Q&A with Thamsanqa Pooe

Thamsanqa Pooe is a member of the Student Representative Council for the 2015/2016 academic year as the Social and Community Development Officer, an Allan Gray Orbis Fellow and considers himself a “servant leader”. He is currently doing his BA in Politics and International Relations. He is one of the founding members of the West Rand Debating Union that teaches young people the skills of public speaking and debate in the area. He is now participating in a popular reality television show, One Day Leader.

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Project W launches ‘Uber Hour’ to take students to Bree

Uber Hour, an initiative by Project W, is a new plan to help Wits university students get to Bree and Noord taxi ranks safely after school. 

Wits’ Project W have created an initiative to take students from the Wits campus to Bree and Noord taxi ranks in Johannesburg CBD at the end of each day.

This project, which kicked off yesterday, aims to influence Wits management to implement the Uber Hour across campus to get students safely to their respective taxi ranks, said SRC transformation officer Thami Pooe.

Uber is an international transportation networking company that operates by connecting commuters to drivers through a cellphone app.

Presently Uber are sponsoring this service by providing ride shares with the Uber Van which will pick up students at the Wits main campus bus stop. However, Pooe could not offer the specifics of how long Uber was willing to provide the service.

Pooe said Project W was looking into a way to make the ride service sustainable.  He said this could work in two ways, either students pay a monthly flat rate or a small fee for every trip. Pooe said he hopes that Wits will subsidise the service, keeping costs low for students.

Pooe said a transport service to Bree and Noord have been needed and the “SRC have been promising [it] for years, and it’s not happening”. He said the university needed empirical evidence that such a transport service was in demand, and he hopes Uber Hour will prove this.

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Pooe highlighted that many students walk from school to taxi ranks and get mugged on the way. The reason for using Uber as a service is also a logistically viable option, having a bus travel to the taxi ranks can also be a “security hazard”.

Pooe said Project W has been conducting surveys since 2013, with the aim of getting a sense of just how many students have been mugged while walking to and from the taxi ranks to school. “We want to give that to the university,” said Pooe.

 

 

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