New bus service on the cards for UCT

11 August 2004

UCT has unveiled an Access Management Plan (AMP) that could see the introduction of a reliable and safe university bus service system available to all staff, students and visitors.

After a process of consultation with the university community, the proposals will be presented to Council for approval.

Totally integrated with the metropolitan transport system, the proposed bus service will operate on timetable-linked, fixed routes, 18 hours a day, seven days a week and will link directly to various park-and-ride and drop-off points.

The fleet of about 18 35-passenger and two 60-passenger buses will be operated by an external contractor and will service routes including the two ends of the east-west metropolitan activity corridors at Claremont (Lansdowne Road) and Mowbray (Klipfontein Road).

With the current shuttle service operating mostly as an unscheduled taxi shuttle and posing a cash-handling risk to the mainly residence students who make use of it, the new bus service will improve the safety of those in transit through:

  • minimal waiting at stops
  • continuity with public transport
  • sophisticated compliance equipment so that no cash will be handled on board
  • transport costs, which will not be a factor in travel mode decisions
  • exclusivity of passengers.

According to deputy vice-chancellor Professor Martin Hall, the AMP aims to create equitable, balanced and sustainable access to UCT through the development of a combination of physical infrastructure (paths, roadways, parking areas), hardware (mass transport) and mechanisms (rules, pricing).

"The proposed Access Management Plan seeks to improve access equity, quality of life and the environment as well as the safety of our staff and students in transit.

"The plan caters for the majority of students who don't bring cars onto campus and offers a viable alternative to the car as the preferred mode of access," he added.

Hall explained the R7-million annual cost of the service would be met from a range of sources, including parking charges, revenue from traffic fines and the consolidation of transport provision in student fees, making unlimited access to the bus service a standard benefit to students.

Currently, staff and student parking on UCT's campuses is heavily subsidised against benchmarks for parking charges in general. It is proposed that the current level of subsidy be reduced, as a disincentive to the use of cars on campus.

In the proposal presented to staff and students, this would have the effect of increasing the cost of all parking by 20% in 2005.

In an attempt to deal with the overselling of student disks (approximately 4 000 disks are sold while only 1 000 bays are available on upper campus), insufficient parking bays (4 700 people visit the upper campus each month yet there are only 78 visitor parking bays available) and diminished public transport services, the AMP is set to elevate the needs of pedestrians over those of vehicles.

"We want to achieve a shift away from the motor vehicle as the preferred mode of access," said Hall. "We want to make the university a more people-friendly, public space and provide greater access to visitors to all campuses.

"It is also our aim to improve the safety and ease of access on foot and to promote two-wheeled access and car pools or lift clubs by offering incentives."

While 2004 has seen the implementation and promotion of the Falmouth Road north park-and-ride facility, the extensive rollout plan is expected to start in 2005 with the following:

  • Implementation of the bus service
  • Improvement of upper campus visitor parking
  • Parking at the Rosebank station implemented and promoted
  • Levy imposed and parking charges increased
  • Parking fines increased with the removal of privileges for serial offenders
  • Further park and ride options explored.

All staff and students are invited to attend a presentation and Q&A session on the proposed plan. Consultation sessions will be held on the following dates: August 16, Jameson Hall, 13h00-14h45; and August 18, RW James Building, 13h00-14h45.

UCT staff and students are also invited to send their comments on the proposed Access Management Plan to by no later than August 20. All comments will be taken into account in presenting the plan to the university's Council.

A briefing document is available on this website under the heading UCT news.

Feedback on the outcome will be communicated to the university community via e-mail, the web and the Monday Paper, subsequent to the Council meeting.

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