The student is rarely a rich or frivolous when it comes to semester time. This is understandable. Fees have risen above €2000 and grants have been cut. Books can cost up into the hundreds and then there’s that whole area of getting to the college, in the first place. Yes, it may seem like minimal expenditure in the eyes of the Government or relative to the cost of other necessities but if you stop and think for a moment, in the long term, it really is financially draining. Student tickets, while cheaper than adults, are however still not exempt from any increases with the budget and the second they hear that the Dail are meeting, Dublin Bus quickly shoot in with another scheme to exploit.
As it stands, the price of a Student rambler for 5 days is €18.30 and for 30 days is €91.50. Relative to the €2.80 journey an adult will most likely make (cost depending on length of route), these tickets are a bargain- they save you a lot of money. Having said that, this optimist view also skips over the fact that bus journey costs are ludicrous in the first place anyways. In Belfast, for example, it cost £2 for an adult day rambler (which approximates to €2.40). There are arguments for the fact that there is a Bus Lane in the Dublin area (albeit one that is used a lot by others and doesn't operate in the built-up areas where it’s most needed) and for various other reasons relating to more populous area costs. The contrast remains strikingly clear nonetheless; that we are being ripped off one way or another. Still doubtful? Well, let’s look at the Student Travel card.
There is something terribly wrong with the morality of some Irish companies. A profit must be churned, yes, but can a student not be a student without having to buy another form of student identification? We pay our ever-rising fees and expect to avail of certain discounts with the ads we see (for shops like Topman), but then it transpires that a special type of Travel card is needed for confirmation that you are indeed a student (never mind your UCD or Trinity card). And yes, it costs money- €12 for the card and €3 for the photo. Without this, you are liable to a fine should a ticket inspector come on the bus (with increased reported sightings as of late). At least, it lasts for the duration of your time at college though- well, no actually- because Dublin Bus are frankly too ignorant to believe any course should last longer than a year.
Perhaps, I’m jumping to conclusions here though; in preparation for this piece, I decided I had better e-mail them and ask for an opinion on why these cards are necessary. Soon enough, I got a reply saying that there would be a real reply within 15 working days (at the latest). Of course, no answer came trough, so unfortunately I cannot give a full story of why things are as they are. One can only guess (accurately), but for now students will just have to fork out that extra €15 a year to avail of student status in the eyes of Dublin Bus.
I will admit that this opinion could be construed as very petty so please feel free to comment and say whether or not you think the student is being exploited on unfair grounds. Are we paying higher prices for an ever dwindling service (the matter of buses taking longer is a whole other article)? Or are we lucky to have this?