Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Public Transport Reviews: Bus Éireann

This is the third installment in a four-part series about my experiences of public transport in Ireland. Yesterday I reviewed the train, day before the Luas, today Bus Éireann and the next day Dublin Bus. I won't be reviewing the DART because I haven't been on it enough to make a fair judgement. Each mode of transport will be reviewed under six criteria: comfort, speed, reach, ease of use, facilities and cost for a total of 30 possible marks.

I don't use the bus much anymore, but I used to use it every time I went up to Dublin, and I took a lot of buses for work experience. So I know buses very well, probably on par with trains.


Buses are pretty mediocre on comfort. The seats are okay, a bit cramped, and it's nice that you're never in a backwards-facing seat (this can be disorientating on trains). Also, people aren't allowed stand and bus drivers will just turn people away from an oversubscribed bus, so it's less packed. But there's less space, no tables and less luxury than on a train. And the seats are less comfortable so it's hard to sleep. Also, since the bus goes on the road like any other car, the ride can be bumpy. It's pretty cosy though.

Rating: 3/5


Buses are slow, in my experience. Especially since they have to stop in traffic, while trains and the Luas don't. Around the same speed as trains, judging by how long it takes to get to Dublin, but the ride's not as smooth so it feels longer. 

Rating: 3/5


I'm being awfully negative about buses here, and that looks set to continue. Buses go all around the country, so they do reach far - but the devil's in the details. I find that a lot of the places buses stop just aren't useful for me, and I have to walk for ages to actually get to my destination. But in theory they do a lot, and they stop on lots of streets, so I'll give them a boost with a high rating here.  

Rating: 4/5


The bus is nothing special with facilities, but at least it has wifi, and some buses have toilets and luggage racks. No food (often food is actually forbidden, though this isn't enforced) provided, no tables - which combined with the bumpy ride makes it difficult to get any work done. Wavering between 2 and 3. 

Rating: 3/5

Ease of Use

The bus really falls down here, because it's just so ridiculously easy to miss your stop or miss the bus altogether. Trains pull into stations predictably, whereas buses just park along the place, or somewhere in the carpark of the station. Not useful. Bus Éireann buses don't tell you what the next stop is so you have to look out the window and desperately hope you recognise something. Why don't they just call out the next stop over the intercom and/or have it scrolling along a screen?

Because it's so easy to miss your stop, I often end up in the wrong place. I have a worse story with Dublin Bus that you'll see tomorrow, but for example I once ended up going to Dundalk (one hour journey) instead of Dublin (one hour journey the exact opposite way) while commuting to work experience at the Irish Times, because both routes are called the 100X. They have the same name! That's how I was 2-3 hours late for work at the Irish Times once and had to call them from the bus station.

Rating: 1/5


The bus is probably the worst out of all four options here for cost. I can't think of the exact figure, but it's definitely more expensive than the train (at least for the ticket I get, a child day return). It might be better with the time of day thing or for adults, and I'm sure a LeapCard helps. I can't actually think of any redeeming features of the cost but I don't want to give another one-star. It's just so expensive. More than three euro for a 20-minute journey, triple the price on the Luas. Just crazy. I'm sure it costs lots to run, yes, but compared to the other options it's just bad.

Rating: 1/5


I gave the train some extra points for sentimental value yesterday, and I'll give the bus a couple just for memories on it. First date, first CTYI reunion, etc. 2 additional points.

3 + 3 + 4 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 2 = 17/30 = 56/67 = C3

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