Recently, there have been a lot of complaints from Dankookians (students of Dankook University) about the buses running at the Cheonan Campus. Students, feeling the extreme inconvenience of using old buses, finally exploded. They say the shuttle and city buses running at the Cheonan Campus have a large number of operational problems. The Dankook Herald investigated, interviewing students and comparing bus operations between our two campuses in order to report any problems to the Cheonan Campus. All questions were part of a student survey which was conducted in conjunction with DKBS Cheonan.
Q1) What are the reasons for the irregularity of the departure and arrival times of the bus?Interview with the student body
A1) As a result of implementing many measures to reduce student complaints as much as possible, our current policy is to leave when the bus seats are full, even if it is not exactly the scheduled departure time.
Q2) What do you think of the idea of expanding the number of buses because there are many shuttle bus users, and only two from Cheonan Station and only the number 11 city bus from Dujeong Station?
A2) First of all, it is incorrect that there are only two shuttle buses to and from Cheonan station. Currently, there are three shuttle buses running Monday through Thursday and two on Friday. The fact that only two shuttle buses are operated is a result of a consultation with bus number 11. As part of the agreement, we promised to operate only two shuttle buses to bus number 11 at Cheonan Station in the morning, but we have managed one more bus in service for students secretly.
|▲ Bus number 11 is the only bus Dankookians can take in Cheonan Campus besides school bus. (Photo by sky1ark)|
Q3) Some of the students said they had experienced reckless driving. Is it true that the school knows about the bus drivers’ behavior posing a danger to student safety, such as dropping them off on the highway or driving recklessly?
A3) We continue to emphasize to the bus company that it should not permit standing on board for the sake of student safety, they should never drive recklessly, and should always use honorific language to respect students. As for standing seats, even bus drivers are opposed to students standing, but they will only permit it if students are in a hurry. The claim about dropping students off on the highway was to transfer students to another bus because their bus had limited seats. However, reckless driving and rough language are unacceptable, so please tell us if you think they are too harsh. We feel sorry for the students on this point, and we will try to resolve it quickly.
Q4) Some students need to get off at places other than the bus stop. What do you think about the lack of stops to get off?
A4) Extension of the route by unauthorized companies is not permitted. We signed a contract with a tour bus company to operate school buses and shuttle buses, which are not allowed to stop midway. We will discuss this problem later.
|▲ School bus running inDKU Cheonan. (Photo by dknews.dankook.ac.kr)|
Q5) How about letting students use the faculty bus?
A5) The faculty bus operates by appointment only. Allowing students to use it will result in more students riding the bus than staff that was intended to serve. There are many people on the move because of business, but if we let students on the faculty bus, there may be no value for the faculty bus. Also because the number of employees on the faculty bus is not fixed, we are never certain how many employees will be on board, so we cannot give students a ride unconditionally.
Q5-1) If not every student is allowed to use the faculty bus, why can only some exchange students use it?
A5-1) Exchange students are transferring by their own volition. But, students who were forcefully moved as a result of the school restructuring are being cared for by the university, so they can ride the faculty bus. This is because they did not move by choice.
Q6) How about selling one-way tickets?
A6) If a bus needs to pick up and deliver students, it also must make a return trip. However, if students do not get in, the school is responsible for the costs and this is a problem. Because of the recent increase in minimum wage and oil costs, it’s difficult for the school to pay for it by itself.
Q7) Why is it impossible to use a card while buying bus tickets, and why can’t students get a cash receipt?
A7) The inability to receive a cash receipt is false information. It is available in the Elite Office on the first floor of the Industrial-Academic Cooperation Center. Other stores offer guidance only on behalf of students. The convenience store is acting as a substitute, and if sales are set there, they will have to pay more tax, so we are asking for them to please do it for the convenience of students. Also, if students don't pay cash, the bus fare will be higher due to taxes.
Q8) If the number of shuttle buses is related to the number of school buses, why is it impossible to expand the shuttle bus as the number of school buses decreases?
A8) We have discussed this with bus number 11. They argued if we operate more shuttle buses, they will change their route far away without coming on to our university campus. Under the circumstances, the inconvenience for hospital users and students is expected to increase.
Comparison of Jukjeon Bus System and Cheonan Bus System
Compared to the overflowing complaints and dissatisfaction stemming from the Cheonan Campus bus operation, students of Jukjeon seem to be comparatively more satisfied. There are several differences between the Cheonan Campus bus system and the Jukjeon Campus bus system. To begin with, the shuttle bus interval is different between the Cheonan Campus and Jukjeon Campus. The shuttle buses from the Cheonan Campus operate two routes departing from Dujeong station and Cheonan station. The shuttle buses run their first route from 8:20 to 9:20 and their second route at 08:50 and 09:00.
The problem is that shuttle bus intervals are irregular and as a result, inconvenience the students. However, the interval of shuttle buses running from the Jukjeon Campus is about every 20 minutes and it operates regularly from 8am to 22:40; with greater frequency from 8-10 a.m. The city bus schedules in both regions also show similar differences. The interval of the Jukjeon city bus number 24 is every 7 minutes, nearly 5 minutes shorter than Cheonan’s city bus number 11. Furthermore, the number of city buses available around the campus is different between the Jukjeon and Cheonan Campuses. Ten buses, including regular buses, city buses and wide-area buses stop at the Jukjeon Campus Dental Clinic.
|▲ School bus running in DKU Jukjeon. (Photo by zerocooltour.kr)|
So, Dankookians have many options to get to the Jukjeon Campus. People can also to take the city bus number 24 and regular bus number 720-3 on campus with no charge. In contrast, Cheonan’s city bus number 11 is the only bus that Dankookians can take to get to campus. This is such a limited option as compared to the Jukjeon Campus. Finally, the transfer system is different between campuses. Many Dankookians from both campuses commute by subway. However, Dankookians in Cheonan are still not satisfied with their commute transportation. At Jukjeon, Dankookians get off at their subway station and transfer to a city bus while receiving a transfer discount. But, when Dankookians get off at Dujeong station or Cheonan station and try to transfer to a local bus, they do not get a transfer discount. This is because Korail made a transfer contract with Gyeonggi-do Bus Company, but not with the Cheonan-si Bus Company. Therefore, Cheonan Dankookians are suffering not only from the inconvenience of irregular bus operations and lack of options to Cheonan Campus, but also from the extra money it takes to commute as compared to the Jukjeon Campus.
Dankookians have waited a long time for improvements to their bus operation systems and want Dankook University to solve the matter. However, nothing has been resolved and complaints are becoming deeply-seated. The university is not a non-profit enterprise, yet students are consistently being relied upon to keep it running. A school that forgets that students’ convenience should be respected, will never improve. Therefore, it is highly recommended that this one makes an effort to find out what students really want and address their concerns with genuine attempts to fix the problems they are complaining about.
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