Idlib’s new bus station does not cover all destinations, students not satisfied
Enab Baladi – Anas al-Khouli
The Public Transport Corporation, affiliated to the Syrian Salvation Government (SSG), the administrative body in Idlib city and its countryside, constructed a new bus station in order to facilitate transportation for students of the University of Idlib.
The bus station, which was established near the yard of the Faculties of Human Medicine and Education at the western end of the city, was a partial solution for students living in western and northwestern Idlib, but transportation difficulties are still present for university students living in areas, cities, and towns in northern and northeastern Idlib.
The decision was accompanied by a complaint from students who do not live in the towns reached by the new station lines and criticism that the benefit does not include all students and that the decision is “ill-considered, unjust and unfair to them.”
Colleges, universities, and institutes of study are scattered in separate areas of the city of Idlib, most of which are concentrated in the western and northern parts of the city. Most students are forced to go to the main bus station on the eastern edge of the city on foot or by internal buses and then head to their towns and villages outside Idlib.
A station with 13 destinations
The Directorate of Internal Transport in the Salvation Government created an internal transport station on April 9 near the College of Education to transport students from the city of Idlib towards the western and northwestern regions of the governorate, such as Harem, Salqin, and Darkush, without securing the movement of students towards the northern and northeastern regions, such as Sarmada, al-Dana, and nearby villages and towns.
The head of the Department of Studies and Development in Internal Transport, Hassan al-Shater, told Enab Baladi that the directorate established the station with the aim of serving university students, facilitating their movement, and relieving pressure and congestion from Idlib Central Station, located on the eastern edge of the city.
Al-Shater explained that the total number of vehicles at the new station is 325 vehicles, accommodating 100 vehicles, and serves the constituencies of Salqin and Jisr al-Shughour through 13 transportation destinations from which round trips depart, namely:
Idlib-Darkush, Idlib-Harem, Idlib-Kafr Takharim, Idlib-Salqin, Idlib-Hafsarjah, Idlib-Marj al-Akhdar, al-Maland-Darkush-Idlib, Bani Ezz Church-Idlib, al-Bashiriya-Idlib, al-Nakhla Church-Idlib, Janudiyah-Idlib-Darkush, al Hamama- Darkush- Idlib, Azmarin- Idlib.
The transportation fare per passenger starts from ten Turkish liras and increases gradually according to the length of the distance traveled and the intended destination.
Complaints, tiring daily trips
A student of the Faculty of Pharmacy in Idlib, Huda Sadeq, 24, complains about the difficulties of moving from her place of residence in al-Dana to her university in Idlib.
Sadeq’s trip to and from the university takes an hour and a half at best, and the student suffers from a delay in arriving at the university until after 08:30 in the morning and a delay in returning home until just before sunset.
Idlib University students suffer from transportation difficulties in general, which increased during the month of Ramadan, especially students residing in towns and villages relatively far from Idlib.
Sadeq said that she leaves the house at seven in the morning to the nearest bus station, and after waiting for quite a few minutes, the bus departs to Sarmada and from there to the city of Idlib, and the time to reach Idlib takes an hour at best.
The student added that the matter does not stop at waiting for the bus to depart from Sarmada, but also that the bus stops several times on the way for passengers to disembark or board, which increases the delay in arrival, in addition to the severe crowding on the bus.
After arriving in the city of Idlib, Sadeq, and other students take another bus for internal transportation in the city. The bus’s arrival time from the central station to the university takes about half an hour, in addition to the waiting time for the bus to depart, which means arriving late for the first lecture, which starts at 8 a.m.
For his part, Mohamad Obeid, 22, a student at the College of Education, who lives in Sarmada, told Enab Baladi that the lectures in some colleges end at four o’clock in the afternoon, and the students wait for the bus to take them to the central station for half an hour sometimes, and the time to reach the new station is about half an hour, too.
After arriving at the central station, students take the bus to Sarmada, which takes an hour to reach, and the time is around six in the evening, followed by walking from the bus stop in Sarmada to the house and arriving minutes before sunset.
Earthquake exacerbated transportation crisis
Hiba al-Salem, 21, a student at the Faculty of Engineering who resides in Salqin, told Enab Baladi that students from outside the city used to rent houses and live near the university to avoid the difficulties of moving to their towns and villages, especially in scientific disciplines that require full-time work.
Al-Salem pointed out that the devastating Feb.6 earthquake that hit the region created a sense of insecurity among the students and the parents doubly about their sons and daughters staying away from them, so a number of parents preferred not to allow their sons to live away from them until at least the end of the current semester.
In turn, Hussam al-Abbas, an agricultural engineering student, told Enab Baladi that most of the students were residing in the city of Idlib in the first semester, but after the earthquake occurred, a large number of them left the houses they were renting for housing because their families were affected by the earthquake and did not return to live in the city until the conditions of their families are improving and the situation is stabilizing.
Mustafa Obeid, a student at the University of Idlib, who lives in the village of Kafr Yahmoul, north of the city, told Enab Baladi that university students in previous years did not face major transportation problems, as students relied on private buses to transport them from their homes to the university and take them back after school hours. Transport worsened after a previous decision by the Transport Directorate of the Salvation Government to stop working with these buses.
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