Bus Scarcity: There are 70 cars for mini campus park - Transport Committee Chairman - OOU Campus Mirror

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Monday 8 November 2021

Bus Scarcity: There are 70 cars for mini campus park - Transport Committee Chairman

Says Students influenced the reduction in tfare

By Seyi Lasisi

Shortage of campus shuttles to and fro the permanent site has always been a challenge in Olabisi Onabanjo University. Every semester, especially during special events like Examination and  Convocation, students are seen stranded at the different car packs hoping for a 'miracle' ride.

Earlier this semester, the Students Union Transport Committee (SUTC) announced a reduction in transport fares across the different terminals and for all shuttle that ply the PS road. However, there has been a shortage of buses, especially at Mini Campus park for more than a week now. 
Though this menace is not new, Campus Mirror's Seyi Lasisi decided to probe into the plan and intentions of the SUTC with the committee chairman, Temitope Balogun, in solving the problem.

The SUTC for the 2020/2021 session was inaugurated in September, 2021and according to the OOUSUG Constitution(2014): “The committee shall attend to matters relating to the transportation of students at all time."

The SUTC is headed by Temitope Balogun - a 400 level student from the faculty of management science and has been working with his 8- man committee member in response to transport-related issues.

In this detailed interview, Temitope shares his vision and ongoing work with his team.

The excerpts...

The SUTC commences its operation after its induction on the 25th, September 2021.  How has the journey been so far?
Temitope Balogun: The journey has been stressful and going on well as planned as our utmost priority has been to serve the students populace. We have tried to do different things to make sure the school and administration run smoothly and conveniently. The journey has been somehow good, somehow stressful, but we are pushing hard to ensure we attend to things the normal way.

The reduction of transport fare on Campus. What is the motivation for it? 
Temitope Balogun: Yes, we have been to a different school; we have seen the way they have been doing it and we believe we can do it as well. Secondly, after our appointment, we have surveyed to ensure that we know what the students' populace need. We were able to conclude that students complain about transport fare that’s why we reduce the transport fare for their convenience. So, it’s not as if we just decided to reduce the transport fare, we have seen different messages from students that’s why we decided to bring it down. It’s what students need. We are still working to make things go in the right way. 

Drivers still charge 100 as transport fare while carrying five passengers per seat. Are the drivers to carry five passengers per seat or four per seat?
Temitope Balogun: Actually, for now, that was the instruction given by the management: to see how things go. We are planning for a meeting to revisit and re-strategise the real amount. The outcome of the meeting will decide the price will be #80( the proposed price) or # 100( the former price)

There have been complaints from students of the inconveniences that reduction has caused, especially with change. What do you say to this?
Temitope Balogun: On the inconvenience of students, before we the price was reduced, we have sent a survey to students and some agreed that we should do it that way. Besides, before COVID 19 that’s how they ply buses - 4 or 5 passengers on a seat. So, I see no reason why students can not just comply. It’s a matter of choice. We are still working to make sure that things are okay   

Temitope Balogun

The reduction has affected the sitting arrangement of the cars and buses and you are aware of school adherence to covid-19 rules, what do you have to say to this?

Temitope Balogun: During the meeting with the school management, we promise to ensure that students use their face masks. Once you are put on your face mask, you have fulfilled 98% of the requirement. You just have to use the face mask.  That’s all. 

There has been a shortage of buses off-campus and more frequently in the  Mini Campus park this semester. What does the SUTC have to say to that?
Temitope Balogun: To be candid, we have more than 60 to 70 buses around the mini campus. This was discovered during the SUT committee survey. Students have also been sending messages about the shortage of buses around the mini campus. We have tried to negotiate with the driver too. However,  we are thinking of introducing the SUG buses to start plying any route in Ago, mini campus and other routes. So, we met with their chairman of the Campus Shuttle Drivers last week and we are planning to allow the SUG buses to ply not only Pepsi axis. With this, cars carry 8 students and the SUG buses carry  'times two' of the cars. So, introducing the SUG buses to the mini campus axis will reduce the rate of shortages. 

The 70 available buses are meant to move from PS to Mini Campus only or every area around the mini campus axis?
Temitope Balogun: The 70 buses that are at the mini campus are meant to be there. We have the one at Oru and also at Pepsi. That 70, only ply mini campus.

What is the SUTC doing to ensure that shortage of buses is eliminated?
Temitope Balogun: Concerning the shortage of buses and the way it can be eliminated, we have been trying hard to look for a private company that deals with transportation and logistics that can bring their buses to school. We are trying to get to them but they are yet to get back to us nevertheless, we will continue to push till we get to our final destination.

We are also thinking of an alternative company. For the main time, we want the SUG buses to start plying all the routes and if that’s not enough we can introduce a private company into the system.

A private company is profit-oriented. Won’t the introduction of a private transport company lead to an increase in transport fees?
Temitope Balogun: I agree with you that private companies are profit-oriented. But, sometimes we have to agree on certain conditions before they can start operations. We can’t just invite them without giving them our terms and conditions.

The Convocation and examination week has to be the busiest week in the school. What are the plans ahead?
Temitope Balogun: Yes, it’s the busiest week in school. There’s the quote that says: “ if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. What we have in our plan is to get all the timetables for all departments and all levels to the bus drivers for them to know when the exam will commence and end. In the survey we carried out, we discovered that bus drivers sometimes don’t have the timetable and they assume that students aren’t in school again and they leave. The SUTC plans to get the timetables across to the bus drivers to work on them. For the convocation week and other major events, we are hoping introducing a private company will help reduce bus shortages.

The school park in the new location has no shade or cover to protect students or others from the rain or sun. Has the transport committee noticed this and what does the committee plan to do about it?
Temitope Balogun: The school park is the number one thing we are trying to make sure is successful. We have met with the appropriate channels and we have explained our concerns to them and work is going on it. We will make sure, with God, this will be done.

The appropriate channel? Which channel is that and when should the students expect the construction?
Temitope Balogun: It’s not a department and all that we are doing is for the betterment of the students. We have different channels that can pursue it as their project; the SUG, the SUTC, and also the School management. We personally just need to meet people to make things happen.

Any advice to students?
Temitope Balogun: Students should please adhere to whatsoever action been taken by the SUTC. It has been our priority to serve the student populace and it will continue to be our priority. We are working on behalf of the student and we can never inconvenience them in one way or the other. We will ensure the interest of all OOUITES should be our first assignment and we promise to carry out our assignment with utmost good faith.

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