From October 6 2014, the St Andrews night bus – originally piloted in May 2014 – will return to town. Providing transportation for University students and staff between key locations, the service will run between 10 pm and 2 am each night.
It was originally introduced following a series of sexual assaults in April 2014, in order to improve the safety of students and encourage them to feel safe using the extended library opening hours during exam season. These attacks highlighted the vulnerability of students who walk alone, even in a low-crime area.
However the return is not just to improve the safety of the students. Pat Mathewson, president of the Students’ Association, stated that it has been put in place as an “overall improvement in service and pastoral care”, a move that will be well received as exams draw closer.
A University spokesperson said the trial in May had “proved to be very popular” and that “some [students] even said it helped increase their grades.”
The bus is free for those who show their matriculation card or University staff identification card. The route will cover the Union, the Library and the outlying halls of residence.
However the Union could face criticism for not introducing the night bus sooner, especially during Freshers’ Week when new students, alcohol and an unknown town combine to form a potentially dangerous mix.
Mr Mathewson explained that the night bus was only introduced in October because “the proposal was still under careful scrutiny…and because adequate time was needed for the comissioning process to be completed in a fair and transparent way.”
Additionally, certain halls will be missed out from the route. This could create a concern for some students who would prefer not to walk unaccompanied late at night.
However, a University spokesperson said that scheme is merely an “extension to the initial pilot” and therefore there is the potential for any concerns over this to be taken into account.