McGills forced into U-turn after students get vocal over policy change

9 March 2019

Video: Holly McCormack

Policy change now only affects daily tickets

A major bus company has made a U-turn on proposed changes to student fares after receiving criticism.

McGill’s announced that as of 11 March all student tickets purchased on the mobile app would apply only to students between the ages of 16 and 22.

Facing pressure from students online, the bus company has now updated their policy to include weekly, four weekly, and ten weekly tickets. However, daily tickets remain available only to younger students who are studying full-time.

The policy changes exclude many mature students, who took to twitter to complain directly to the Greenock-based bus company.

Hitting out at McGill’s, West College Scotland childhood practice student Karen MacKay contacted The Glasgow Sloth to flag up the policy change.

The 28-year-old travels from Glasgow to the Paisley campus.

Photograph: Holly McCormack

Mackay said: “I’ve been using McGills since I started college in August. I can get an alternative bus from Ibrox to the college and walk from Paisley town centre, but I can only use McGills to attend my placement twice a week.

“The change was added to the McGills website and mobile app as an update to the terms and conditions with McGills stating student tickets were aimed at younger commuters who had not yet entered the world of work.

“It’s a student ticket though so it should be available to all students and I use the ticket five days a week.

“I’m much happier that McGill’s have reverted this back and most part-time students will still qualify for a student discount.

She added: “I still feel though that it is unfair that there is any discrimination with any student ticket and therefore the daily ticket should not be advertised for students with many still excluded.”

Photograph: Holly McCormack

The bus company’s change of policy attracted criticism on social media.

Nursing student Kristina (@mammmatina) asked: “Why on earth will mature students not qualify for student tickets from March 11th?

“As a nursing student (where 90% of my cohort are over 22) it feels unfair that we have to pay over the odds when the overheads to attend college and university are expensive.”

McGill’s Managing Director Ralph Roberts said: “We’re delighted to announce that we are re-introducing a modified student all day ticket from Monday 11 March.

“Our excellent value for money one week, 4-week and 10-week tickets – with a 15% discount on adult fares – continue unchanged.”

He added: “We have amended our student policy so that our new all student day tickets can only be accessed by those attending college or university full time, aged between 16 and 22.

“Our other student tickets will not be affected by this policy.”

The National Union of Students (NUS) Scotland lambasted McGills despite the U-turn stating that they haven’t gone far enough with the changes.

NUS President Liam McCabe and NUS Women’s officer Shuwanna Aaron stated: “McGills proposed pricing structures fail to consider the increased cost for mature students, part-time students, students with caring responsibilities or care experienced students.

“Many in these student cohorts already face numerous cost of living pressures – precarious work, the disaster of universal credit, costs of supporting dependents to name just a few – that risk pricing them out of education.

“We remain concerned that McGill’s pricing changes add unduly to these pressures.”

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