Did you know that Dublin has the only European capital city airport without a rail link? Well, apparently it is, and this presents problems for the traveller, as you might imagine.

When I’m flying back into Ireland, I have two choices to get home in the west of Ireland. Choice 1 is to take the coach from the airport to Galway in the west, and then make my way into the countryside. I can’t do this if the coach arrives at an unsociable hour; the inter-town services are done for the day, or should I say for the night.

Choice 2 is to take a bus, run by Dublin Bus, from the airport to the 2 main train termini, Connolly which services the north, and Heuston which serves the South, South West, West and North West.

On this occasion I had opted for the rickety 747 bus service in the form of choice 2. It was my first time taking this option, since I always preferred option 1, but the timings didn’t suit. ‘Besides,’ her Ladyship said, ‘it’s a good service.’ Very good then.

Imagine my good fortune, then, as I trotted out of Dublin airport to see a 747 waiting for me. 2 minutes later we were off. The route from the airport to the city centre is about 4 miles, and another 1 or 2 miles to the west of the city for Pearse Station. As I discovered, the route is pretty circuitous. Firstly it loops around the airport’s vast one-way system to pick up people from Terminal 2 before giving all Terminal 1 travellers a sense of deja vu as we take the same route out of the airport for the second time.

The service then takes a somewhat ’round the houses’ approach into Dublin, which, during the early evening rush hour took 45 minutes. We stopped on the mighty O’Connell Street and some people got off, along with, rather controversially, the driver, who announced that this stop was a driver shift change and the next driver would be along in 2 minutes.

20 minutes later, which is a lengthy 2 minutes even by Irish standards, we were still waiting. What made this rather illuminating was that the departing driver couldn’t leave his shift until the relieving driver turned up and the remaining travellers on the bus could hear the two-way ‘walktie talkie’ conversations between the driver and the dispatcher. The new driver was somewhere near, but not answering the phone, by all accounts. Moments later the relief driver turned up, having been waiting at the wrong stop on the street…

Somewhat wisely and ultra-conservatively I had allowed 120 minutes for us to travel the 6 miles between the airport and train station for the last train west of the day. The 6-mile journey took 85 minutes. It then took me 120 more minutes to go 120 miles to my home town.

And we wonder why public transport is always both broke and broken.

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