The National Union of Students Scotland (NUS) has launched a new campaign that will, in part, fight for the introduction of half-price train and bus fares for all Scottish higher education students.
The measure is part of a wider cost-of-living campaign being launched by the union under its new president Ellie Gomersall, in a slate of measures it calls “#FightingForStudents.”
Alongside the public transportation fare reductions, the campaign includes calls for new grants and bursaries for higher education students, alongside rent control.
The union has said that in the longer term, they want to see concessionary travel fares – including free bus travel – extended to all students.
According to the union, over half of higher education students in Scotland are too old to apply for a free bus pass, and 31 per cent of students in Glasgow had missed classes in 2019 due to the cost of transport.
In 2019, the last year for which the University of Edinburgh has published figures, nearly 35 per cent of students took some form of public transportation to reach university.
NUS Scotland president Ellie Gomersall said in a press statement:
“The cost of living crisis is taking Scotland’s students past the tipping point.
“Our new #FightingForStudents campaign is calling for fixes that will prevent students from dropping out of their studies or falling into poverty during this crisis.
“One of those fixes is to provide all students in Scotland – regardless of age – a 50 per cent discount on bus and train travel.
“Existing policies are well-intentioned and welcome, but create gaping loopholes that mean a significant proportion of Scottish students have to pay full-whack fares simply to attend university or college classes.”
“Systemic issues within our education system are leaving students without the money they need to survive.
“By urgently closing this unfair loophole to reduce transport costs, we can ensure that at the very least, students do not need to make a choice between attending classes or putting food on the table.
“This is just the beginning. Our campaign will benefit students today through short-term fixes to the current system, but I am determined to also look to the future and create meaningful change within our education system that means students don’t just survive, but thrive.”
Gomersall, who was president of the University of the West of Scotland students’ union before taking their current role, was elected to a two year term in April 2022.
Image via press handout