Early-morning odyssey of international workers as capital lurches into action
Shiny buses with wifi and cosy carriages make for a satisfied commuter
The first bus
Number 4 from
It’s a freezing Monday morning and 300 buses wait to be driven out of Harristown Bus Garage just beyond Ballymun. Some are brand new. “The ones that look like sliced pans,” says bus driver Paul Kinsella pointing to a row of shiny buses. The resemblance is uncanny.
These buses have wifi, a few extra seats and impressive wheelchair areas. Inspector Tom Kitt is delighted with the new developments in Dublin Bus, electronic signage at stops and the journey planner app. “All of this has made us raise our game a bit,” he says.
My number 4 arrives and it’s one of the sliced pans. There’s electronic signage on board which means that even though it’s pitch black outside, you know where you are and you learn stuff like Provost House is Teach An Phropaist in Irish.
The bus, which crosses the city and ends up in Monkstown, sets off a few minutes late. One of the first people to get on is Algerian Rachid Madour, just off the night shift at Keeling’s fruit factory. He brings a book on the bus, and today he’s reading a translation of journalist Christopher Dobson’s The Carlos Complex: A Study of Terror. “Very exciting,” he says.
Beside him Nigerian Andy Zuluike, on his way to work at St Vincent’s hospital, complains that the bus service is fine during the week but “terrible” at weekends “up to an hour late sometimes”.
Lithuanian woman Arina Kaslinkaite is heading to her shift at the deli counter at Superquinn in Blackrock, where she has worked for the last seven years. “I love the bus service,” she beams a bit too brightly for this time of the morning. “No complaints at all.” With many of the other passengers giving out about the lateness of buses, Dublin Bus should sign up Arina as an ambassador immediately.
The first Luas
from Bride’s Glen,
This Luas, one of the newer models, is gleaming, thanks to the cleaners who come in overnight.
Before Glen, the driver, sets off, he gets something off his chest. He reckons those people who chance running, cycling or even driving across the path of a Luas must think trams are easy to stop.
“They don’t understand that it takes a lot to stop a 45-tonne Luas – there’s a 10m stopping distance. It’s not like a car.”
Wayward pedestrians, car drivers and especially cyclists are the bane of the Luas driver’s life, he says. Glen departs exactly on time.
Rosaleen Power gets on at Cherrywood. She works in catering and says that last year when the Luas extended out to Bride’s Glen it was a happy day.
“Before that I had to get the Ghost Bus, the 84X which was a pain . . . this is brilliant,” she says, clutching a magazine.
Anita Oman-Wrynn also works in catering in a bank near the Dublin quays. Her head is wrapped in a scarf and in the bag at her feet is a travel pillow. “I often get a little snooze on the journey, it’s a very comfortable way to travel although the woman announcing the names of all the stations is a bit loud,” she says.