Changes to the Arriva 699 bus service have been announced by Liverpool Guild of Students after a meeting last week between Arriva and the Guild.

Additional buses in the mornings, and changes to the afternoon services running from the Guild, are among the amendments to the service. There will also be a monitoring system put into place, to check things are running smoothly.

The meeting took place on Friday 19 October, following a campaign by the Guild to improve the bus service provided for students, particularly around issues of capacity for students based in Greenbank and Carnatic Halls.

The Guild received plenty of feedback from students, including a petition with 400 signatures, which was presented to Arriva at the meeting.

“We want there to be a great 699 service”

Guild president Sam Butler told how the meeting with Arriva went well: “It was really good. They pretty much accepted everything we threw at them.

“We presented the petition, and emails we’d had from students. They were very open to our suggestions and changes and things like that.

“It was really constructive. We want there to be a great 699 service, and we think it went pretty well.”

An additional bus will run directly from Greenbank Halls at 8.10am each morning, reducing the congestion at peak time, allowing students to get to lectures for 9am. This should also mean more capacity for students getting on at Smithdown Road.

There will also be an additional bus at 9.20am from Carnatic Halls, to help alleviate pressure for students attending 10am lectures.

“A definite improvement”

Extra buses in the morning started on Monday, and students have welcomed the improvements to the service, with many noticing a difference already.

Michaela O’Connell, from Greenbank, said there had been a huge improvement in the mornings.

“I went out this morning and found two empty buses waiting. I got there at eight, to get in for nine, because normally it would take me half an hour to get on a bus, but this morning I got straight on.”

Referring to the afternoon service, she said: “There’s been a slight improvement, though not as much as the mornings, but the queues are definitely going faster.”

Emma, from Greenbank, said:  “There’s been a definite improvement, in the mornings mainly. There’s not as much queuing. Normally they come from Carnatic, and don’t stop, but they’ve been stopping more. It’s quicker, and they fill [the buses] up more as well.”

Another condition agreed with Arriva was to put in place a monitoring system to ensure the changes are being implemented. Monitors from Arriva have been on the buses, counting the numbers of students who are getting on and off, as well as noting students who the buses are driving past. This will remain for the next couple of weeks.

There will also be a change in the afternoon services between 4-6pm from the bus stop outside the Guild of Students. A taxi rank approach will be phased in over the next two weeks, focusing on peak times in order to help students get home quickly after lectures.

The Guild has received good feedback so far about the changes to the service. Sam Butler said: “ We’ve already noticed students saying it’s been better, less congested, and they’ve actually managed to get on the bus.”

Read the Guild’s statement here