Transport chiefs grilled at student debate

Gillingham and Rainham MP Rehman Chishti was among the panel members
Gillingham and Rainham MP Rehman Chishti was among the panel members
Thursday, 29 Mar 2012
Transport chiefs and politicians promised to work together to iron out problems raised by students during a debate at MidKent College.

Gillingham MP Rehman Chishti and representatives from Arriva and Southeastern were among the guests grilled at last Friday’s event, organised by the Students’ Union and hosted by its president James Phillips.

Topics covered at the debate included the scrapping of the Education Maintenance Allowance, the rising cost of public transport and problems with existing student travel schemes.

James said: “Despite students raising their concerns about public transport time and time again, it was apparent little was being done.

“Bringing relevant officials and professionals together in one place proved an effective way to ensure all views were covered and answers given.

“The panelists were very keen to better public transport in the local area but there were a lot of barriers that made this difficult previously.

“Lack of communication between the relevant officials and the student body was a key one, and it’s important we build an effective relationship from now on.”

Medway councillors Vince Maple, Andrew Mackness and Geoff Juby also participated in the event, while Chatham MP Tracey Crouch and a number of other local personalities were in the audience.

Mr Chishti said: “I lived here and know the transport issues, but to be honest a lot of it comes down to money.

“This country is currently spending more than £120 million a day on debt, so it’s not easy to provide extra services and discount schemes.

“But what we can do is take specific ideas to the Government and see what can be done.

“Can we do more? Of course we can. Let’s take politics out of it and let’s do what’s important – working together to improve travel options for our young people.”

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