Talks over bus drivers’ refusal to stop at Belfield conclude

UCD students’ union and Dublin Bus say meeting was positive and agree to work on proposals

Bus drivers have been refusing to stop at UCD’s Belfield campus after 10pm citing antisocial behaviour. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Bus drivers have been refusing to stop at UCD’s Belfield campus after 10pm citing antisocial behaviour. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Talks between Dublin Bus and University College Dublin Students’ Union over the refusal of bus drivers to stop at the university’s Belfield campus after 10pm have concluded.

Following the talks, students’ union president Barry Murphy said that “the meeting was positive and all parties agreed to work together on a number of proposals”. Dublin Bus issued a similarly worded statement.

Neither the students’ union or Dublin Bus would be drawn on the detail of the proposals. Mr Murphy has said that hundreds of students and staff who work late in Belfield had been greatly inconvenienced by Dublin Bus drivers’ action, which the drivers had said was spurred on by antisocial behaviour among those who got on at Belfield.

He said that UCD had posted security staff at bus stops to ensure anyone engaging in antisocial behaviour would be removed from the stop and not allowed on buses. Nonetheless, drivers were “deciding to drive through long before they reach sight of the stop”.

Drivers had complained that crowds of up to 40 students often boarded the bus late at night, many of whom had been drinking. They allegedly on one occasion had pulled down a ceiling, while on others had rocked the bus from side to side.

Speaking to The Irish Times earlier this week, National Bus and Rail Union general secretary Dermot O’Leary said that he had not been invited to be part of the talks, saying that he regretted that “some” had “resorted to megaphone diplomacy” and not engaged with the drivers’ union.

He said that there was a history of bad behaviour against students alighting on buses travelling from Belfield.

The practice of not stopping at the campus had drawn fire from the Labour Party. Transport spokesman Kevin Humphreys said that it was “unacceptable to tar the entire student and staff community in UCD with the same brush and ignore their transport needs at night. This is both an equality and safety issue for students, and also drivers and their customers.”