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Conquering Dublin Buses

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Many American students are not used to relying on public transportation to get them where they need to go. However, with a few tips, I can inform you on how to master conquering Dublin buses in no time!

In West Lafayette, IN, where I study at Purdue, the only buses students ride keep us within campus. When everything is in walking distance, there’s hardly a need to use them at all. Here in Dublin, American students switch out the luxury of having cars (or friends with cars), for the luxury of an affordable (especially for a student!) and reliable bus system. It may seem daunting and confusing at first, but taking the bus will soon become second nature. I’ve put together a handy little guide to help you get started.

Tip 1: Download the official Dublin Bus app

The Dublin Bus app has real-time information on bus routes, stops, and schedules. Every bus stop you see has a designated number, and when there are no times or routes displayed, you can easily check by inputting the stop number into the app. I know from experience that there’s nothing more frustrating than missing a bus by just a couple minutes. Don’t be that person! Over time, you’ll learn the schedules of the buses you use most frequently, but if you’re ever in an unfamiliar situation, the bus app will quickly become your best friend.

Tip 2: Get a Leap Card as soon as you can

Leap card
A Leap Card

You aren’t always going to have loose change on hand, and Dublin bus drivers are unlikely to take card or bill payments. The best thing you can do is to get a Leap Card, which lets you load money onto it, and pay for your ride by tapping it on a scanner when you enter the bus. After using the buses a lot one week, I happened to be shy of balance on my card, and I wouldn’t have been able to get home if I didn’t have spare change on me, so make sure you top up regularly. A student Leap Card brings down the fare of the buses approximately 30%, so frequent bus riders will save a significant amount of money over time. Leap cards can be purchased for €10 in the Dublin city centre, as well as on University College Dublin campus.

Tip 3: Be patient and have a backup plan

Your bus isn’t always going to come on time! While it can be frustrating, the only thing to really do, is wait. It’s likely that the bus will show up eventually, but in the off case that it doesn’t, it’s vital that you have enough money to take a taxi home. During weekdays, the buses only run until midnight, so if you miss your last bus, you’ll be stranded. Should you need a taxi, Dublin locals and tourists alike use an app called MyTaxi, which allows you to call an on-duty taxi driver that will pick you up for a €2 add-on to your fare.

Tip 4: Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Asking for help can be awkward and uncomfortable, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. I can think of lots of times where I would have gotten lost had I not asked for help. My first week, the bus driver even announced my stop over the intercom after I told him I was worried about getting lost. If you are unsure which bus you should take or which stop you need to get off at, ask the driver or another passenger. Most will be happy to get you where you need to go.

Keep these things in mind, and you’ll master taking the Dublin public bus in no time.

Julia Woodruff was a Psychology major at Purdue University and was studying abroad with IFSA at University College Dublin in Ireland in Spring 2019. She was an International Correspondent for IFSA through the Work-To-Study Program.