Three Labour Lords and local MP candidate Sarah Owen joined students this week in the Unizone campaign, led by the University of Brighton’s Student Union.
Lords Bassam, Hunt and Jones stood with students on the steps of the Hastings campus, holding signs and an oversized Unizone ticket, calling for Southern Trains to extend the zone along the Mainline East route to Hastings – which would benefit students equally across all campuses.
Currently, the Unizone is split into two tickets, with the Worthing zone covering stations across West Sussex, and the Brighton zone covering those from the city’s main station to Eastbourne.
The campaign already gained success last year with the Unizone’s stretch to include Eastbourne as part of the Brighton ticket, but Hastings students have been left with a bitter taste in their mouth as they struggle with ever-increasing rail costs.
Sarah Owens, Labour’s candidate for MP for Hastings and Rye, said, “I’m proud to stand with students to get a fairer deal for people studying in Hastings, and thank Lords Bassam, Hunt and Jones for their support in calling for the Unizone to be extended to benefit students in Hastings.
Lord Steve Bassam of Brighton agrees, adding, “It’s time for Southern Trains to extend the Unizone to Hastings.”
The backing comes just three weeks after MP Amber Rudd announced plans to bring the Unizone to Hastings at the UK Rail Summit would indeed be going forward.
Sophie Cohen, Brighton University Students’ Union Campus & Communications Officer, is enthusiastic about the increasing support, and has pointed out, “Extending the Unizone will impact on so many students at the University of Brighton so we will continue to campaign for affordable student transport – we urge those holding the reins not to sweep this under the carpet.”
Southern Trains have responded to the campaign, confirming that the change is “under active consideration”.
The campaign continues.