So, you’ve just moved to Dublin and you’re trying to make sense of the public transport system. Don’t bother. The two Luas lines, the bus system and the Dart and rail systems are all pretty much independent of each other.
What I recommend you do – get yourself a Leap card. The fares are a little cheaper, you don’t have to worry about carrying cash, and it’ll work on all public transport. Bear in mind that you have to touch on/off for each separate leg of your journey – each leg is charged as a separate journey. And you don’t touch off on the bus – just tell your driver where you’re going and he or she will subtract the fare from your card.
So now you’ve got the means – how do you find out where to go? I have two go-to public transport apps – and neither of them are issued by a public transport company. The first is Next Train Ireland by Stephen McBride. There’s a free and a paid version of this app, which keeps track of train timetables and real-time arrivals and departures. If you’re getting the Dart or a Commuter, it’s a lifesaver. I forked out the princely sum of EUR1.99 because the developer has done such a good job. The only feature I’ve felt the absence of is the ability to swap your station choices around when searching the timetables for your return journey. It would also be useful to know which platform the trains are serving in Connolly – but I assume this data just isn’t released by Irish Rail. As a companion to this app, Stephen McBride has also released a set of Next Bus Dublin apps, which I have not used.
The other app which makes my life ridiculously easy when planning a journey on the go is Hit The Road Dublin. You enter your starting point and destination, and it will work out your itinerary using Dublin Bus, Luas and Dart – including connections and departure times. The best part about this app is that it will give you a few different options, so you can use the itinerary that suits you. If you’re new to Dublin, or an intermittent user of public transport, this app is a lifesaver!
Finally, for the times when you’re in a rush, or when it’s late or you’re feeling flush and want to take a cab, there’s Hailo. They’ve been running a pretty concentrated advertising campaign in the city recently, but this is one app where you can believe the hype. Hail a cab based on your location – it contacts the closest cab to you and you can track it as it travels to you – there is direct contact between you and the driver. The company are very strict in the standards of car/driver they take on, there’s a rating system for both driver and passenger, and if you’ve left something in the cab, it’s very easy to report it directly to the cab you were using. Best of all, you can pay either by cash or card, making it a fantastic option if you’re short of cash and nowhere near an ATM.
So, that’s it. I have used my car a total of twice in the last three weeks, thanks to these apps. I will never understand the stage system on Dublin Bus though, Baby steps! I’d also love to know what transport-based apps you’d recommend, especially Dublin Bus or Dublin Bikes related!