This is the fourth installment in a four-part series about my experiences of public transport in Ireland. On Sunday I reviewed the Luas, on Monday the train, yesterday Bus Éireann and today 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 use Dublin Bus quite rarely, but enough that I can review it. It's a bus service operating across, you guessed it, Dublin, with stops every few hundred metres along most roads.
Dublin Bus seats are pretty similar to those on the Luas, and I'm a big fan of the upstairs (doubledecker) seating, though the spiral staircase coming down at speed isn't great for safety. Not as luxurious as the train. The problem is that there very often aren't any seats available, and people will just occupy all the standing room. I remember one bus ride from the lab during CTYI last year - we were packed like sardines in a can. There was literally no space to move and it smelled awful. So that brings the comfort points down considerably.
This one's difficult to rate because I don't have anything to compare it to - I only use Dublin Bus for places I can't get to on other transport. I suspect Dublin Bus is pretty similar to Bus Éireann on speed, since they travel the same way.
While obviously confined to Dublin, Dublin Bus does have amazing reach. There are Dublin Bus stops all over the place (although you do have to hope you're on a route that serves your stop). It stops near residential estates, near random bits of footpath, you name it. So I have to score it highly here.
I don't recall there being many facilities on board Dublin Bus. Wifi, I think, but that's it.
Ease of Use
Dublin Bus is like a mixture of the Luas and Bus Éireann on this point. There are tons of stops and they depart quite often (not as often as the Luas), so missing your bus isn't a big deal. Most of their buses have scrolling signs telling you what the next stop is and announce it over the intercom, so that's great.
But I was once on a Dublin Bus that didn't do that, so instead of going to DCU I ended up going all the way to the Dublin Bus garage - not a station, a garage. There were only drivers and staff there, and it was in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, there was a bus stop outside (right beside an empty field) that would go back in the general direction of town, so eventually I figured it out. Unpleasant.
I like that you just call out your fare to them and drop in the money. I'm sure people exploit that. I never know what my fare should be so I just ask friends.
A big thing that annoys me about Dublin Bus is the fact that they won't give change. If you give them €2 for a €1.30 fare, they'll take the whole thing and give you a stupid voucher that you can theoretically redeem in this one place in Dublin. But honestly, who's bothered to go there? I remember the first time I used Dublin Bus I was on work experience at UCD Physics and the driver was absolutely horrible to me about the change thing. How was I supposed to know? I hate rude bus drivers.
I think Dublin Bus fares (heh) on par with the Luas regarding cost, although I'm basing this on child tickets. It is definitely very cheap to get Dublin Bus somewhere, usually €1.15 or €1.30 or something - but unless you have good friends or lots of change, you're going to lose money to those stupid vouchers.
I had a very nasty introduction to Dublin Bus (see aforementioned rude driver), so I'm quite biased against it. My other rides have been alright though, so I'll just deduct one point for its lack of user-friendliness.
3 + 3 + 5 + 2 + 3 + 4 -1 = 19/30 = 63.33% = C2