The recent amendment to Jammie Shuttle routes and pick-up and drop-off points is just one of the many strategies being implemented, by the Physical Planning Unit to improve access and transport to Upper Campus.
According to Geoff de Wet, Head of the Physical Planning Unit, future goals in those areas include creating a Campus that places the needs of the pedestrian over those of the vehicle. This would entail shifting away from the car as the preferred mode of access to Upper Campus coupled with a reliable and safe University transport system that is totally integrated with the metropolitan transport system.
"These plans have been in the pipeline for some time but we face problems with the taxi industry and the licensing that goes with it. Public transport authorities have quite a lot of trouble processing applications for new routes," he explained.
De Wet said that to alleviate the problem of parking on Campus, students need to be offered safe and reliable transport that would collect them, not only from Lower Campus but also from surrounding neighbourhoods, where student accommodation is dense.
"We have about 5 000 day students who live in close proximity to the campus and if we can collect and drop off those students it would be sustainable in the long run, rather than these students driving alone in a car three km to Upper Campus," he commented.
De Wet stressed that the parking problem on Campus had escalated this year, with more students disregarding the University's parking laws. "Students are parking in gardens or sidewalks, anywhere where there is space," he added.
Though the University is struggling with issues around parking, De Wet said that they had managed to provide better visitor parking - a high priority objective.
The Unit has also come under considerable pressure over the last couple of years to ensure that the Campus meets the needs of the growing influx of enrolments. According to De Wet the strain of increased enrolments is felt in classrooms, laboratories and computer labs.
Part of the problem stems from particular student behaviour. "Student behaviour is such that if there is a first period lecture and third period lecture, both allocated to one course, students will tend go to the third period. This is when a venue is then packed beyond its capacity," he elaborated.