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Problems and Improvements of SKKU Shuttle Bus: Past, Present, and Future

The inter-campus shuttle connects the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus and the Natural Sciences Campus of SKKU, while the buses in each campus are important for the convenience for students. As they play a significant role in Kingos’ daily lives, past and present Student Councils have made efforts to improve the shortcomings of the shuttle buses, but there are remaining problems. The Sungkyun Times (SKT) analyzes the improvements and inconveniences, obstacles, and the future of SKKU’s shuttle buses.

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Shuttle Buses of SKKU

Efforts and Achievements of Recent Student Councils

The Student Councils of SKKU have made various efforts and achievements, solving many problems of shuttle buses.

Inter-campus Shuttle

The inter-campus shuttle was first introduced as the result of the 44th student council’s endeavor. It was called the “document receiving and sending bus,” meaning that the faculty members boarded the bus first. Since then, each campus increased the number of bus services by one time every year, running the bus three times a day for free. In fact, the fee was \2,100 in the first year but it became free of charge the following year.

Humanities and Social Sciences Campus Shuttle

T-money (a transit smart card in South Korea) readers were installed in 2013, and only T-money and Sungkyun debit cards were compatible with the readers. Later, Cashbee prepaid transit cards and Woori Bank’s deferred-debit cards could also be used. The T-money fare was \310 because of commissions, but it became \300 the following year, with a coin-exchange machine also being installed at the bus stop for students who needed coins. Moreover, the 48th Student Council analyzed the demand and supply for the first time and temporarily raised the number of buses this year. They submitted a request proposal asking for an increase in the number of bus services to the management team on the basis of the simulation.

Natural Sciences Campus Shuttle

Sungkyun debit cards, Cashbee cards, and Woori Bank’s deferred-debit cards became available through the effort of the 46th Student Council. Students could easily get \100 coins due to the installation of a coin exchange machine near the bus stop in the campus.

Remaining Flaws

Students Complaints

Even though there have been numerous improvements in recent years, there are still remaining problems that many students are asking solutions for.

Inter-campus Shuttle

The biggest flaw many students are experiencing is the running time of the inter-campus shuttle. Many students think that it is inconvenient that the shuttles do not run in early or late times. Another problem students are facing is the number of bus services. The inter-campus shuttle departs from each campus three times a day, and various people insist that this is insufficient. The third discomfort arises from the “document receiving and sending” bus. Some students cannot board the buses because of the faculty members. Fourth, there are some passengers complaining about the air-conditioning system. Aside from the flaws in the cooling and heating systems, only the windows at the very back seats can be opened, leading to an increase in temperature in the bus and students complaining of stuffy air.

Humanities and Social Sciences Campus Shuttle

The biggest discomfort students experience is “the crowded space of the bus,” especially right before the first period class which starts at nine in the morning. Another unsatisfactory point is that the bus does not give any change, even though SKKU students have to pay a fee, unlike other universities. Other dissatisfactory points include some bus drivers being unkind and insufficient handles to hold on to. In addition, some students complain that there was only a temporary raise of the number of buses in the first term of this year, not a permanent change.

Natural Sciences Campus Shuttle

The biggest problem is that T-money is not available in the Natural Sciences Campus shuttle, and the interval is quite unprecise. There are some cases of buses coming too early or too late. Another issue is that the bus does not give change and some bus stops are far removed from subway stations. For example, the Sadang bus is 300 meters away from the station. There are also requests for more shuttles in different regions. The 46th and 47th Student Councils made an effort of running a “Jamsil-Gangnam” bus, but it stopped operating this year. Precise investigation of the demand and supply should have been pursued.

Structural Difficulties and the 49th Student Councils Plan

Improvements and renovations of the shuttles usually undergo the process of the Student Councils offering proposals to the management team and having thorough discussions. While many improvements to the current system have been mentioned, such as increasing the number of inter-campus buses, and solving the issues of fee and functions such as types of cards that can be used, there are still several structural obstacles that need changes. Firstly, the bus company is having financial difficulties. All three buses have seen deficits, so a drastic renovation is unlikely to happen. Secondly, purchasing more buses is a burden in itself, as more than \70 million are needed to purchase and maintain one inter-campus shuttle. Thirdly, the process of increasing the number of buses is quite complicated. The school has to complete a registration form and receive governmental approval, which takes a long time. Lastly, there could be a continuous cycle: if the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus shuttle were to become free of charge, the number of passengers might increase, resulting in the need for more buses. Arranging new buses is a complicated issue due to inadequate parking spaces and financial difficulties.

The management team, however, decided to solve some of the problems regarding shuttle buses in the coming year. As there is not enough information available to speculate the changes that will be made, the new Student Council’s role is crucial.

The 49th Student Council Sung Keum, which was elected in November, says that the holding cost for one inter-campus shuttle is \24 million. If they decrease the current routes that have low demand, they believe that it will be easy to secure the \24 million. Moreover, the Student Council claims that by using the budget efficiently, the bus fee will stay free even after the addition of more buses. Additionally, the Student Council is planning to install a shuttle GPS service through “Kingo SNS.” Students will be able to easily check if the bus has departed. If these pledges are fulfilled, there will be big changes and improvements.

There are still many complaints about shuttle buses despite many changes by past Student Councils, mainly due to structural difficulties. The management team and the newly elected Student Council, however, are determined to make improvements soon, so we can anticipate hopeful changes in the near future.

김하은  haeun047@naver.com

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