Students across Northern Ireland have been taking to the streets of their local areas to make noise on the increase of public transport fares and lack of accessibility. Against the backdrop of significant cost of living pressures, as noted by NUS-USI's Cost of Survival report1 on student hardship, bus and rail fares rose by 7 percent on Monday 6th March. In response, Ulster University students in Coleraine held a demonstration calling on urgently needed support. During which students marched and occupied a zebra crossing calling for a free shuttle bus service to be introduced in the North Coast area.
Chloe Ferguson, NUS-USI President said,
“It’s amazing to see students across Northern Ireland stand up and make their voice heard on the barriers to their education. Already, 51% of students are cutting back on travel.2 Free and accessible public transport infrastructure would significantly ease pressures students face- including making the hard decision on whether to go to class, or put food on the table. Supporting students is an investment into the future of NI- we must remove the roadblocks to our education. The cost of not acting is much greater than not.”
Ethan Davies, Vice-President for Coleraine from Ulster University Students’ Union, said,
“Students are already paying more than their fair share to get their education. They shouldn’t have to pay more to access their education. If a student lives in Belfast and needs to travel to Coleraine for class, with a YLink they can be expected to pay £10.50, without it, it is £17.50-this must stop.
The 3.5k students in Coleraine need the flexibility to be able to go from their university to their homes, which is why we need a shuttle bus from Coleraine, the University, Portrush and Portstewart.
We need action now, we can’t afford to wait for Stormont to reconvene.”