Nathan Young looks into Night Time buses not stopping the N11 entrance
Dublin Bus drivers have withdrawn service from the N11 UCD entrance, stop 768, on at least two evenings, The University Observer has learned. The Issue was raised at Union Council on the 27th of January, when student representatives reported that their constituents were complaining about a lack of buses passing the front entrance of campus after 9:30 pm.
Historically, Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU) and the National Bus & Rail Union (NBRU), two trade unions representing Dublin Bus drivers, have advised drivers not to serve stop 768 after 10pm due to anti-social and dangerous behaviour by students. A joint initiative involving the trade unions, UCDSU, UCD Estate services, Dublin Bus, and Donnybrook Garda Station has aimed to tackle the issue with five community forums for the organisations involved throughout the year and a streamlining of reporting of incidents of anti-social behaviour.
According to newly agreed upon guidelines, stop 768 will be withdrawn from service following incidents of anti-social behaviour for that night only, and details of the incident will be discussed at the following forum. Garda involvement has also been prioritised for the safety of Dublin Bus drivers. UCDSU is also campaigning to students to disengage from anti-social behaviour, with a guide posted on their website advising “ 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”. UCDSU president Joanna Siewierska has also advised “drop the pints at the pre-drinks, get the bus into town. Keep going once you’re there”.
Speaking to The University Observer, NBRU branch secretary Sean Yeates stated “There are protocols in place agreed by the students’ union, the gardai, drivers unions and Dublin Bus that agree for withdrawal of the service when there is an increase in antisocial behaviour on any given day. It was as a result of these meetings that the bus service to the campus was reinstated and up to a few weeks ago all was going well. However a number of incidents on two particular days led to the protocol falling down and the drivers withdrawing the service”. He added a caution to students, saying “The behaviour of a small minority of students are the cause of these problems, not the drivers who want to be able to conduct their duties in a safe environment and this problem has been systemic for over twenty years. Should the problems persist as a union we will have no choice but to protect our members health and safety”.
Responding to questions sent by The University Observer, UCDSU president Joanna Siewierska said “Regarding our work on this so far - we have been working with Dublin Bus and drivers to ensure bus services remain in place as scheduled and we have rolled out a number of in initiatives last semester to promote safe public transport usage among students...We have not heard from Dublin Bus about any cease of delivery of service”.
In response to a request for comment from The University Observer, a Dublin Bus spokesperson wrote “Dublin Bus has been operating a full service at stops 767 and 768 (outside the campus). We have a strong and productive working relationship with UCD. Dublin Bus engage consistently with the college, UCDSU and other key stakeholders through our UCD forum meetings. A meeting is scheduled to take place in the coming weeks”.
The next meeting of the community forum is scheduled to take place on the 28th February.