Girton's MCR President reached out to postgraduate students at the college to ask for their thoughts on the U-BusAmelia Platt for Varsity

Girton students are missing lectures, formals, and activities, with some forced to arrange transportation at higher prices, due to problems with the new U-Bus route.

Girton’s MCR President, James Walsh, sent out feedback forms to the MCR community at Girton, asking about their experiences of using the U-Bus.

This follows the introduction of a new U-Bus route, which was intended to improve access to the service for students at Homerton and Girton Colleges.

The new route was hailed as a “monumental change” when it was proposed last year.

Walsh told Varsity: “The U-Bus route extending to our college has been transformative for Girton students. It has greatly enhanced the safety and mobility of our community.”

“However, there is significant room for improvement in the service’s reliability. Currently, we cannot depend on it for our regular commute into town,” he said.

The U-Bus is run by the Whippet bus company and subsidised by the University of Cambridge. The extension follows a long student-led campaign.

Alongside the introduction of the timetable, there is a new fleet of nine electric buses now serving the route.

Varsity also spoke to Jye Smallwood, MCR Secretary at Girton, who contacted Whippet after his travel plans were disrupted as a result of the U-Bus. Asked if the service had improved since Whippet responded, he said: “No, it hasn’t.”

He continued: “Even though [Whippet] added more stops via the U2 line, it seems to have stretched the already limited amount of available buses. People are missing lectures, supervisions, formals, and other events in town since buses are late or don’t show up at all.”

“This is particularly hard for people with mobility issues who can’t ride bikes. I think as a community we’re more affected [at Girton] by the U-Bus’s unreliability than any other college,” he said.

The unreliability of the service means that students are having to pay for Ubers and taxis instead, Smallwood said.


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“Whippet should run more buses, hire more drivers, or barring that update the timetable so that it accurately reflects the services they are able to run,” he continued.

In a joint statement, Whippet and the University of Cambridge said: “The launch of the new electric Universal bus fleet – operated by Whippet – has received an overwhelmingly positive response, with 20% more people using the expanded service in its first week than the week before.”

“Traffic congestion, roadworks and the partial closure of the guided busway create challenges in terms of buses being able to keep to the timetable,” the statement said.

“Whippet has recently launched a new website and app which enables improved tracking of buses on the network. The University is working closely with Whippet to ensure that the user experience is as positive as possible,” the partners concluded.