The wheels on the bus (don’t) go round…


Education and medical students were not told about the bus schedule changes and have missed lectures as a result. Photo: Tracey Ruff

It has been a confusing and frustrating start to the week for the many Witsies who use the campus bus services.

Changes have been made to the bus timetable due to the midterm study break, but Wits Education Campus (WEC) and medical school students still have normal classes.

According to Wits Services, there are supposedly four circuit buses running every 15 minute intervals and two buses running every 30 minute intervals. However, direct bus services between Esselen and WEC have been canceled despite education students still being in lectures.

Florence Moloi, 2nd year BEd, said the “services have been really bad”. She said that on Monday there were no buses, especially in the morning and in the afternoon at 4pm.

Moloi said that many students were late for class on Monday morning and “people were pushing each other to get on the [circuit] buses to go home” at the end of the day.

Moloi, who stays on Main campus, feels that there is no consideration for education students.

Makaziwe Tshona, 2nd year BEd, said that although the situation was “a bit better today,” there have been no direct buses to WEC and she “has to wait for circuit buses which are full”.

[pullquote]“A lot of people are sick and tired of this. I’ve been waiting 35 minutes for a bus.”[/pullquote]

On Monday, Tshona had a geography lecture at the Planetarium that she was late for due to the lack of  bus services.

According to a first-year student, who asked to remain anonymous, “A lot of people are sick and tired of this. I’ve been waiting 35 minutes for a bus.” She said she wants to complain but “doesn’t know who to complain to”.

According to a tweet from the account of @moreki_m, “the situation at Amic Deck [on Main campus] and Esselen is so bad. Some students are even walking to Education campus”.

“Funny thing is, we are the ones who use the bus more than any other students since our campus is in Parktown,” tweeted Moreki.

When asked if he knew there were going to be changes to the timetable, Moreki replied, “we knew about the main campus break but weren’t formally notified that it was gonna affect the bus timetable”.

The latest tweet from Wits services on the bus situation, posted at 9:15pm on Monday, read: “We do apologise – there will be a direct @WitsSln [Esselen] and WEC bus  tomorrow [Tuesday].”

However, students have continued to complain on Twitter that no direct bus service has resumed as of Tuesday afternoon.

Wits buses, new branding

NEW LOOK: Wits marketing are designing a new brand for the buses that will replace the "Witrs 90 Celebration" design. Photo: Mia Swart

NEW LOOK: Wits marketing are designing a new brand for the buses that will replace the “Witrs 90 Celebration” design. Photo: Mia Swart

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”.

Unclipped seats

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.