Public transport around college towns needed in student accommodation crisis

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Improved public transport around college towns would help in solving the student accommodation crisis, Éamon Ó Cuív has said.

Speaking in the Dáil, the Galway West TD said that Minister Eamon Ryan could “with the stroke of a pen”, act to improve “radial services” around university and college towns.

He gave the example that, until two years ago, no bus leaving Galway City went any further than Knocknacarra after 6pm.

“Unless student life has changed totally from the time I was in college, students did not want to go home every night at 6pm. They are entitled to a social life.”

He added that the addition of three evening and night services running up to 11pm have been “well patronised” since their introduction.

“That makes it possible for students not to have to get accommodation in the city. Students can bunk-up the odd night they want to stay overnight but they do not need five-nights-a-week accommodation.”

This is simply not possible if buses or other public transport services are not available, Éamon Ó Cuív said.

“I bet if there was a survey of all the third level towns around the country, you would find a very bad, patchy pattern of public bus services out of those towns, particularly in the late evening.”

Deputy Ó Cuív said that this would be a “quick win”, with it being essential to maintain the 50% reduction in fares for people under 24.

Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris said “As I travel around the country, it comes up that better public transport in rural areas could lessen the need for student accommodation”.

“In that there are students who would not necessarily move out of their homes if they had public transport.”

He said that he would take the matter up with Transport Minister Eamon Ryan.