How did BUG come about?
The idea was born in 2008, when the oil price doubled to $120 a barrel. That was immediately followed by a global credit crunch. One moment people were wondering how long they could afford to go on filling up their cars, the next they were asking if their plastic cards would still work at the pumps, how fuel would reach the island and whether they would have jobs at all, let alone a car.
All the time, in the background, the climate change debate was raging, focused on how to cut down on carbon dioxide emissions to slow global warming. In Guernsey, it was obvious that the bus system, for whatever reason, and with the best will in the world, was not yet up to it.
BUG began by approaching Hannah Beacom at the bus operator about starting a group of bus users who wanted to be constructive about changing the mood toward buses on the island. She was supportive – well, we would hopefully put more passengers onto seats in the States’ buses. She mentioned her plans for a new ticketing system, and the possibility of a free week during the change-over, which seemed like the perfect catalyst for a BUG launch. We would have something to nudge commuters about, straight away. We knew it was all about piercing that boxed-in, car-driving mindset.
However, that Ticketing Change catalyst was delayed several times.
Then suddenly, in early November 2009, the Environment Department issued a Billet on retendering for the Bus Operator in 2012, to be discussed at the end of that month. Plans had to be accelerated. So we launched on 16th November that year. And we never looked back.