Winter is here which makes the thought of a morning commute a cold one. No one wants to spend their mornings waiting on a dark platform or at a cold bus stop, however this is the reality for 62% of Maynooth’s student population. I myself commute and have been for the duration of my degree (I am now in third year). After almost three years of travelling to college by train and bus I have mastered the art of commuting. In the beginning I found the commute difficult and slightly daunting however now I could do it in my sleep (which sometimes I do). So for any first years out there struggling with their commute don’t worry it gets easier, much easier.
The commuter train is how a large majority of commuters make their way to college, especially if their coming from areas in Dublin. The train in my experience is a great mode of public transport. They’re efficient and there’s no traffic however sometimes weather conditions can cause delays. Another positive aspect of travelling to college by train is that you’re going against the movement of people as most people commute into Dublin city in the morning as opposed to out to Maynooth. This means that a seat is almost always guaranteed and a comfortable journey results. The trains are also pretty regular and the station isn’t far from the campus, it’s about a 10 minuet walk maximum. One thing to watch out for is direct trains. Some of the trains going towards the city centre go direct to Connolly and don’t stop at any stations in-between so make sure you know what time the direct trains are at or you could find yourself in Connolly instead of Clonsilla which is enough to ruin anyone’s day. Once you have your head wrapped around this the timetable is easy to understand and commuting to college by train is perfectly do-able and is done by a huge amount of the student body.
When it comes to commuting by bus it is usually people coming from surrounding towns such as Leixlip, Celbridge and Lucan that avail of this service. The 67 and 66 are the two buses that service Maynooth and both come from Merrion square through Lucan, Lexslip and Celbridge. The buses take a long time to get to the city center so if that’s where you’re going the train is by far the best option. But if your living in a neighbouring town the bus is a perfect way of commuting. There are also private bus companies that service Maynooth from places that are slightly further away such as Drogheda and Cavan. Whilst these buses aren’t that regular they are comfortable and very reliable and do the job in getting you from point A to point B.
One of the biggest advantages of commuting to college is cost. On campus accommodation ranges from €2820 a year for a shared bunk room with communal bathrooms to €6100 a year for a single room with an en-suite. Off campus accommodation falls within this range as well. Getting accommodation both on and off campus is very expensive as well as extremely competitive. A growth in the student population of Maynooth university has resulted in a growing demand for accommodation which has inevitably resulted in increase in rent. Students pay an average off €500 – €600 a month on accommodation when in comparison to this any student who uses a leap card spends €120 a month on transportation as student leap cards cap at €30 a week. The financial benefits of commuting are very obvious when a comparison like this is made and makes a huge contribution to the advantages of commuting
When it comes to social life and going out commuting can become a slight problem but a problem that can be easily overcome. The first way of doing this is by simply bunking in with friends and while you don’t want to become that friend who scabs a night on the couch every other night staying with a friend every now and again is usually no problem and solves the problem easily. If you find that you’ve fallen in with a group of friends who all commute that’s also no problem. Taxi’s to Dublin aren’t as expensive as one would think, usually they cost between €50 – €70 depending on where you’re going. This may seem a bit steep but if you get a group together it’s never more than €20 each which is definitely do-able to facilitate a night in the Roost every now and again. The SU are constantly working on ways to integrate commuters into student life so keep an eye out for commuter friendly events hosted by the SU.
So if you’re a first year or are in any year as a matter of fact commuting is not as horrific as it seems and is definitely a viable option when it comes to getting to college. The financial benefits are obvious and with a good playlist, book or podcast commuting can be a relaxing, enjoyable part of your day.