Shuttle buses: useful or menace?
Shuttle buses: useful or menace?
  • Oh Yoon
  • 승인 2010.06.03 12:10
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Problems have plagues the three-month old campus shuttle bus service started this semester to reduce the amount of traffic, especially taxis on campus.
The shuttle buses run on two routes one from the Ewha Womans University subway station and one from the Gyeongbokgung station. The buses run from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in 10 to 20 minute intervals and reach the New Engineering Building from Ewha Station in only 10 minutes. However, the potential convenience is overshadowed by daily hassles.
The Office of General Administration (OGA) runs two 29-passenger buses, one each for the two routes on campus and the buses are overcrowded during the peak hours when most students go to classes, roughly from nine to eleven.
“I have always tried to ride the shuttle bus, but I never could because there were always too many people,” said Lee Ji-hyun (International Studies, 1). “The buses may be empty at certain times, but during the busy hours one bus is just not enough. There are so many students lined up at certain times and that is frustrating.”
Bus stop signs are also a problem, as they seem to confuse students.
Lee said, “Bus stop signs are so small and unrecognizable that it is confusing where the buses stop. Except for the one from the subway station, I don’t really know where else I can take the bus.”The stops at the station are not always as convenient either. Exit number three of the Ewha Womans University subway station was always crowded but now became even more crowed after the shuttle bus service started.
“In the morning on the way to school, when I come out through exit number three, I see long line of students alongside the stairs, waiting for the shuttle bus to come. At a busy hour when everyone is in a rush, it is irritating because those people in line are blocking the way out,” said Song Hee-won (Consumer Science, 1).
Safety is another issue. The bus is designed to hold 29 people. However, during peak hours, more people get on than the capacity of the vehicle. This violates Article 17 of the Road Traffic Law Enforcement Ordinance, which stipulates that the maximum number of passengers in a vehicle should not exceed 110 percent of the stated capacity.
Considering the fact that the roadways at the Ewha campus are sloped and curved, with many speed bumps the students standing in the bus without safety devices or handles are in danger. When the shuttle bus is full, students also stand dangerously near the automatic bus door.
“It is dangerous for both the drivers and the students. When the bus is full, you can’t even open the door because students’ feet are stuck in the door,” said bus driver Yoon Jung-il. According to Yoon, during the peak hours, around 50 students ride on the 29-passenger bus, which is burdensome for the vehicle. But Yoon says, the roads on campus are narrow and the slope is steep, so they cannot run bigger buses.
Yoon said, “Some parts of the bus, like the break drums are starting to wear off, and it have been like, what, two months?”
The OGA recognizes certain problems regarding the shuttle bus such as tardiness and the safety issue.
“At the moment, the OGA cannot make the wait time any shorter unless we purchase more vehicles, which is unrealistic for now due to budget constraints,” said Na Kwang-sik, the traffic controller of the OGA. “But we are trying to fix the problems with the shuttle bus. Now we are planning on getting hand grips for the shuttle bus.”

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