Tag Archives: bus


Your travel correspondent has had little to excite him of late. Journeys to and from work have provided little in the way of amusement. Until the middle of half-term week, one late morning. The single decker bus arrives and the awaiting crowd steps back to allow an older man with a wheeled walking frame to board the bus. He is followed by two mums with a pushchair each – one a giant ‘state-of-the art’ thing that looks as though it would be good for ‘off-roading’. The driver is obviously under the illusion that the bus is some form of Stagecoach Tardis which will expand to accommodate any number of passengers – more and more people clamber on. The student passengers all seem to have massive over-sized handbags or completely stuffed backpacks. More and more people get on and we set off (illegally) on our journey. By this time your correspondent (comfortably ensconced in his window side seat) was intrigued how this would all pan out. This was made all the more interesting by the willingness of the driver to stop at the Infirmary and stuff more folk on the bus, including a young woman with a child in a baby-wrap. She had bags of shopping and a polystyrene cup of coffee which causes a frisson of nervousness to ripple through the bus. Incredibly some passengers managed to get a hand free and attempt to use their mobile phones. More entertainment was provided by the bus having to stop at almost every stop on the way to the University to let some passengers get off. This all meant an extended journey time to work but was a price worth paying for an entertaining people-watching experience.


What has happened to the price of the staff bus pass? In 2016/17, it cost £76 per year. It was increased in 2017/18 to £99 per year (grades 1 to 6)  and £112 per year (grades 7 and up). That is a 30% increase for grades 6 and below, and a 47% increase for grades 7 and up.

subtext assumes this is the result of Chancellor Philip Hammond’s announcement last year that he would tighten rules allowing workers to forgo part of their salary in return for certain work benefits. As a result of having a lower salary, employees were paying less income tax and making lower National Insurance contributions. Likewise, employers saved on National Insurance as this was linked to salary. Salary sacrifices could also be used to preserve the £11,500 personal allowance.

Nationally the most popular benefits claimed by staff through such arrangements are pension contributions, meeting childcare costs, bicycle schemes, and medical insurance. In recent years, benefits have expanded to include company cars, health screening, gym membership and even mobile phones, TVs and white goods.

It would be remiss of those of us on higher grades to complain about a relatively marginal increase, and a bigger injustice is revealed when we look at the position of staff on monthly/termly contracts. Stagecoach does not offer the university a monthly option. For someone on a short term contract, the alternative is the one-term unirider that the Students’ Union sells, which costs £99.99. Having your contract extended by a further term does not entitle you to a staff bus pass, so off you go back to the SU to spend another hundred quid. If your contract is then extended for a third term, you are still not entitled to a staff bus pass, so off you go again to the SU to spend another hundred quid. This all assumes that you will not be travelling to work during the Xmas and Easter breaks!

In the extremely unlikely event that your contract is extended over the summer recess for which there is no one-term unirider available, you would have to purchase a Bay megarider Xtra pass at a cost of £56.99 per month for three months totalling £170.97. A total cost of £470.94.

That is £100.95 more than if you had bought a yearly pass directly from Stagecoach! Which you can’t!