Reflexivity dictates that we are all participants in a world that we are trying to understand.
For now, my world is university.
Without students, a university is not able to function. Lecturers would give their presentations to an empty hall, academics would have no students to teach, and universities would not be able to source HECS fees to keep their doors open.
With all this in mind, why are universities so unaccommodating when it comes to public transport for their students? Students are encouraged to take trains or buses to ease the strain on parking, yet reprimanded when even the earliest option possible can’t always accommodate to the tutors standards – with the apparent solution being ‘just leave earlier.’
I have noticed an absolutely phenomenal increase in students catching public transport. Perhaps this is because the university I attend has stopped recording select lectures, made additional lectures unnecessarily compulsory, abolished parking lots, and are expanding over current infrastructure.
My research project aims to discover the sentiments of local and regional students who have no choice but to catch public transport to university. I especially want to extract responses from those students who have limited access to public transport and are forced to obey strict and irregular bus and train timetables. I am aiming to uncover how students balance their university schedules to revolve around public transport options, work rosters, distance to be travelled, and money spent each week.
I can extrapolate this information by interviewing a range of local and regional students who catch either the train, public bus, or free shuttle provided by their university. The interviews will focus on revealing statistical information, as well as any personal anecdotes the interviewee discusses. I am hoping to find anecdotes of travel experience on over-crowded buses and trains, and anyone on early morning or late night transport. Additionally, I will create an online survey that will allow me to gain and compare statistics of those who utilise public transport and those who drive by private vehicle to university, detailing how many times a week this may occur, and the general ‘pros and cons’ of both.
In reflecting critically on the relationship between universities and public transport, I hope to bring about an awareness and sympathy for students – perhaps even inciting a change about the way universities can provide efficient travel options for their students.