UCD Students’ Union have launched a campaign to ensure Dublin Bus resumes full service to Belfield during night-time hours. In a press statement on September 3rd, Katie O’Dea (UCDSU’s Campaigns & Engagement Officer) and President Joanna Siewierska made the announcement. The campaign proposes to end decades of struggles between students and Dublin Bus with Siewierska stating that ‘Dublin Bus are once again stopping at all times on UCD campus.’
O’Dea added that ‘over the past 30 years the evening bus service to Belfield has been hit ’n’ miss because of anti-social behaviour on buses leaving campus at night time. Bus unions (SIPTU and NBRU) told their drivers not to stop at UCD after 10pm. This meant that many students studying in the library, attending society events or training with sports clubs in the evening had issues getting home afterwards.’
The SU partook in the inception of a ‘community forum’ that will meet 5 times throughout the academic year. This aims to continue dialogue between UCDSU, Dublin Bus Management, Bus Unions, Donnybrook Gardaí and UCD Estate Services. One meeting took place in August and a further four will happen in October, January, March and May.
In an interview with the Tribune, Siewierska explained that if an incident happens ‘there’ll be a pause for an hour of the buses,’ the Gardaí will be contacted to sort the issue rather than having the buses not stopping at Belfield anymore. Such incidents will be discussed at the community forum in order to ‘air issues’ and enable a continued service to Belfield. She also gave further advice for students saying to ‘drop the pints at the pre-drinks, get the bus into town. Keep going once you’re there.’
Footage posted to Facebook on September 12th by Lisa Frank Murnane shows shocking scenes on a Dublin Bus from UCD. Young people can be seen chanting loudly and banging on the bus roof. A nearby passenger is covering her ears attempting to talk on the phone. The group did not heed an individual’s call to ‘stop.’
The campaign comes after a history of ‘very serious antisocial behaviour’ on buses serving commonly drunk students heading into the city. Siewierska added: ‘As a Students’ Union we are keen to ensure that this positive relationship continues and that buses continue to serve our students and the local community, while bus drivers remain safe at work. We hope that the small number of people who engage in this behaviour will act responsibly and respectfully when travelling to town at night from UCD and that all members of the UCD community will be able to benefit from a fully running service.’
In a website post and on flyers available at the SU Offices, UCDSU included some ‘Easy Tips’ for travelling on Dublin Bus at night: ‘Throw your drinks in the bin before getting on the bus. Don’t shout or cause loud noise – it can make passengers feel uncomfortable. Be sound to bus drivers – they are part of the UCD Community too. Don’t bang on the roof of the bus – not sound. Don’t jump out in front of buses – surprisingly this is very dangerous.’ These tips ended with a reminder that students can be arrested by Gardaí for harassing the driver or causing damage to the bus.
Conor Capplis – Editor