How am I getting to University this year?
Like most second and final year students, I live off campus in Leamington Spa. There are pros and cons to living in Leamington, however one of the largest cons is the cramped bus ride to university most days. Whilst Warwick is moving to blended learning, with most lectures online only first term, most small group teaching and labs are in person, on campus.
This means that thousands of students are going to be going from Leamington to campus daily. Most students rely on stagecoach buses, which are normally rammed from 8-11am to university and 4-7pm coming back from university. Whilst the rush hour may not be as extreme as normal this year due to online lectures and an 8-8 day rather and 9-6, it is laughable to suggest there won’t be large numbers of students needing to use the bus to get to and from university.
Stagecoach normally run 6-9 buses an hour, with a bus every 7 minutes or so during peak hours. However this year they have decided to run a reduced service of 2-4 U1 buses an hour from Leamington to campus, and have stopped running the U2. This means that if you need to go to campus you may get a bus every 15 minutes, if you are unlucky though it may be half an hour. In addition to this, to comply with social distancing measures, Stagecoach have reduced capacity on their buses. They suggest that to avoid having to wait for a bus you;
Check and plan your journey before you travel, please be aware currently our busiest times are daily between 11am and 2.30pm. Be prepared to wait if your bus is full and try to travel at quiet times.
So to sumarise, thousands of students are going to need to go to campus daily, relying on a bus service running on half its normal capacity, with socially distanced buses. I don’t know about you but that doesn’t quite add up to me. This could lead to many students missing classes as they can’t get a bus to university. When I contacted stagecoach they responded that;
On some services we’ll have additional buses and drivers available, which may be used to help with demand, however our resources are currently limited as we need to respond to the increases in demand across our operating areas. For commercial timetables services, we are continuing with our advisory capacity limits of 19 passengers for a single decker and 32 for a double decker vehicle for the foreseeable future.
Meaning that at the moment the maximum number of students able to get from Leamington to campus by bus is 128. I have a feeling that more than 128 students an hour are going to need to campus this year, and that the queues to get back from campus are going to longer than ever this year.