Proper rural bus services are essential for students who can’t afford or find a place to live in the city where they go to college Galway TD Seán Canney has said.
Speaking in the Dáíl on the budget on Tuesday, Canney said that in many areas of East Galway, bus services are “being taken out of the equation” due to cancellations by Bus Eireann.
This causes problems for Galway students going to college in Galway City, Limerick, or Athlone, he added, since many can’t get accommodation there.
The services that do exist are “scrambling” to provide enough capacity Canney said.
Deputy Canney highlighted this by speaking about a young man who has to leapfrog from Tuam, to Athenry, to Limerick each day, by car, bus, and train, in order to go to college.
“One young man got a place in college in Limerick and has to get his parents to drive him to Athenry so he can get a train to Limerick. He then gets a bus from there to his college. He then has to travel back.”
“I understand he gets a bus from Athenry to Tuam and his parents pick him up. He does that every day of the week because he cannot get a place to live in Limerick,” Seán Canney said.
“He has bought a car and applied for a driving test, but will have to wait 15 weeks for it. They are the challenges our young people are facing when trying to access education.”
The Independent TD linked this to the increased carbon tax named in the budget, saying that it penalises people who have no choice but to travel by car, due to a lack of public transport.
“I know many people who would love to be able to take public transport or to take the bus into Galway to work from the east of the county.”
“They cannot do so because the service is not available or, when it is available, the bus lanes are not in place.”