Bus Éireann discontinued the 109A bus that previously travelled from Kells to Dublin Airport via DCU in December 2020 due to a lack of traffic from online learning.
Now, universities are back in person, but the 109A service to the college is still nowhere to be found, leaving many students in the Meath area no ride to class.
“It’s an absolute disaster, completely leaving hundreds if not thousands out to dry and making it not only harder but longer and more expensive to get to DCU from Meath, and I think it’s the stupidest decision Bus Éireann has made in a long time,” said Michael Power from Ratoath. “Absolute smooth brain decision and they need to bring it back.”
Eoin Cassidy from Nobber, who secured student accommodation, agreed.
“I used to have to only get two buses to DCU, but now my commute has become even more long and expensive since Bus Éireann got rid of the DCU stop,” he said. “Now I have to get three buses to get home at the weekend”.
When contacted by the College View on the matter, Bus Éireann simply said, “we would like to remind passengers that the core Route 109A timetable now only operates to/from Dublin Airport and no longer serves DCU.”
Local politicians in Meath have been trying to tackle the 109A issue.
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Transport and Meath East TD, Darren O’Rourke, told The College View, “a number of people have been in contact with me about this. I raised the issue of public transport to primary, secondary and third-level education with the Minister. The scale of ambition by this Government to address the gaps is wholly inadequate. On the 109A, I have contacted Bus Éireann and the NTA and urged them to revert to the full schedule.
Fianna Fáil’s Minister Thomas Byrne has likewise revealed that he had made “strong representations to the National Transport Authority, Bus Éireann and the Minister for Transport seeking that the 109A service reverts to its old route which took in DCU.”
DCU Student Union’s VP for Community and Citizenship, Ross Boyd, has also been working to resolve this issue.
“I’ve received many emails from students worried about the bus service, after being reduced from an hourly service to only one bus a day,” he said.
“Students shouldn’t have to be forced to leave at set times and then be forced to take multiple buses if the sole bus to DCU is full when the bus arrives at their stop, or miss college education altogether. I’ve been working with the USI to call on Bus Éireann and the NTA to improve the service back to pre-pandemic levels. With the reduction of services due to the move to online learning, it’s critical that with most students back, that this service is restored promptly for students in Meath who most need the service”.
The pressure has coaxed Bus Éireann Senior Regional Manager Adrian O’Loughlin to attend the October meeting of Ratoath Municipal District to discuss issues with Bus Éireann services in the Ratoath MD, according to Ratoath councillor Gillian Toole. Toole advised students to take a Dublin Bus service either from the Airport or Charlestown Shopping Centre, for the time being.
The college-term-only service from Navan to DCU will continue to operate Monday to Friday. There will also be a service running from Trim to DCU.