More than 1100 students have called on the ACT government to reinstate a bus route that travels through the Australian National University, amid fears a lack of transport would make it difficult for students to travel to and from the campus.
Disability advocates have also raised concerns about cutting the route, which travels between Belconnen and Woden and services the Canberra Institute of Technology campus at Bruce and the Calvary hospital.
Madhumitha Janagaraja, who has an immune condition and joint pain, lives on campus and has been using the Number 3 bus for the past three years. She is also ANU student association disability officer.
Unable to walk the one kilometre journey to the closest alternative bus in the city, Ms Janagaraja said she was unsure how she would get around Canberra when the Number 3 route was axed next month under the government's new bus network.
"I have very limited energy, I already struggle to get groceries, or go to see medical [specialists] and feed myself and I just think what am I going to do?" she said.
"At the moment I have to walk 300 metres to the bus stop and there's still a lot of pain in that. What I'm most disappointed about is they haven't given me any other option."
A petition calling on the ACT government to reinstate the Number 3 bus route or find alternative transport was tabled in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday.
Launched by the ANU Postgraduate and Research Students' Association, which said it had not been properly consulted on the change, the petition has been referred to a standing committee for consideration.
Liberal Candice Burch told the Assembly a 19-year-old female student who lives on the university campus would have to reconsider working late at night without a bus to drop her outside her college.
Cutting the route would affect the most vulnerable students in the university's growing on-campus population, she said.
Liberal Elizabeth Kikkert, who sponsored the petition, said the Number 3 bus had run since 1980 and the university had "grown up" around the route.
Disability advocates are concerned the loss of bus services from the campus of the Canberra Institute of Technology in Bruce and the Calvary Hospital, which the Number 3 provides, would prevent students from accessing education and healthcare.
The chief executive of Women with Disabilities ACT, Clare Moore, said the hill between Haydon Drive and the institute's campus was steep and paths were in poor condition.
"It's further to walk but it's also that if you can't walk and you're using a mobility device, it's a serious problem because of the gradient," Moore said.
"There's systemic issues around access to education for all people with disabilities, and where we've been making progress this is a real step backwards."
Moore said retaining the route would solve the problems with transport to all three locations.
The number of signatures on the petition was in line with the community outcry Women with Disabilities ACT had heard from speaking to students and other members of the community.
The president of the university's Postgraduate and Research Students' Association, Zyl Hovenga-Wauchope, said the petition showed people knew a bus route through a university was a good idea.
"I'd hope from the outcome of how today went, that any committee looking at the merits of [the route] would be swayed that it's a good thing," he said.
A Transport Canberra spokesman said the directorate was working with the Canberra Institute of Technology and Calvary to provide a transport option for patients and students.
Transport Canberra has redesigned the public transport network to integrate with light rail. The new network begins on April 29.
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