Ask any student who lives in university-owned accommodation their opinion of Circuit Laundry, and they’ll say the same thing; it’s ludicrously overpriced and makes washing machines more complicated than they need to be for no reason at all. And for almost two weeks, the app has been down for maintenance in Jesmond Road and Windsor Terrace, further fuelling the frustration.
The mere idea of charging people for washing when they’re paying £4000+ for accommodation is absurdly greedy. And the thing is, it’s not even a high-quality service. The rating for Circuit on the App Store is a measly 1.8, which speaks volumes about how people view its services. £1.10 for the cheapest wash and another £1.10 to dry the clothes once a week for 40 weeks comes out at £88. This might not sound like a lot, but for a service nobody likes, it’s extortionate. And between hundreds of students, it adds up quickly.
When you’re paying so much for accommodation in the first place, extra expenses for a shoddy service shouldn’t be acceptable, yet somehow Circuit is allowed to carry on with its perpetual mediocrity. This is despite the consistent objections from students on a large scale.
Then there’s the issue of the washing machines themselves. There’s always at least one that’s broken. Given that student flats are often built as towering structures with only one laundry room between hundreds of people (or two, in Park View’s case), this isn’t acceptable. For the price we’re paying as a collective student body, Circuit should be coming out and fixing these machines the second there’s even a slight hint that something might go wrong. But no, instead we have to deal with 2 broken washing machines and a broken dryer, which just makes finding a good time to put on a wash even more stressful.
And as if that wasn’t impractical enough, because the app is down in my accommodation, I found myself having to use a top up card. Top up cards are just a nightmare to use in general, and when I tried logging into the website to put some money onto the card, I found out that the app and website use different accounts.
It’s things like this that give Circuit its reputation for being needlessly clunky and frustrating; linked accounts isn’t exactly a high tech concept. Weirdly, there was already £8 on the card when I got it, so it turned out that topping it up with extra cash was a waste of the £5.50 I put on.
Everything about Circuit Laundry is an embodiment of how students are seen in an economic sense; countless cash cows who have to begrudgingly pay more than they need to for services they’re unhappy with because they have no other option. We need another option, we need a Circuit breaker.