Travelling around the National University of Singapore (NUS) during peak hours – especially when you are rushing from class to class, venue to venue – is a frustrating and exhausting experience: irregular arrival timings, congestion on the roads, perennial overcrowding on the internal shuttle buses. I stay at University Town at the present moment, an area which is serviced by already-overloaded shuttle services D1 and D2. It wouldn’t be too ridiculous to posit that present situations (and peak hour travel woes) would be exacerbated when Yale-NUS opens next year.
I welcome the move by the NUS Students’ Union (Nussu) to look into the problems associated with the internal shuttle bus services, with the recent introduction of a survey (here). Nonetheless, I have personal recommendations with regard to peak hour commutes within the school, and how the survey can be enhanced.
1. Should the Office of Estate Development (OED) be looking to identify peak hours at the faculty bus stops, and of the corresponding bus services; that is, to take note of the heavy transition periods between lessons at different timings, on dissimilar days. For example, if OED recognises that members of the university congregate at the Engineering or Arts bus stop at 10.30am and 12.30pm, the increase in the frequency of the shuttle buses can be tailored to meet these specific needs.
2. Relook shuttle service D, anticipate the worst, and introduce new routes. As it stands, service D1 and D2 go through comparatively long routes, and are the only buses that stop at University Town. Increasing the frequency of the buses seems like a stop-gap solution, and will not be able to sustain the human traffic when Yale-NUS is eventually up. Could we have additional parallel services, which would have their own end-points (at Central Library, Computing and Business respectively)?
3. Enhance the value of the Nussu survey. I am no expert in quantitative studies, but I think a few tweaks to the current survey would render it more applicable, effective.
– Students should identify the bus services they take on a daily basis, and comment on them specifically before expounding on general proposals.
– Students could also point out peak timings when they struggle to get onto buses.
– The survey should also include the bus services which ferry students from Kent Ridge Campus to Bukit Timah Campus.
– Opinions can be sought on what the general populace thinks about introducing a system of queues at the bus stop.