Saturday 1 October 2016

‘Commuting was cheaper – and I could look forward to a nice bed’

Published 17/06/2016 | 02:30

DCU student Mike McLaughlin from Mullingar, Co Westmeath. Photo: James Flynn
DCU student Mike McLaughlin from Mullingar, Co Westmeath. Photo: James Flynn

Many students are commuting long-distances to college on a daily basis as a way of avoiding high accommodation costs.

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Better roads, including motorways, have speeded up journey times, making car-pooling a popular option for college-goers.

DCU computing student Mike McLaughlin spent his second year at college driving between Mullingar and the capital, sharing the cost of the commute with friends who joined him.

In his first year, he said he was lucky with the location of his accommodation, which cost about €330 per month.

When it came to the following year, “we sat down  with a laptop and looked for something suitable, but it was very expensive”, said Mike (21). 

They hit on the commuting idea and his father obliged with his car.

Mike reckons the 160km round trip costs about €30 a day, tolls included, amounting to €150 for a five-day week – but that was much reduced by contributions from passengers. 

A student living in purpose-built accommodation in Dublin in the next academic year can expect to pay an average of €150 a week, with food and other living costs on top of that. Mike said the year commuting “was tough enough going”, pointing to the early starts and, if he wanted to stay on in the library, a late return journey home.

The upside was that it was cheaper and he didn’t have to worry about making a budget stretch, not to mention home comforts: “Driving home, I would look forward to a nice dinner and a nice bed.”

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