Dublin is a big city.
There’s a lot to do and see, and while most things are within walking distance of Champlain Abroad’s Academic Center and student residence, you might not always have the time or the energy to get places on your own two legs. Lucky for you, Dublin has some of the best public transportation systems in Ireland. And perhaps the most notable mode of travel among them is Dublin Bus.
Now, I know city buses don’t always have the best reputation. They tend to be crowded, sweaty tin cans that are never on time. And while these factors hold somewhat true for Dublin Bus and countless other bus services around the world, it’s not exactly an opportunity you can pass up. The buses are a way of life here in Dublin, and if you know how to get around everything else will just be a minor inconvenience.
1. Download the Free TFI Real Time App
This “all in one” Transport For Ireland App combines real time information services from Dublin Bus, but also other public transport options like the train and trams. There is a handy interactive map available with every bus stop labelled and you can search by route or by stop number.
2. Your Student Leap Card is Your Friend
If you’re planning to travel via Dublin Bus, then one of the best investments you can make is a student Leap Card. These nifty little pieces of plastic will allow you to tap-on at any Dublin Bus stop with preloaded cash, freeing you from the hassle of calculating fare and counting exact change. What’s better is that you can also download the Leap Top-Up app to your smartphone, allowing you to add money to your card wherever you are. With a Leap Card, you can never be caught short. The Champlain Dublin staff will assist you in how to get the card at the beginning of the semester.
3. Get Your Index Finger Ready
Unlike other bus services in the United States, Dublin Bus does not make routine stops. Even if you’ve been waiting ever so patiently for the last fifteen minutes, the bus will pass by you if you do not signal to it. So, get your index finger ready, and when you see the bust you need approaching, step into the road and point outwardly at the ground. This is the only way the bus driver will know you’re looking to be picked up.
4. Choose Wisely
Dublin Buses are double-deckers, and as such they present you with a lot of options. In most cases, the bus will be so crowded that you have to stand. But given the chance, make sure you pick your spot wisely. Don’t climb all the way to the second floor if you need to get off at the next stop, and don’t condemn yourself to standing on an hour long commute. Know where your stop is and when to get moving, it’ll save a lot of awkward shuffling later on.
5. Remember That You’re in a City
Patience is a virtue, as is self-awareness. Always be cautious of your surroundings, both on and off the bus. Don’t just leave your backpack in the middle of the aisle and always scoot to the window seat so that people won’t have to climb over. Yes, someone may spill coffee on you or step on your toes, but Dublin Bus is public transportation. You’re going to encounter all kinds of people. So treat them the way you would want to be treated and be as understanding as you possibly can. That said, don’t be a pushover, either. And lastly don’t forget in Ireland we say Thank You to the bus driver when we reach our stop.
Feeling a little more prepared now? Ready to go and see everything Dublin has to offer? Good, because Dublin Bus is a breeze. You won’t believe all the places it can take you for a €2.50, and even then, can you really put a price on fun?
BY MEGHAN NEELY ’18 // PROFESSIONAL WRITING