Rail strikes costing college ‘£500 a day’

Justin Rollings (Head of Marketing & Communications, 
Sussex Coast College) pictured outside Hastings Station. SUS-171001-132625001
Justin Rollings (Head of Marketing & Communications, Sussex Coast College) pictured outside Hastings Station. SUS-171001-132625001
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Rail strikes are costing Sussex Coast College around £500 a day and having a damaging effect on students’ education, it is claimed.

Justin Rollings, head of marketing and communications at the college, said the cost of running replacement buses and coaches for students is running into the thousands as rail services are set to be disrupted for a further three days this week.

“The college is committed to helping students achieve and attend the college,” Mr Rollings said. “We’ve had to put in some emergency measures which requires additional buses to and from Eastbourne, Bexhill and Rye.

“In doing so, that is costing us approximately £500 a day, so in all [since October 2016], it’s probably cost the college about £8,000.

“For us, it’s important the students attend and achieve, and unfortunately these rail strikes have affected our students quite dramatically, as well as staff.

“It’s rather disappointing.”

No Southern trains are running today (Tuesday, January 10), tomorrow (Wednesday, January 11) or Friday (January 13) due to the ASLEF union driver strikes.

Southern has organised 200 rail replacement buses each day to provide road links for essential travel from nine Southern stations, but warned capacity on the buses will be limited and journey times will take much longer.

But it is not only the cost which is proving worrying for Sussex Coast College. A number of its students are concerned their education is being damaged by the constant disruption.

Student Callum Macleod said: “I have been affected by the rail strikes in many ways. First of all, I can’t get into college easily and if my parents are at work, I have no possible transport.

“This can really affect me due to the fact I need to do work and if I’m not in college, I’m not getting the right education that I deserve.”

Some students said they are not getting into lessons on time, which means they are late handing in assignments, and others miss entire lessons, which lowers their attendance record and subsequently affects their chances of getting into university.

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