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KNUST prepares for Ghana’s first GPS-enabled campus shuttle service

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Shuttle stop under-construction at Unity Hall (Conti) roundabout

Students of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) will from the beginning of the 2017/2018 academic year, enjoy the ease of moving around campus and off-campus as authorities are preparing to launch Ghana’s first GPS-enabled campus shuttle service.

The immediate past-president of the Students Representative Council (SRC), Samuel Amoako-Kusi (SAK), disclosed this in an exclusive interview with myJCR.com. According to SAK, authorities were impressed by the success of the SRC Off-Campus Shuttle Initiative thus adopted and decided to upgrade it.

Upgrade

Talking about the new features that have been added by the university to the SRC’s initiative, SAK indicated that the new shuttle stops will have electronic display boards that will show the arrival and departure times of the buses. All stops will also have a convenient and well-shielded area for students to wait for the buses.

Several of the shuttle stops, sponsored by UniBank Ghana, are already under-construction throughout campus and selected off-campus destinations.

shuttle stop at royal parade ground
Shuttle stop under-construction at the Royal Parade Ground.

SAK continued that because of the GPS-system embedded on the buses, several students are developing apps that can be downloaded and used to track the location of the buses in real-time. “So you don’t need to get to the shuttle stop to know the arrival time of the bus. You can track it on your phone even in your room,” he added.

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The new buses have access controls installed that have been programmed to allow entry to only students who have the electronic ID card recently introduced by the university.

Samuel Amoako-Kusi further disclosed in the exclusive interview with myJCR.com that the new buses which are similar to the “Mahama buses” in terms of size are already in the country and being branded. “They’re bigger than the existing minibuses that is why some of the old shuttle stops are being expanded,” he said.

Flat fee

He continued: “According to plans, the buses are expected to run on a 24/7 schedule and students will be billed a flat fee.” He wasn’t sure of the exact amount but indicated it will be  “around 50 Ghana Cedis per student per year”.

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When questioned whether it was fair for every student to be billed that flat fee although some students reside so close to their departments that they don’t need a shuttle for lectures, he responded that “in the implementation of policies, the focus is usually on things that will benefit the greater proportion of the students body.” He argued: “Even if someone doesn’t take shuttle to lectures, the person will surely get on one when visiting friends or when moving around campus for other reasons.”

SAK also indicated that the flat charge is reasonable considering how much a student could spend on transportation alone in the whole academic year. Students pay 70 Pesewas per trip on the current campus shuttle service operated by the university.

kNUST campus shuttle
One of the current campus shuttles

SRC Off-Campus Shuttle Initiative

The SRC Off-Campus Shuttle Initiative by the 2016/2017 SRC executives provided free transport to and from campus for mainly students leaving off-campus.

The initiative was particularly helpful to students who resided around Ayeduase, Kotei, and New Site during the exams period. It was difficult getting a commercial vehicle late in the evening to come to campus for studies or even to return after studies.

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The current campus shuttle operated by the university is restricted to campus and closes at 6:00pm on weekdays leaving students who walk several kilometers back to their off-campus hostels at the mercy of robbers in the night.

The SRC initiative, popularly referred to as SAK buses, was therefore a thoughtful intervention.

Appeal

Samuel Amoako-Kusi, indicated he is very happy that the new vice chancellor, Prof. Kwasi Obiri-Danso, has taken over the initiative. He believes Prof. Obiri-Danso has the interest of students at heart thus he is appealing to students to give their maximum support to the VC and the new SRC executives.

Fiifi Buckman and Samuel Amoako-Kusi
(from left) Fiifi Buckman (2016/17 SRC Vice President) and Samuel Amoako-Kusi (2016/17 SRC President)

SAK further expressed gratitude to the entire student body for cooperating with the 2016/2017 SRC executives during their tenure of office.

Story by Sedem Kofi Kudiabor and Eunice Ampiah of myJCR.com.

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