with students.
Specifically, in terms of University staff, Officers have raised the issue of bus provision with the Vice-Chancellor, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience), Chief Operating Officer, and Director of Education & Student Services.
Marked as a priority issue 2022-23
We have further highlighted the importance of the issue by making transport one of The SU’s Top Ten priority issues this academic year. As one of our central campaigns, we are calling on the University to develop and commit to a five-year transport strategy to improve provision and find a permanent solution. We recognise this is not a new problem, but one that has affected students for years at Bath. We are asking for serious action in the form of a long-term solution. One central benefit of putting an issue on our Top Ten is that the University senior leadership team commit to working with us on the issues throughout the year – we will be having regular meetings with the University's senior management team to ensure progress across the breadth of these issues.
Our representatives work hard to be the voice of students and champion the issues that matter to you. Last year, student leaders passed a Standpoint at SUmmit to direct our stance as a Students’ Union:
“The SU believe that students should have access to an affordable, accessible, safe and reliable transport service”
We also organised a panel Q&A in November 2022 as an opportunity to ask questions directly to the organisations behind our bus provision. Read more below.
Bus provision Q&A Event - Tuesday 08 November 2022
On 08 November, we hosted a live panel Q&A event with with representatives from the University, First Bus, and Abus. The event was hosted by our SU President, Alexander Robinson, who put forward a range of questions to the panel members. Students in the auidence also put questions directly to the panel. Watch the full Q&A recording below or read some key points.
The main challenges to having a successful bus network for students in Bath
- The geography (e.g. hills).
- Nationwide shortage of bus drivers.
- Inflation and costs of running a bus service (including fuel costs).
- Existing infrastructure in Bath (e.g. lack of bus lanes).
- Traffic (one way systems, busyness, road works).
What happened with the 22 route?
- Due to driver shortages, First Bus could no longer support the 22 route, so Abus stepped in to take on the route but with a reduced service compared to before.
- It is acknowledged that the new 22 route is not a like-for-like service and isn't perfect.
- Abus have acknowledged the need for improvement, including better timetabling and are planning to take card as well as cash soon.
Submitting your feedback
You may want to pass feedback or a complaint straight to the bus companies or provide us with more evidence to lobby for change.
Contacting the bus companies
If you have any feedback or need to make a complaint directly to the bus companies about the University bus services, contact emails are:
Give us your feedback
If you want to tell us more about your experience, you can anonymously submit your feedback to The SU, and we will use this as evidence to lobby the University and bus companies for improvements and change.
Complete our SU feedback form here.
University of Bath – Travelling by bus to the University of Bath
First Bus – University of Bath (Bath Unibus)
Abus – Information and timetables