Tuesday 17 July 2018

'It is dreadful' - meet the students travelling up to six hours a day just to go to college

Rachel Farrell

As the price of rent continues to rise, more and more students are choosing to commute long distances to college every day.

From studying to socialising, the life of a student can be busy and jam-packed. While many can go straight home nearby after lectures to cook and sleep, other students face a two to three-hour bus journey back home.

Students studying in the capital are opting to endure these lengthy daily round-trips home because they can't afford to rent in Dublin. 

In March, students at DCU fought back against a price hike at Shanowen Square Student Residence, charging €8,695 for an eight-month period. 

Results from DIT's annual campus life survey shows that average student rents are expected to climb to €541 per month in the capital in September, an increase of 6.5pc from last year.

We spoke to students that choose to travel to college about why they commute, and the impact commuting has had on their college lives so far. 

Victoria Edwards (19) commutes from Monaghan to Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT)

"I just finished second year of Business and Management in DIT. I lived in Dublin for the entirety of first year and semester one of second year. The rent was about €410 a month which was expensive for what we were getting. I had a small double room and shared it with my boyfriend from September 2017. In the first week of December, our landlord gave us five days to move out.

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Victoria Edwards

"I commuted due to the fact rent was expensive and hard to find for a long-term stay. I would commute from Monaghan town four days a week and it cost me €20.50 per day on Bus Eireann.

"It was difficult to get to Dublin on time as the bus I availed of only left Monaghan every two hours and would sometimes be full by the time it reached Monaghan, meaning I would have to wait on the next bus. The commute would take roughly two hours. At the moment, I’m currently looking for accommodation for third year as I have an internship starting in March that will require me to live in Dublin. 

"It definitely had a negative impact on my studies. I was in college until at least 5pm every day in lectures and then facing the commute home was dreadful. I tried to do some reading or some assignments, but I would be exhausted by the time I got on the bus."

Alan McKenna (19) commutes from Meath to University College Dublin (UCD)

"I study Social Science at UCD and will be entering second year in September. I commuted to college by bus for the duration of first year, primarily due the high cost of renting in Dublin. Because there is no direct Bus Éireann route connecting where I live to Dublin, I decided to travel with a private coach service based in Cavan.

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Alan McKenna

"Although it’s convenient having a bus pick me up outside my house and drop me right up at UCD, it being a commuter service means it has to take quite an indirect route to Dublin, stopping in most of the commuter areas on its way and extending the duration of the journey greatly. On mornings with heavy traffic or roadworks, the 7.20am coach has struggled to even get me to UCD in time for my 10am lectures. A ten journey ticket for this service costs €50.

"The long commute to and from college has been exhausting and having to rush for the last coach home at 6 o’clock has meant that very little of my first year has been spent enjoying nights out or society events in the evenings, unless someone has been kind enough to offer me a place to sleep. I’m hoping to have better luck finding somewhere to rent in Dublin next year, but a bed in a twin room close to UCD costs more than twice the cost of my commute per month. It's difficult to be optimistic at this point."

Nicole Curran (21) commutes from Carlow to Dublin City University (DCU)

"I study Communications in DCU and I will be entering my third and final year this September. I have commuted from south Kildare/Carlow to DCU for the past two years. My journey can take anywhere from two to three hours in each direction, everyday depending on traffic and bus times. I commute by bus as it is the cheapest for me but also takes the longest. A weekly ticket for the bus costs €50 plus €20 per week for my leap card.

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Nicole Curran

"However, finding decent and liveable accommodation in Dublin for this price would be near impossible. Being an extroverted person means I love getting involved in society life and things outside of lectures but commuting means this has had to be pushed back and I have no gotten to be involved as much as I would have liked. 

"I hope to not have to commute for my final year as I will be even busier with assignments but with increases in rent in Dublin this is looking very unlikely. I feel like it will be almost impossible to get through my final year whilst commuting as studying, reading and writing is extremely difficult on an overcrowded bus after a long 12-hour day."

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