August 1, 2008

Bus Átha Cliath – bring a crash helmet and swim trunks

Filed under: eire — SiKing @ 5:24 pm
Tags: , ,

Bus Átha CliathSo I recently moved a little further away from the DART (and a little further away from the coast). The choice was financially necessitated, not a voluntary one. By coincidence, although anticipated, my work office moved as well, also further away from the DART. The total physical distance between me and work now is approximately the same as it was before, however I am forced into a new form of transport: the Dublin Bus. I won’t even get into the three months I have left on my DART annual pass. The DART is like VIP Royal treatment compared to the Dublin Bus. My commute to work used to take approximately 1 hour 30 minutes door-to-door, out of which 1 hour was spent walking (by choice, ’cause I do need the exercise). Now my commute takes approximately the same 1 hour and 30 minutes, however my Slí na Sláinte is now less than 10 minutes!

The first thing that you will notice when getting on the bus, is the attitude of the driver. As I have stated many times before, the Irish IMHO are a wonderful people, extremely friendly, helpful, and generally very polite. The Dublin drivers (I don’t have experience with any other Irish city) are a major exception to this rule. These are some of the most bitter people you will ever meet. I am not sure if new employees have to go to special training to become assholes, or if during the hiring process they hand pick the most caustic people they can find, and then brainwash them to absolutely hate all of humanity. These fiends are then given a massive double-decker, and ordered to drive it as fast as possible skimming along the sidewalks crowded with pedestrians that have no sense of self-preservation!

As an added union benefit they have no timetable and no strict route to follow. Yes, they do have something published on their site. But in the morning on my way to work, like most other tax contributors, I’m not checking the Internet. Majority of the bus stops around Dublin are only marked with a yellow pole with the company emblem at the top – no indication of what bus actually stops there, where it goes, or what time it may get there. That’s because they get to make it up as they go along! If you want to see Dublin, screw the local travel agencies. Just take a bus someplace and (try to) take the same one back. In both directions you will get to see completely different sites. After doing a little research to find which buses go to where I now live, I discovered that “heck, the 41 goes up there.” There are, all together, six 41’s. However, besides the number they do not have much else in common. The plain 41 takes the longest route, and because it goes through the airport where there is a good possibility of meeting first time visitors to Dublin, this route has the most vile of the drivers. Then there are the 41a and 41b; after a month I still have not discovered where they go or where they stop. But I have seen both of them drive by, and with people on board, so I can only assume they stop at some point somewhere. Then there is the 41c, which actually ends up being the most convenient one for me as it often stops closest to my house. It also has the distinguishing feature that most of the passengers do not speak English. In Dublin this means it is frequented by cute Polish chicks, and nackers who may be Irish but certainly do not speak either of the official languages. At least to make things fair, the drivers on this route do not speak English either. Then there is the 41x, the XpressO. This is suppose to be the fastest way to get to Dublin centre; an assumption based on the restriction that this route must go through the Dublin tunnel, other than that the driver is actually actively encouraged to “make it up” as he goes. Unfortunately, the tunnel dumps the bus out on completely opposite side of the city centre then where the bus must go. The morning commute traffic ensures, that although the buses depart 10 minutes apart, they all get to the destination at exactly the same time! On the way back this bus does not take the tunnel, so it is actually faster getting home. To offset this, there are fewer 41x’s in the evening than in the morning. 😕 Lastly there is the 41n, the Nitelink. This bus takes all the drunks home after they get ejected from the pubs. It is the average of all the other 41’s in terms of its route, but the sum in terms of its cost to board. Also, volume discount tickets cannot be used on the Nitelink routes.

The other day, though, I had the best experience. My day started off with me sleeping right through my morning alarm … and continuing right through lunch. But I also slept through the heavy morning rainstorm. When I got on the bus I immediately noticed that the floors are particularly wet, significantly more so than the sidewalk outside. OK, so maybe the sun outside is drying the sidewalks faster than inside the bus? As I made it onto the upper deck, there was actually water running, not dripping, down the stairs – fuck, some idiot must have left the windows open overnight. By this time the bus was already moving along the road at a pretty good pace, so I did not spend too much time pondering the situation and made for a seat, unless I find myself on the floor as the driver dodges another cyclist. Sat down, the bus was almost empty, so I got a nice window seat. However, as the bus came to a stop at the next red light, a torrent of water washed over my feet from behind. I swear, there was double-digit inches of water on the upper deck! “Well you need to take one of them new buses, they don’t leak as much!”, a colleague told me afterwards. Now first off, I did not even realize that one has a choice of what model bus will come, and second this was a new bus. The floor of the upper deck is nicely convex shaped so that all water will stay upstairs and pool along the walls, and not go down the stairs except in the case of really creative manoeuvring on the driver’s part. To prove I’m not pulling your leg, I am including a short video I shot.

Warning: we apologize to our viewers for the poor quality of the upcoming video. It was shot by an incompetent amateur using his camera phone for the first time. 😛


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