Staff and students save over £328,000 in first 6 months of University bus subsidy scheme with Stagecoach

13th June 2023

Staff and students save over £328,000 in the first 6 months of the University bus subsidy scheme with Stagecoach

As part of a raft of measures to support students and staff through the cost-of-living and energy crisis, the University of St Andrews introduced a bus travel subsidy scheme offering 75% off fares in partnership with bus operator Stagecoach in November 2022.

Since then, thousands of tickets have been sold, saving staff and students over £328,000 off journeys for work or studying.

Although students have benefited from discounted travel with Stagecoach for many years, the collaboration between the University and the bus company to provide discounts for employees began in 2019. Last year the partners developed a new scheme, which offers 75% off 7-day, 4-week or flexible day tickets bought via the Stagecoach Bus app.

The scheme, launched as a six-month pilot has reduced car journeys within the town and the University’s Eden Campus at Guardbridge.

The average carbon saving over the last six months by staff or students taking the bus instead of travelling by car amounts to around 6,374 kgCO2e (kilogrammes of carbon dioxide equivalent) per month or an average of 206 kgCO2e per day.

The University’s Chief Operating Officer, Quaestor and Factor Derek Watson said: “The University takes social responsibility very seriously; we understand both the financial pressures facing our students and staff during this cost-of-living crisis and the urgent need to do what we can to tackle the climate crisis and meet net-zero targets.

“Over the course of the last six months, the University has invested almost £220,000 to support this discount scheme ensuring staff and students, those not eligible for the Scottish Government’s free travel scheme for the under-22s, can access low-cost public transport. We continue to look at ways of providing support including other forms of travel as well.

“The scheme has also helped us cut around 7.5% of our commuting footprint for staff. When we add on the reduced travel from home working, we may actually be making great progress towards our target of 40% saving in this area.”

With the successful partnership now continuing beyond the initial 6-month trial period, Stagecoach looks forward to using the learnings from the University of St Andrews ticket scheme, and the positive feedback gained to support other businesses and institutions.

Sarah Elliott, Commercial Director, Stagecoach East Scotland said: “This discount model is a key driver of modal shift in the St Andrews and North East Fife area, providing tangible reasons for people to leave the car at home - saving money and reducing their carbon footprint.

At Stagecoach, we have ambitious targets of a zero-emission bus fleet by 2035 and we’re committed to commercial partnerships such as this to really make a difference to the communities we serve.

“We’re delighted to be continuing this project beyond the initial trial period and look forward to welcoming even more students and staff onto our bus network in the area.”

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