St Andrews scheme saves staff and students money

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A pilot scheme between the University of St Andrews and local operator Stagecoach which gives staff and students 75% off bus travel has reached a major milestone, having saved its users over half a million pounds in less than a year. The university reports that the project saved £501, 351 between its launch at the end of last year and the end of August.

Reportedly described by some staff as ‘life-changing,’ the bus travel discount is used, on average, by 1,500 staff and students (those not already entitled to the free bus travel as part of the Scottish Government’s under-22’s scheme) per month. The partnership is one of several measures taken by the university to help to support staff and students during the cost-of-living and energy crisis, and has also resulted in the institution significantly reducing its carbon footprint by 448 tonnes of CO2e – the equivalent of 2,231 return flights from Edinburgh to London – in just nine months. Taking the bus instead of travelling by car has resulted in staff and students cutting their own footprint for each journey by 37%, it is reported.

Commenting on the financial savings for staff and students, the university’s Chief Operating Officer Derek Watson said: “The University places social responsibility at the heart of all it does and it’s right that we should do all we can to support our staff, students and their families through the cost-of-living crisis. The substantial investment we have made in this scheme, working with Stagecoach, has had a hugely positive impact financially and helped us make significant strides towards our ambitious net-zero targets.

“To say we have saved staff and students over half a million pounds is a huge milestone and I’m pleased colleagues and students see the massive value of getting on board with this scheme. I hope more people will see the benefits not only in terms of saving money but also in helping the environment.”

Commercial Director at Stagecoach East Scotland Sarah Elliott added: “The partnership approach between the University of St Andrews and Stagecoach has yielded excellent results in less than a year, showing a real commitment to carbon reduction in the area. Using the bus is already easier on the pocket than paying for fuel, parking and car maintenance costs but the additional savings available through this discount scheme come at a crucial time.”