It is fair to assume that any student who lives considerably north of UOW (think: Helensburgh, The Sutherland Shire, North/South Sydney) has at one stage complained about the public transport options available to them. When travelling home from UOW, these students face a lengthy commute (often over an hour) and rely on the express trains, as the all-stops services terminate at Waterfall. Not only are these trains hourly, but they almost always depart from North Wollongong Station at 39-past the hour – leaving very little room for error when tutorials and lectures finish at half-past.
Which brings me to the UOW shuttle buses. These northbound students are dependent on the 9N bus to make their train – yet it is often overcrowded and delayed, due to its high demand. There are usually two 9N buses scheduled to serve each express train; buses that often turn students away due to over-capacity. Just last week, a group of distressed students begged a driver to let them on, not wanting to wait another hour (or more, who knows) before going home.
As someone who is affected by this daily, I believe that a solution is both possible and necessary. First, I will research students’ experiences with the 9N bus, through interviews and online surveys. Informal preliminary questioning has already revealed that many students are unhappy with the current circumstances; but I plan to thoroughly investigate the extent of this issue. I will also talk with lecturers to learn how this may affect academic performance and/or attendance.
Additionally, I plan to contact the relevant bus companies and university authorities to access any further information if possible. This will include liaising with the UOW Transport Project Officer, to ensure that any solution is both practical and environmentally sustainable. Bus drivers often use customer-counters to measure student numbers, data which would prove very useful should I be allowed access.
Using this research, I will then develop several options or alternatives that could significantly improve the situation. At this stage, it is difficult to foresee what they may be; further consultation with students and the relevant authorities will guide my investigation. Ultimately, I am seeking to ease the burden on the many students, drivers, and university staff impacted by these circumstances. Or as Anthony J. D’Angelo puts it: