COLLEGE bosses are laying on free early-evening buses to ensure students can study safely.
A number of evening services were recently axed by bus operators after funding for subsidised routes was cut leaving many outlying areas of Hartlepool in limbo after 7pm.
Hartlepool College of Further Education’s new £53m campus attracts thousands of students, with many on evening courses.
As well as the educational and academic provision, the college has developed its social spaces and facilities. But many people face an ordeal travelling home.
Tricia Wetherell, head of division at the town centre college said: “With evening classes now underway and the Luminary open to the public we are aware that students will be attending college after 6.30pm.
“As there continues to be no public transport in Hartlepool after this time we are providing transport free to all students.
“The two buses will leave from the National Express bus stop outside of the college at 8pm and 9pm.
“The wellbeing of our students is of paramount importance to us and it is vital they know they can study and then get home safely.
“We are delighted to be able to offer this service which is a first for the college.
“Hopefully, it will help students to embark on evening classes in the knowledge they will be able to get home without any worries.”
The new service was launched yesterday and Route 1, a circular route covering the north of the town will take in such areas as Hart Lane and the Headland and the Central Estate and Cleveland Road.
Route 2 will cover the south and west taking in areas such as Greatham, Elwick, Seaton Carew and Dalton Piercy.
The eye-catching campus opened in time for the new September term and has thousands of courses on offer.
The new 19,000 square-metre building had been in the planning stages for over six years and is a flagship development in Hartlepool.
College principal and chief executive Michael Bretherick said: “The new college stands on the site of our traditional campus in the heart of the town centre.
“The building is more spacious, brighter, greener, and more advanced than our previous building.
“The new college was designed with a huge amount of input from students, industry and business partners to provide the very best resources for education, training, business and lifestyle.”
The new Learning Core is a space to study between lessons, at a student’s own pace and with all the resources students are likely to need.
It extends up through the three floors at the rear of the building where each floor has a suite of dedicated PCs.
A free wi-fi access allows students to use their own laptops, smartphones and tablets.
Visitors and students can dine at the soon to be launched flagship restaurant, as well as the Food Court and two cafes and visit The Luminary, a suite of related facilities dedicated to wellbeing and style. There is also a spa and beauty salon where people can enjoy a range of advanced beauty treatments.
For more information about opening times of various facilities and course information ring customer services on (01429) 295111 or visit www.hartlepoolfe.ac.uk.