Students dissatisfied with First Bus service

It has come to Concrete’s attention that UEA staff and students continue to be dissatisfied with the service they are receiving from First Bus, the company who operates the 22, 25 and 26 (formerly known as the 25a) buses which run from campus.

On 1st September 2014, First Bus announced that: “there are major improvements to service 25 which will now run via Unthank Road every 10 minutes from Monday to Friday”. However, this is not the level of service which has been experienced by UEA students and staff, with many taking to Twitter to air their grievances. Nicholas Walsh, a lecturer in Developmental Psychology at UEA tweeted in reference to the service between 08:00 – 09:00: “Dreadful bus service from @FirstNorwich for UEA staff and students. Huge delays for people getting in.” Others complain over lateness, buses generally not showing up, or being full when they arrive at their bus stop. In some cases, commuters complain that they had contacted customer service and received no reply, even after the promised 14 working days.

However, it seems as if the blue line, which incorporates the number 25 and 26 services is not the only line with problems, as students who live in Bowthorpe also express concern. Courtney Pochin, a third year Film and English Studies student said: “I get the 21/22 from my house and always end up waiting ridiculous amounts of time for it to arrive and find that some of the drivers are a lot ruder than those on the 25. Also they’ve been moving the first bus stops in the city centre around a lot lately, I don’t have a clue where to get my bus from anymore!” Rob Drury, a third year Film and Television Studies Student, added that: “It’s great that so much work goes into the 25/26 route but it’s not the only route that needs to be made better!”

There are also more general concerns that don’t relate to specific services, as Madeleine Hickish, a third year English Literature student commented: “I’d like to know why ‘young person’ stops at 20, when most students reach at least 21 before they leave uni”.

When approached for comment, First Bus said:  ì”The changes which were implemented on September 21 have seen resources moved from the X25 service to services 25 and 26, which has created more capacity.

“We are aware of occasional journeys where capacity has been an issue and we are closely monitoring this. It naturally settles down as student demand for services spreads across the morning peak. We make every effort to provide the best possible services and only operate double-decker vehicles on this high frequency route.

“Unfortunately we have experienced lateness on some journeys due to heavy traffic and congestion caused by road works in the city centre. These major infrastructure improvements are due to be completed in early November and this will, in turn, improve the reliability of the service.

“We welcome all feedback about our services and thank those passengers who have already been in touch. Our customer services charter states that we will respond to queries within 14 working days”.

Anybody concerned about the service received from First Bus are encouraged to contact the UEA’s Travel and Transport team by emailing or by calling 01603 592353.


About Author

geriscott With a blood to caffeine ratio of around 50/50, you can usually find Geri in the media hub nursing a cup of tea. After writing for the newspaper for every issue in her second year, Geri will now be balancing her final year of her Politics degree with running Concrete and working in the Union House reception. She is also the President of the Concrete committee.

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10 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Students dissatisfied with First Bus service”

  1. Will, while I think the other commenter – and I suspect I know who it is – is taking a bit of antagonistic line, they are also giving some helpful advice.

    They gave you ideas of what could have gone in the last issue – they all would have been a lot more interesting than what was put in this week.

    Twitter and Facebook are great tools for keeping tabs on what ordinary students are interested in around campus. Use them.

    You guys are learning the ropes, so it’s difficult to get things spot on at first. But take some of the advice above, swallow your pride and you’ll have a cracking paper.

    Listen, it’s all well and good running the Tab. But how hard is it to fill in a template given to you by a bunch of Cambridge students? You create a new product every fortnight – that’s really hard, and something you should be proud of. The design puts the Tab to shame too.

    Just sort the content, and make sure it’s written correctly. Use the BBC template if nothing else!

    And I agree that the VC article was exactly along the lines of what you want as a front page.

    Read your 300th issue. Would your front pages stand alongside the best ones in there? That’s your barometer of success.

  2. Saying all this, the paper’s design looks fantastic, especially given how little time you have had. And the website is brilliant.

    Tweak a few things and you’ll be competing for GSMA’s. Just get that content original and interesting. I mean, would you talk to your friend in the Union about students being unhappy with buses? Of course not, it’s dull.

    You want stories people will be talking about around campus.

  3. I say all this as someone who loves Concrete – it’s a great paper, and it’s done a lot of good over the years. I have only written this because it needs a kick up the backside. Get your reporters out there finding stories. I can’t stand the way the Tab came about and some of the muppet who set it up, but it is true that it’s putting Concrete to shame right now.

    Speak to lecturers; to the Union; to societies and sports clubs. There’s so much dirt to dish out, and you;re fiddling around with press releases.

    Put in Freedom of Information requests – you’ll be amazed to find out how much stuff the uni have to give you, if only you ask the right questions.

    How much does the VC claim in expenses?

  4. I was excited to click onto the Concrete today and find out that bears were indeed still shitting in the woods.

    Christ on a bike, when the Norwich Tab is beating you on investigative journalism…

  5. Yes, and the Pope is Catholic. This really isn’t a page-lead worthy. Come on, Concrete, get out there and find some stories. Good investigative features, not just regurgitating press releases and the BBC.

    And on the topic of the BBC, make sure your articles at least use that as a basic template for an article. Don’t ramble into the article. Sum it up in the first par, then go into more depth, then some quotes. The structure of most of this issue’s articles is pretty woeful. Have your writers use BBC, Guardian etc as a template. Pars should never be more than two sentences, and sentences should ideally never be more than 25 words. It helps your reader to digest the article quicker. Ramble at the start and you’ll lose 80% of your readers.

    And all this world sport news. It’s all well and good, but you won’t do it as quickly, or as well, as nationals. Report on your niche: student sport. That’s where students’ interest lies. Get out there and report on matches, interview sportsmen and women around campus and keep your top-level reporting to Norwich City.

    • Good lord, yes, thank you.

      I’d debate whether the majority of students actually care about student sport teams or not, but, c’mon…

      • Well they don’t want to read some students’ match report of England when they can just as well read Henry Winter for free online.

        • While this is all useful and constructive criticism, you have to remember that this is an entirely volunteer run paper. We come primarily come to UEA to study and work towards our degrees. Time is spent accordingly. Investigative work, while interesting, takes time. Time that I doubt few can really commit. Especially when you take into account that we produce a paper every fortnight (something The Tab doesn’t provide) as well as run a website.

          Obviously, we try our best to provide content that students want to read. And, given that the majority of articles are written by students and not Concrete editors themselves, I can only assume they write about the things they want to read.

          I think, given the constraints we work within, we produce a great paper.

          If you think you can write better articles, or have suggestions for articles, please do let us know. You can email any of the relevant section editors (addresses here: Look forward to hearing from you.

          I should point out that all views are my own, etc.

          • Okey doke: some ideas for ‘a better article’ over the past week:

            The Union’s colossal fuck-up of the online student society membership rolls, which has massively inconvenienced literally every society I know. The flashing of two female students by a man who exposed himself to them in the Village and on university grounds, as reported in the Union’s own weekly newsletter (ooh, nice tie-in for a think piece on the Union’s attempts to stop sexual harassment there!). The outrageous 10th October overnight removal/theft of a ‘Black History Month’ banner from the Square. David Beckham visiting Norwich. (Did any UEA students see him in town? Alas, we’ll never know). And just today, a UEA international student who was refused accommodation by two local landlords on the grounds that he might have ebola, a mere week after he presented a talk at an event entitled ‘Ebola – behind the headlines’ to a gathering of UEA Medsin students:

            Considering that the Tab and most independent (award-winning!) student papers at other universities are also volunteer run, then no, you have no excuse. All that ‘producing a print paper’ every two weeks means is that your news is two weeks late, with spelling errors. In print.

            No – as far as I can work out, all your actual ‘exclusives’ in the past two weeks have been either given to you by the Union (because hell, they need someone to report on their latest reforms, and who better than the paper they ‘exclusively’ fund to sing their praises?) or by sources who specifically informed the Concrete of their own problems with UEA. Even then, these are stories that few students actually care about: public changes to exam-sit rules that Med students were informed about in email? A rise in accommodation prices, which, like every year, is broadly in line with current nationwide trends?

            There are exceptions – this story which one of your news writers ‘Elliot Folan’ did, for example, is excellent investigative work – but again, hardly groundbreaking stuff. Rich university execs wine and dine 13 senior staff for a slap-up bash? Get me a chair before I faint in horror at all that ‘student’ [government] grant money they’re spending! (And the photo it’s illustrated with is a wildly inaccurate stock photo, btw, which is another of my pet peeves with Concrete. Would it really have been so hard, to get an actual picture of the exterior of the Chancellor’s Wood Hall house? Or cafe Vista, which they’re holding their next dinner at? Why do you even have a photography section?)

            Btw, just as an aside – if you think students write about the things they want to read, then, actually, they don’t. The way Concrete is set up, everyone on your ‘contributor list’ gets sent out a list of ‘story ideas’ from the section editors each week. Contributors are told to claim an article, and what to write about it by the section eds. When section eds can’t find someone to write exactly the same ‘world news’ stories they’ve read about in the Guardian that week, they write them themselves and stick a different name on them. (Tell me I’m wrong.) No, these aren’t student-generated stories. They’re whatever ‘late take on what’s trending that week in real news’ that they’re instructed to write. They do it because writing these articles is well easy, because they’ve already been written by other people, and they can helpfully still use it to bulk out their CVs.

            Try breaking that constraint and having a week where ‘you are the editor’ – one week where all the students on your email list are given no set ideas, and are instructed by their section editors to bring their burning ideas for on-campus news stories that they really, really want to hear or really, really want to write instead. I guarantee you’ll get more interesting stuff.

            And btw, Will, most section eds are English students. They have six hours of contact time a week.

          • Many fair points and some good suggestions. However, I am but the Online Admin (and Photography Editor: the quality of photography in the paper is another topic entirely, one which is being addressed – if you’ve got further suggestions, email me at so you may be better off directing your wisdom to the relevant section editors with article ideas, as I originally suggested.

            I believe it is incredibly easy to sit and type a relatively anonymous comment criticising the hard work done by a group of volunteers, but a very different thing to actually do those improvements suggested. As I said before, if you have article ideas (for the forth coming issues) then please do submit those ideas to the relevant section editors or write them yourself; it’s clear you have a lot to say.

            As for the way content calls work, that’s purely down to each section editor. The list of requested articles sent is, theoretically, a guideline. Students are welcome, and encouraged, to write their own pieces. I’m sure that could be made clearer, but that’s not really my area.

            Assuming you know the time commitments of over 30 people based purely on the average scheduled contact hours of one department strikes me as very arrogant and ill informed statement.

            This year is an almost entirely new editorial team, so it isn’t that surprising that there are improvements to be made. Hopefully you’ll get involved and help make these improvements happen.

            Any further comments not related to the article are unlikely to be approved, but if you have further comments, complaints or the like, please email myself ( or our Editor-in-Chief, Geri, at

            As always: view are my own.

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