Uni-Link ABANDON NOC Students

Uni-Link can’t be arsed to go the extra few metres to NOC.

Exams are almost upon us and many diligent students are holed up at uni until the dark hours. However, students at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) have been STRANDED by Uni-Link. Despite the building being open until 10PM, the last Uni-Link bus leaves from the NOC just after HALF EIGHT. This means hundreds of Ocean and Earth Sciences students have to walk through the sketchy docks area of the city at night, in a city that seems to be plagued with violent incidents.

Ironically, Uni-Link was set up in 1996 especially for NOC students! Nowadays, many of the students at that campus feel particularly isolated from the rest of the University Community, something that is only accentuated by this decision.

For a company that makes a profit from operating in contract with Southampton University their failure to co-operate is embarrassing. With exclusive bus stops on the interchange and student halls, the University paying for all hall based freshers to have a bus pass and the fact that any student wanting to travel around will use their system you would expect a bit of sympathy towards the students and their needs. Their mission statement itself says:

Uni-link was created in 2001 to transport University staff and students between teaching sites and halls of residence, whilst also providing a service that is open for everyone to use

The big issue is that extending the route is not a problem for Uni-Link. For no more than two minutes extra driving students working in the NOC would have access to safe transport and avoid any potential night-time danger. We at The Tab feel that Uni-Link should instantly extend their services to the NOC to link into opening hours, because the last thing anyone wants to read is a story about a student being attacked or injured in the docks.

National Oceanography Centre Site Officer Katy O’Brien had this to say:

“I think it’s irresponsible to put students in a possibly dangerous situation, when the bus going into the NOC only takes a few minutes. I suppose it can be argued that the docks are safe because they have security at the entrance, but it is still dark and offputting, especially with the massive vehicles in use. It’s amazing that SUSU haven’t fought this themselves, given that they are running this safety initiative at the moment.

VP Welfare and Communities Frankie Fry told us:

I have spoken to staff at the University about this issue and have highlighted how concerned we are about students having to walk alone along a secluded road in the dark in order to get a bus home safely. The University have taken this on board and have assured me that they will look into this issue and see what can be done

Uni-Link are yet to respond to our request for information. In the meantime, students can call the safety bus on 07938875820 anytime after 8 and they will be collected from the NOC in around 15 minutes.

Update – We have heard today from Katy O’Brien that UniLink have backed down and are now travelling into the docks until the NOC has definately closed to avoid any potential issues.