Five student’s unions in Greater Manchester have written to Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, to petition him for a £1.50 cap on public transport for students.
Tesnime Safraou, the City and Community Officer at the University of Manchester Students’ Union, was one of five signatories of a letter petitioning Andy Burnham to reduce students’ fares on public transport to £1.50 as part of the larger cap on bus fares.
Safraou was joined by the Presidents of the Students’ Unions at Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Salford, The University of Bolton, and the Royal Northern College of Music to form the Greater Manchester Student Assembly.
The Mancunion previously reported that from September, bus fares would be capped at £2 for adults as a result of Burnham’s successful plan to bring buses back under public ownership. The letter congratulates Burnham on the “success” of his plans.
However, this letter advocates for a “student fare”, beyond the existing cap, citing several reasons why this is important for students this year. It cites a “safer environment for women and other vulnerable groups”, tackling “existing barriers to social mobility”, and more general financial woes. Further, it notes that “2022 will see the maximum student maintenance loan fall below the national minimum wage”, causing a “uniquely financially painful” winter for students.
Rosina, a second-year History student commented that “having been back at uni for two weeks, I have already noticed things like my food shop getting more expensive. A student bus fare would both help students cope with increasing prices elsewhere and make us feel even more supported by Andy Burnham”.
When asked whether Burnham has responded, Robbie Beale, the Activities and Culture Officer for The University of Manchester’s Student’s Union, told The Mancunion:
“We’ve been asked by his office to wait for a planned meeting between himself and the Greater Manchester Students’ Assembly … on the 20th of October in order to discuss the letter. We haven’t received a formal indication of his stance on the proposed policy, but we know that the Mayor’s office shared the letter with him so we can assume that he has read it.“
“Buses and transport are at the forefront of the Mayor’s mind, and so they should be a priority for your students’ unions too. Students get 30% off London’s Oyster network. Allowing students to experience all that Manchester has to offer makes sense for students and the city, and so we hope to begin the process of hardwiring students into Manchester’s transport network too.“
On how the letter ties in with the Executive Officers’ priorities for the year, Beale said:
“As an officer team we are taking proactive measures across the Students’ Union, the university and now at a regional level to mitigate against the cost-of-living crisis. That is our priority for the year ahead.“