UCT is very proud of the Jammie Shuttle service, which serves all the UCT campuses and residences in the metropolitan area. Now over 10 years old, this service offers a large number of students and staff free, easy transport to and from the university. A 2015 student project survey found that 38% of journeys were taken using this service (against 3% using other buses, 1% using taxis, 1% using bicycles, 12% walking, 1% using mountain bikes, 4% using the train and 40% using cars).
In 2017 UCT renewed the Jammie Shuttle fleet. The new fleet is diesel fuelled, a decision based on the terrain, the capacity in the country to repair equipment, and the current cost of electricity. As of 2017 the fleet consists of 18 Scania buses (12 metres in length, Euro V emissions), nine Volare midi-buses (Euro III emissions) and one Toyota Quantum (at least one vehicle is suitable for disabled passengers). The vehicle specification required low noise and lower emissions than previously used. To obtain these Euro levels, UCT buses use an additive called Adblue in the fuel, which reduces harmful emissions. South African diesel is currently 50 ppm (Euro IV) not the 10 ppm of Euro V, but it is an improvement on the 500 ppm Euro II diesel found in large areas of the rest of the continent. UCT also has several electric golf carts for our traffic officers and maintenance crews and Segway’s for some of our security personnel. The purchase of more electric vehicles is being investigated.
The cycle infrastructure project took a few years, with the first phase upper campus routes being implemented in 2013 – this included signage, bike racks and road markings.
It is difficult linking the upper campus with the lower campuses due to the very steep roads. Linking with the widespread campuses is also a problem due to the distance and dangerous roads. This might explain why the student survey revealed that only 1% of the UCT population cycle to and around campus.
In 2014 a bicycle rental scheme called Jammie Bike was launched with the purchase and UCT branding of 200 bicycles. However, only a few bicycles were leased. A new rental model was designed and introduced by the GCI in April/May 2017.
In 2009 UCT Ridelink was introduced, which is a web-based car-pooling system originally developed by students belonging to the GCI. Its aim is to share the cost of fuel, reduce carbon emissions, and make parking in a designated car park on upper campus easier. (It has not been widely advertised, however, which is something that must be addressed.) There are currently over 300 registered members sharing transport and making regular journeys to campus.
Land use & biodiversity
The Western Cape Province has a Mediterranean climate and is situated in the Cape Floristic Region, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to over 9 000 plant species, 69% of which are endemic to the area. UCT’s upper campus is adjacent to Table Mountain National Park. The university is thus situated in globally significant biodiversity resources, and is also home to a heritage-protected treed/forested area on lower campus. Biodiversity is considered a priority in the UCT Green Campus Action Plan.
During the redevelopment of the middle campus, an environmental consultant was employed and this resulted in a successful project to save a population of Cape rain frogs, which are red data listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In addition to this successful project, there has been further work replanting an area on upper campus with indigenous species in the hope of saving another population of this frog species.
There have been extensive attempts to enhance the biodiversity and ecological value of the estate by removing invasive alien species and planting endemic and indigenous vegetation, thereby creating habitats to support local fauna and flora and reducing the amount of water used for irrigation.
UCT has a pest-control programme in place that is used as a mechanism to control non-plant invasive alien species, such as rats. However, apart from bait boxes for rats and the occasional drain treatment for cockroach, no pesticides are used on the grounds and gardens on campus. To reduce pesticide use, there are reactive pest-control operations in place for non-residential buildings, coupled with building maintenance.
As of 30 June 2017, a strict smoking policy was introduced at UCT. Although not a smoke-free policy, it is very close to being one and is probably the strictest in place in the country.