Ireland day 0045. Friday 12 November 2021- Buses
If getting a driving licence takes anywhere near as long as getting a PPS number, it looks like we might be without a car for quite some time. That being the case, I thought it might be a good idea to explore the local public transport options, starting with the buses, and establish the basic operational details like how much they cost, how you use them, and where they go. In particular I wanted to sort out how to actually pay because there is nothing worse than waiting for ages in the cold and wet for the bus to come only to find you can’t actually get on it because you haven’t got the exact change / the right app / a special card.
So today, as I had no other admin to deal with and as Val was still away, looked like the perfect opportunity to do a bit of exploration. I thought that two of the destinations we were likely to want to use under stressed conditions were the airport, and the supermarket. So I used Google maps (which is actually quite excellent – but not flawless – when it comes to plotting bus routes) to figure out a triangular route, first to the airport, then to the supermarket at Clare Hall, and finally back to the flat at Malahide.
The first thing I discovered while waiting for the 102 to the airport was that everyone else in the queue seemed to be brandishing a green credit card type thing. Then I saw in the bus shelter a notice saying “Pay with LEAP on boarding the bus”. I assumed that the green cards were the LEAP passes (and indeed it turned out they were). At that stage I was still hoping that cash or contactless card payment might be an option, but as I only had a €50 note, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to finding out.
The second thing I discovered was that unless you wave vigorously as the bus approaches, it won’t necessarily stop. And indeed that was the case with my first ever attempted bus ride – it just sailed straight past and headed off without a care in the world, and without me, in the direction of the airport.
Anyway, I used the unexpected 30 minute interruption in my journey to go to the railway station to see if I could get a LEAP card – and indeed the ticket machine in the lobby dispensed them quickly and efficiently. I topped it up and then jumped on the next bus and headed relatively swiftly (40 mins) to the airport. Once at the airport, I had a quick look round to familiarise myself with everything – I will be coming here next week to meet Val and didn’t want to arrive late! – then plotted an onward route to the supermarket at Clare Hall.
This next step in the journey – despite only being about 10km / 6 mi – was less straightforward as it involved three separate bus journeys and took over an hour. And it wasn’t even as if the Clare Hall shopping centre is a particularly fabulous destination when you get there. It’s clean and functional enough, with a giant Tesco where you can buy almost anything at almost any time, but like all similar shopping destinations, it’s a bit soul-less.
Essential purchases complete (i.e. crisps), I returned to the bus stop and a mere hour later, after one change en route, I was back at the flat.
The whole journey took about five hours and cost €9.25. So it wasn’t particularly cheap and it wasn’t particularly quick. But it certainly made me appreciate the value of having your own car, and reminded me that when undertaking my next journey I must a) wave hard and b) allow plenty of time. And not forget the special green card, too.
Today’s photos (click to enlarge)