Chloe Stockwell is one of the many DCU students depending on a good bus service.
At last weeks Meath County Council Meeting, Fianna Fáil councillors, Mike Bray and Paul McCabe submitted a motion on the 109A bus, which read: “That Meath County Council calls on the NTA and Bus Éireann to reinstate the pre-existing 109A bus service timetable which would operate regular services from Kells to Dublin Airport via DCU, recognising the huge numbers of Meath students that attend DCU, and that the 109A service and route is reviewed in order to make it more passenger-friendly and time-efficient.”
Bray, speaking on their motion said, “there are only two services a day, people need the bus to get up during the weekends. There is a social aspect to college too. Master students have late classes and DCU is one of the most popular colleges for Meath students”.
McCabe claimed that “this is a huge issue; people have been in contact with the NTA. 10% of intake in DCU are actually Meath based students, so a significant percentage of the population in Meath are in DCU, therefore their right to public transport should be respected. There is also an issue of safety, they are expecting students to walk to another location to get a connecting bus and to get back to Meath”.
Cllr Nick Killian (IND) said that “this particular bus service affects the whole of Meath. The problem lies with the NTA. A letter must be sent to them immediately from the council, outlining our views”. Killian revealed that a young female student got in contact with him and Cllr Gillian Toole (IND) about her journey, she left her house at 8 am and only got there at 10:30 am after taking a connecting bus to the college.
Cllr Alan Tobin (Fine Gael), expressed that the 109A was a really good service but that we also have to look at people who need to go to the Airport. “There should be a 109D that goes to the college and the 109A can remain to take people to the airport. One of the reasons why the service to DCU was cancelled, was because people feared that they would miss their flight as the bus went to DCU first, delaying them. It was a very profitable service; it didn’t need to be subsided but as I said there needs to be 2 109A services”.
Meath Live spoke to a student who used to rely on the 109A service. Chloe Stockwell, a MA in Political Communications DCU student from Ratoath told Meath Live, “I think it’s a mistake to cancel the 109A bus route to DCU, considering so many students rely on it all around Meath. Having said that, it was an incredibly unreliable service, and last year I began getting the 103 into college instead because the 109A was constantly late or never showed up at all”.
Stockwell revealed, “Getting the 103 home from college is a slight nuisance. I’m completing a masters so I don’t leave college until 8 pm, so trekking into Phibsborough just to get back to Ratoath is quite inconvenient, especially now with Winter, since it’s dark and cold early in the evenings. While the 103 is a very reliable service, the added expense of getting four buses a day takes its toll on the leap card as well. If the 109A is to be amended to include DCU on its route again, Bus Éireann needs to monitor the service better because it is in serious need of improvement”.
Another student revealed the long trek she has had to make, when she said, ‘ Yesterday my car was unavailable and I had to take three buses in order to get home to Balrath. I had to take the 140 Dublin Bus into Finglas, then a 103 to Ashbourne, followed by the 105 to O’Brien’s Cross. It was a tiring, time-consuming and expensive journey. I also have evening classes, so I can’t rely on the current 109A college service that leaves DCU at 5:15pm.’
Bus Eireann has been contacted for comment