By Caro Malherbe and Mia Swart.
The Wits marketing and communications department is changing the branding on Wits buses – but students feel the money would be better spent on maintenance and internal improvements.
Marketing manager at Wits, Ferna Clarkson said they were in the early stages of designing new branding for the outside of buses. The 90 Years of Celebration branding was outdated, but there had been no resources, such as time and manpower, until now.
Clarkson said that no repairs would be done to the interior of the buses at this stage. But many students feel that updating the exterior branding of buses seems insignificant compared to the repairs that need to be done.
Students told Wits Vuvuzela the condition of the buses was not bad but, if money was to be spent, they would prefer it to be spent on improving the interior of the buses. They complained mainly of breakdowns and broken seats.
Wits Vuvuzela caught a bus to the Wits Education Campus last week and reported that the hinges of both front seats were unclipped. These seats are meant for “disabled students and students with limited mobility”.
Mazvita Moyo, 1st year Medicine, said the conditions were generally not that bad, except for peak times. “But in every bus, there’s a broken seat. If it’s a full bus, people are going to sit on the broken seats…if you want to get to class on time.”
Mtwakazi Bula, 2nd year Medicine, said the bus timetables were “hard to read. Make it user-friendly and more accessible”.
According to Wits Operations Manager for Transport, Sue-Ann Reed: “The seats of the buses are checked every evening when the buses are cleaned and inspected. We have observed that the seats do at times unclip when the students stand up.”
The plastic clips under the seats were being replaced with steel brackets, which would prevent the seats from becoming unclipped.
Reed said the buses were serviced regularly. A safety inspection was done every 14 days and a brake test every 30 days. All the buses were sent for roadworthy tests every six months as required by legislation. Minor repairs and maintenance checks were done by the mechanics onsite when required.
Bus driver Freddy Mabasa said there were sometimes problems with the buses, but there were mechanics on standby to assist the drivers. If drivers experienced problems, spare buses were available.
Clarkson said the branding of the buses was paid for by Luxliner Coaches, as a service to Wits. But the artwork and design of the branding was decided and provided by Wits Marketing Department.
Luxliner have started to remove the old branding. Some buses have been spray-painted white in preparation for the new branding.
“We are hoping to receive the final artwork and design from Wits Marketing Department in time for the branding to be completed during the June/July vacation period, as fewer buses will be needed,” said Reed.