‘I don’t understand why students need to drive at all’

Cáit Ní Cheallacháin says commute by car to UCC would cost same as four months’ rent

Cáit Ní Cheallacháin (20): ‘I find it hard to justify having a car when you save so much money by using the bike.’

Cáit Ní Cheallacháin (20): ‘I find it hard to justify having a car when you save so much money by using the bike.’

 

Cáit Ní Cheallacháin’s original plan was to study at UCC and commute to college from her home in Mallow. However, after sitting down with her father to add up the cost of insurance, tax, petrol and the NCT, she discovered driving for the year would end up costing the same as four months’ rent.

Ms Ní Cheallacháin (20) had planned to learn to drive when she turned 17 and even applied for the test but lost interest once she finished school.

She decided to move to Dublin for university. She lives near college and now cycles for an hour five times a week to get to her part-time job. She says her decision not to drive is partly based on environmental reasons.

“The traffic is so bad but it’s not something we pay heed to in Ireland. There isn’t much emphasis on sustainability with regard to cars. We take cars for granted, it’s just part of our lifestyle. But in somewhere like Dublin with the public transport all the cars don’t make sense. We’re recycling our plastic but basically undoing it with all the carbon emissions going out.”

Short trips

Ms Ní Cheallacháin says her savings on petrol helped pay back her student loan and left her with extra money for short trips with friends. “I find it hard to justify having a car when you save so much money by using the bike. You can get cycle paths on Google Maps now and it’s so much better for the environment. I don’t understand why students would need to drive at all.”

“I’d much rather have €200 set aside and go to Spain for two nights with friends than pay for a month’s petrol. We get to see so many foreign places online and we want to be able to experience that.”