The University of Wollongong will review a plan to operate its own shuttle bus service next year after the NSW Government announced it would fund a free loop service via the CBD.Yesterday, the university's transport manager Tom Hunt welcomed the initiative, announced by Transport Minister David Campbell on Wednesday, saying it would help relieve the chronic parking problems in and around the campus."The university had planned to introduce a shuttle service for students from North Wollongong Railway Station, but thanks to the Government we may not need it now," he said."This new loop service goes close to many student accommodation centres and I expect it will provide a service for up to 1000 of them in these places and probably many more besides."With around 17,000 students enrolled for next year, the university believes this new service is wonderful news and, when added to a number of other transport incentives we are implementing, will significantly ease traffic congestion," he said.Under the government-financed service, nine buses will travel in both directions between the university, TAFE, North Wollongong Railway Station, Innovation Campus, beach, entertainment precinct, CBD and Wollongong Railway Station every day.Transport expert and Associate Professor in the university's Faculty of Infomatics, Dr Phillip Laird, said the free loop service should be seen as an important first step to improving transport service in the more densely populated suburbs north and south of the city."This region has been dragging the chain a bit when it comes to sustainable and environmentally efficient public transport," Dr Laird said.He said similar services were operating in regional cities such as Geelong and Gosford, where timetables are shown in real time along the route and services synchronised to train timetables.Dion's Bus Service director and Illawarra Business Chamber president Les Dion said he believed patronage of the new service would be high."It's time for people in this region to ditch the car, not just during the current economic crisis with all its financial constraints, but for the long term," Mr Dion said.Illawarra bus operators are expected to meet Ministry of Transport officials on Monday, to discuss who will operate the new service when operations begin early next year."We don't know what process is to be used to decide which operator it will be, or whether it will be more than one operator," Mr Dion said."No matter who eventually operates the service, it will be of great benefit to the city and residents in terms of ease of getting around and the environment by discouraging the use of the car," he said.