The First Essex bus service is the leading transport company for Essex students, yet there have been many complaints that it makes a proportion of students late for classes.
The criticisms arouse amongst the University’s Student Union through student feedback and complaints on the student Facebook page.
Louisa, a Politics and Sociology student at the university says she has always had issues with the service.
Throughout Colchester, she found that buses were continuously delayed or didn’t turn up at all, including days where she ‘waited more than 45 minutes for a bus to come with no explanation’.
Louisa and many other students found that the service was not value for money as the annual bus pass is £162.
Other students found that the customer service they receive is a large part of the problem with First Essex’s bus services.
Michaela, a Criminology student, has had several difficulties with the company, she said: ‘I have been kicked off the buses because I have a little girl and her pram is in the way’ according to the bus driver.
Although buses to and from the University are on quite a regular schedule, usually every 15 minutes, many students have reported that bus drivers often avoid travelling to university altogether which is something that First Essex are trying to monitor.
The Student Union at the University have become aware of the issues students are facing with the bus service due to the amount of dissatisfaction being shared on the University’s student Facebook page.
In November, Tancrède Chartier who is the Vice President for Services and Comms, took action and hosted a focus group for students to voice their opinions about First Essex.
In an interview with Tancrède Chartier, he said that only four students attended the focus group and stated similar grievances to those on the Facebook page. They also suggested improvements which were then relayed to the bus company.
First Essex acknowledged a majority of the issues and explained to the VP of Services and Comms that it is often not the fault of the company but the local council management.
They also stated that bus drivers are sent on a customer workshop called ‘Journey Maker’ which were used to try and improve the journey for customers.
First Group operate all over the United Kingdom and problems with the service do not just begin and end in Essex.
In places such as Western-Super-Mare, residents are outraged for the same reasons students at Essex are.
Unlike Essex, Weston has received a response from First Group spokesman stating: ‘accidents and general traffic congestion can have an impact on the routes we operate around Weston’.
University of Essex’s Student Union had already acknowledged student’s grievances through Student Ideas on their website; they plan to set up a forum with First Bus for students to attend.