Students complain about being late for classes and tutorials

Students from the Wits Junction residence are complaining that buses are late every morning, and this makes them late for their classes.

According to third-year engineering student and member of the house committee at Wits Junction, Minenhle Khumalo, this issue was the source of huge uproar during the first house meeting held on Thursday, 22 February.

Khumalo told Wits Vuvuzela that at the beginning of the year, residents thought the delays were happening because new Stabus drivers were still getting used to the routes, but the problem persists. “This is an issue we are still facing and we will no longer excuse it.”

He added that the buses had not been arriving and departing at the set time which had resulted in students arriving late at lectures and tutorials. This has also raised a safety concern as buses tend to be overloaded when they do arrive.

The Wits Junction house committee says it has raised the issue with Wits Services numerous times, however, there has not been any improvement.

According to the operations administrator at Wits Services, Tracey Boogerd, “Delays are as a result of traffic congestion during peak hours.” She added that in the event of accidents and road closures, bus drivers do make use of alternative routes.

Boogerd said student claims that delays were the result of the university cutting costs “are unfounded as there have been no alterations or reduction of services in the past two years”.

Contract manager of Stabus at Wits, Raffik Alli, who has been monitoring the situation at Wits Junction, also told Wits Vuvuzela that buses were running late because of traffic.

“We’ve been there the whole month only to find out between half past [seven] and twenty to [eight] the buses are coming late.” This is the time when most students want to take the bus to be on time for their 08:00 classes. “It’s just on certain days when there’s traffic, other than that everything is running fine.”

Alli suggested that students should try to take an earlier bus as the 07:10 bus usually ran emptier. He said Wits Junction was the only residence experiencing a problem.

However, this is not the case, according to a member of the house committee at Yale Village. Media Officer Karabo Selemela told Wits Vuvuzela that residents of Yale Village have experienced similar problems. “This is a very big issue that our house members have raised over and over again. It’s either the bus comes at its own time or doesn’t come at all.”

Selemela says the house committee has reported this problem but has also not seen any improvements.

Residents at Wits Esselen residence have also raised concerns about the bus service to and from the Braamfontein campus. Fourth-year LLB student, Nompilo Sithole, said “The time slots change, and are unpredictable.”

When Wits Vuvuzela asked Stabus’s Alli about the problems experienced by residences other than Wits Junction, he maintained that none of the other residences are having problems. “They’re not having any problems, none of them. There are no complaints coming through to us.”

FEATURED PHOTO: Students complain that buses are often late and overloaded. Photo: Sanet Oberholzer