With financial pressures on universities increasing, and a constant search for more market oriented solutions to provide higher education at a lower cost, England is to get its first ‘pop up’ university. Capital costs will be avoided by using the infrastructure of the Bakerloo Line. On paying their £9,000 fee, students will receive an Oyster card in the university’s colours already charged with £20 worth of travel.
Tutors, who will be on zero hour contracts, will travel in the last carriage of the train. They will wear a distinctive dark brown fleece with the name of the university in gold lettering, accompanied by a specially designed baseball cap. Off peak they will travel between Waterloo and Paddington, but during peak hours they will be available from Elephant & Castle to Stonebridge Park.
The setting of the university will provide unique learning opportunities. A MSc in urban travel management will require students to show from their Oyster card that they have travelled on every underground line, the Docklands Light Railway, the Overground and Boris Johnson’s ‘Dangleway’.
Psychology students will be able to study crowd behaviour under stress in the rush hours. Urban housing students will be able to interview rough sleepers at Charing Cross. Medical students will be able to run tests on volunteers who have run up the long stairway at Marylebone.
London Mayor Boris Johnson has welcomed the scheme as showing once again that London was a great world city that was coming up with innovative solutions to contemporary challenges. He hoped, however, that students would surface to study bicycle routes and the feasibility of an airport on an island in the Thames. He also hoped that once it had got established the university would consider establishing a branch campus on the Metropolitan line to Uxbridge.