If you live outside of Wollongong, then travelling to and from uni can be a lengthy task to repeat several days a week. Aside from working, studying, and balancing a social life, travelling is one of the main factors that can heavily effect a students university experience.
In my area, there are essentially 3 ways you can get to uni which are; by driving, catching the bus, or taking the train. Most students who live in my area catch the 887 bus route which travels between Campbelltown and Wollongong. The average bus ride takes about 45-50 minutes to arrive to the university. However, in the past there have been many issues surrounding the 887 bus, one in particular being the bus timetable. The bus timetable has caused stress and difficulty for most students that I have encountered as it serves at inconvenient times.
In the past, the number one issue with the timetable is that on the way back from Wollongong, there is only ONE bus every hour until the last bus at 6:45pm. However get this – no 887 busses come to UOW between 12:45pm to 3:45pm. This means for example, if you finish a tutorial or a lecture at 1:30pm, you have to wait almost 2 hours before the next bus arrives. How crazy is that! As there is a 3 hour break, you can imagine the amount of students that wait for the 3:45pm bus to get home. This rises up another issue that the timetable has caused which is overcrowding. Overcrowding is a common factor with most of the busses surrounding the 3 hour time gap with the 887 bus. This has allowed a number of students to stand up throughout the isles for the whole duration of the trip back to Campbelltown. Most students have tried to incorporate this timetable into their uni schedules by working around the inconvenient times so they don’t finish classes during the 3 hour gap. But either way, there will always be overcrowding and a rush to even make it onto the bus.
In 2012, Oxford Brookes University conducted a survey that states that almost a quarter (24.1%) of students travelled more than 10 miles to get to campus, while more than a third (34%) took journeys lasting longer than 30 minutes.
Due to the number of complaints about the timetable, 887 commuters have expressed their frustration with this issue by posting comments, having petitions to get more busses, even contacting Transport NSW to inform them of their annoyance. Campbelltown State Labor MP Greg Warren has spoken about this issue where he states “I have been contacted by countless students and their families about how the current public transport options for UOW students living in Campbelltown are inadequate… For the many students who have casual or part-time jobs in retail, hospitality or similar industries where they work during the evenings to support themselves during their studies, waiting for up to three hours for a bus is simply not an option.”
The University of Wollongong is well aware of this issue at hand and is trying to work with Transport for NSW to come up with a solution to the issue that effects students living outside of Wollongong.
More recently, the NSW Government announced thousands of new bus services alongside new train and ferry services as part of a statewide overhaul of the public transport timetable. This means that the 887 bus route will now have a bus running every hour until the last bus departs.
Although this is a win for the students living near the Macarthur region, it makes me wonder; shouldn’t the 887 bus be more easily accessible as the free shuttle busses that UOW provides for students living near areas closer to Wollongong? Should the 887 bus come more frequently like the shuttle busses?
This topic is relevant as travelling can heavily effect a student university experience. Personally I feel like when it comes to public transport, students living in the Macarthur region don’t get as much opportunities when it comes to travelling to the University of Wollongong. They should receive more buses to accomodate all of their students so it makes it easier for them and so they can enjoy their university experience more, and not stress about whether or not they can make the bus on time, or if it will be overcrowded and they have to stand the whole trip back home. The timetable can effect their overall wellbeing and can make them think, is this travel even worth it?
As there are more and more students from the Macarthur region attending UOW every year, shouldn’t they receive a more comfortable and convenient way of travelling to and from uni?
Collier, E. (2013). Why I live at home and commute to university. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/education/mortarboard/2013/jan/16/live-at-home-and-commute-to-university [Accessed Mar. 2018].
Dailytelegraph.com.au. (2016). More buses needed between Campbelltown and Wollongong, MP says. [online] Available at: https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/macarthur/more-buses-needed-between-campbelltown-and-wollongong-mp-says/news-story/ae4c1cb5e564dae820cb331c35d59165 [Accessed Mar. 2018].
HUMPHRIES, G. (2017). Wollongong university dealing with overcrowding on 887 Campbelltown service. [online] Illawarra Mercury. Available at: http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/4633211/wollongong-university-dealing-with-overcrowding-on-887-campbelltown-service/ [Accessed Mar. 2018].