By Clara Gaspar
Durham University is set to stop funding free travel on the Arriva X12 bus service as of September 2018.
The X12 bus provides travel between the University’s Queen’s Campus in Stockton and Durham City Bus Station.
Nicholas Benbow, Senior Programme Manager in the Vice-Chancellor’s Office, and coordinator of the move of the University from Queen’s Campus to Durham City, stated in an email shown to Palatinate: “Slight tweak to the proposals around the X12 which I wanted to make you aware of. As previously suggested the free travel on the X12 for Durham students will discontinue from September onwards.
“There will continue to be the provision of £1 day tickets within the Durham City Zone and potentially the Durham District Zone but this won’t extend to Stockton.
“Bottom line is third year medics won’t get free travel between Stockton and the hospital.”
The X12 bus provides travel between Durham and Queen’s Campus in Stockton for staff and students, running half hourly during the day, and hourly in the evening from Monday to Saturday.
With a valid campus ID card, students and staff are currently able to travel free on the public Arriva X12 service during term time and the holiday periods.
The plan to terminate free travel on the X12 route comes after the University announced their decision to move all Queen’s Campus operations to Durham City by 2020.
However, third-year medical students will remain in Stockton, and therefore will have to commute to the hospital in Durham City unsubsidised.
A second year medical student at John Snow college told Palatinate: “Historically medics have always been made to feel welcomed by Durham University in their third year of study despite no longer being Durham students and transitioning to Newcastle.
“We’ve had access to the library, taken on leadership roles in some sporting teams eg. College rowing and have had access to transport between Durham and Stockton to facilitate this, despite not technically being students of Durham anymore.
“We feel as though with no warning the free X12 service has been taken away from us and many of us had planned for this transport when choosing our placement for next year in order to save money.
“We had presumed that with the international college being based at Queen’s campus that the university would wish to continue the bus service especially taking into account the extra revenue they will now be receiving from those students.
“However, it seems that we, and anyone not living in the centre of Durham, will not be consulted about this change that will impact us all financially.”
Photograph: Lewis Smith Photography via Flickr