University Bus Service

When the much-loved free Lemon Bus was cancelled at the beginning of the 2017/18 academic year, the Officer Team were impassioned to fight for its reinstatement.

We were successful in our campaign and it took just a few weeks for a new free, intercampus service to begin.

Although there are still improvements that can be made to the service, we have liaised closely with relevant university staff to ensure appropriate amendments are made so the intercampus bus is suitable for all Brighton students.

Update: 19th October 2017

Thank you all for your continued support and patience with our BSU Against the Lemon Cut campaign. Our survey received 561 responses and there was almost a 50/50 split between accepting the University’s previous offer (47.7%) or not (52.3%), but it was evident that students wanted the service to remain free (81.8% of votes). Therefore, we felt that it was more beneficial for us to secure the free service as made in the previous offer.

The powerful student led campaign raised the issues of access, availability and affordability which has at all times informed our negotiation and will continue to inform our longer-term ambitions on this issue.

Following further negotiations between Brighton Students’ Union and senior members of University management, we are delighted to announce that there will be reinstatement of a free, hourly, inter-campus bus service.

While we recognise that students may be concerned about the frequency of this service, the bus will now be a double decker with 80 seats, compared with the previous single decker, 33 seat minibus. In addition, the new service will be operated by Compass travel, for which all buses are fully accessible.

As of 19th October, Brighton SU has secured agreement that:

  • The University will fund a free bus once per hour, serving the full Lewes Road route between Grand Parade and Falmer. 
  • The service will be sustained for the entire 2017/18 academic year, with regular travel usage reports being made.
  • Brighton Students’ Union will be involved and active in developing the University’s longer-term solution and the improvement of services provided by B&H Buses to students and the wider community.

As an officer team we are so grateful for all the students who have been involved with the campaign and had an active voice in making a change. We hope you are happy with the outcome and as stated, we will continually reviewing the situation and will keep you all informed.

Moving forward, the current “BSU Against the Lemon Cut” Facebook group will now serve as a “Brighton Inter Campus Travel” forum where students can voice all travel related concerns and we will be able to update you with future negotiations.

Best wishes and as always, we love to hear from you!

Full Time Officer Team.

Update: 13th October 2017

On Thursday 12/10/2017 the University came back to the Students’ Union with a response to a meeting hosted on Thursday 05/10/2017. Within this meeting we presented concerns and issues about the removal of the service as raised to us by students and asked the University to reconsider their decision. Following this meeting, we got the below offer from the University:

“… Subject to securing agreement with Compass to making changes to their contract – is that we re-purpose the current Varley-Falmer service to provide an hourly service between all sites throughout the day.  The service will call at all University sites (in the same way that the Big Lemon did previously) and there will be no charge for the service.”

While we recognise this offer to be positive progress in negotiations, we feel that an hourly service is not sufficient to meet the needs of our members as the previous service did. In all negotiations to date, the Students’ Union have requested a full reinstatement of the free bus but we now ask you, our membership, what  outcomes best suit you.

We would now like to open consultation with you, our members, to gather your views on the offer before another meeting on Wednesday 18/10/2017.

Update: 11th October 2017

Thank you to all those who attended and participated in our Big Lemon Open Forums on Monday (9th October), and/or who provided feedback through our Facebook group. We want to thank you for your continued support, patience and trust in the full-time officers in our campaign against the Big Lemon Cut.  

The main issues raised at the forums were frequency and overcrowding of current services, poor timetabling, financial implications, effects on student wellbeing and negative implications on academics. 

We can now inform you all we have received an offer from the University following our meeting last week. As a team we have decided that the current offer is not adequate to meet the needs of our members, so we have now entered into negotiation with the University.

At this time, it is important for us not to reveal the details of this negotiation as we don’t want to jeopardise future outcomes. We are confident the University has begun to understand the impact the cut of the Big Lemon has had on you (our student members) and it is our goal to ensure that the outcome of this negotiation is in the best interest of students. We have asked for a response from the University by Friday (13th October). 

Update: 5th October 2017

The full-time Student Leadership Team requested a meeting with Stephen Dudderidge (Registrar and Secretary) and Sue McHugh (Chief Operating Officer) within the UoB senior management team to discuss the issues our student members have raised regarding the ‘Big Lemon Bus’. This meeting happened today (Thursday 5th October) in Mithras House, Moulsecoomb between the SU and University of Brighton representatives. 

The University wanted the Students’ Union to provide them with the perspective of the students. However we demanded a clear course of action from the University as a result of the meeting.

The issues we conveyed as being the most pressing were:

  • The cancellation of the free service
  • The inadequate bus replacement service
  • The ambiguity of the additional services including timetables
  • Lack of clarity in regards to funding distribution
  • The lack of sufficient data in regards to the usage of the service
  • Concerns about the effect on student welfare and their academic journey

The answers we were given to some of these concerns above from the University were:

The University claimed that they could no longer justify spending £225,000 for a service used by 8% of Brighton student population. 

The timetable for the morning rush bus UOB2 will be revised as a result of confusion in regards to the frequency of the bus.

The University is going to meet Brighton&Hove Buses to discuss the improvement of B&H services.

The University will make the survey data used to make this decision readily available to students.

We therefore raised these questions to the university:

  • What will be the next stage in the review of the decision?
  • How is the University going to make it clear to students where the money saved on the service will be reallocated?
  • How will the University deal with potential complaints filed against them?
  • How will the University respond to the welfare concerns as demonstrated within your comments and pictures raised within the ‘BSU Against The Lemon Cut’ Facebook group?

It was also quickly made apparent that the transparency and the communication from the university during this decision-making process were simply not good enough.

Stephen and Sue will take the above questions raised to the ‘Senior Management Team’ meeting on Monday 9th October. We demanded that following this meeting they would provide us with a date to meet again. 

We would like to invite students to an open forum on Monday 9th October at Falmer 1pm-3pm and Moulsecoomb 4pm-6pm to discuss your experience. This will give you the opportunity to discuss ‘All things Big Lemon’ with your full-time officer team. You will need to visit the Facebook events and click 'going' in advance so that we can ensure enough space in the room. You will need to bring your UniCard to show on entry. 

Update: 14th September 2017

Brighton SU is disappointed to learn of the profound changes to the provision of free transport between our Brighton sites: Grand Parade, Moulsecoomb, Falmer and Varley Halls. This is of significant and detrimental impact for those students living at Varley Halls (due to the isolated location) both in terms of affordability and student safety.

We are strongly opposing the University’s decision to cancel the University’s free bus service between Brighton campuses. 

The Lemon Bus has been serving our students for many years and become a fundamental feature of campus life. The prospect of free and safe transport is often a significant factor for students in choosing University of Brighton as a place to live and study. 

There has been minimal consultation with the Students’ Union in the decision made and we feel that we have not been able to make effective representations on behalf of our members. This includes not receiving any evidence relating to the usage of the bus by students, which the University are now indicating is the main reason for the cut in service.

As a new full-time leadership team, we want to represent your views but we cannot do this if the University isn’t prepared to include us in the decision making. Despite our efforts the communication between the Union and the University Senior Management has been extremely poor on this issue, and we are disappointed that we were never given the opportunity to represent our membership in regards to the Big Lemon.

As a Union we are committed to securing a quality outcome to this situation for all of our members, both new and returning. In the meantime, we urge you to sign this petition here

We have created a Facebook group for any student to join and share your thoughts on the Big Lemon cancellation.