Friday, 15 April 2011

Travels in Ireland

Travellers tales. If ever we in the UK are complaining about our transport system, we should take some notes from Irish public transport and make sure we don't copy their example. 

If you want to buy a bid ticket there are very efficient machines at every bus station which take debit and credit cards. But they don't give you all the travel information you want so you'll be tempted to go to the nearby counter. You'll ask which is the best bus and when is the next one, and they'll tell you. Then you'll ask to buy your ticket and will proffer your credit card, only to be told that they don't take credit cards over the counter, only cash, so you'll now have to go back to the machine you started at. This happened to me in Cork, Dublin and Waterford so we can assume it is a matter of policy. Someone in buseirran is an idiot. 

Worse daftness awaits you if you try and get the Airlink bus from Dublin city to the airport. Having worked out where the bus goes from and when, you go to the efficient ticket machine. But try as you might it won't show any destination matching up with Dublin airport or Airlink. So you join the queue for the counter and ask for an Airlink ticket. You proffer your credit card and, as you should have known they would, they tell you they only take cash, not cards. So you ask if the efficient ticket machine that you tried before queueing up actually sells Airlink tickets, cos you couldn't spot them earlier and you're told that, no, it doesn't sell Airlink tickets, they're only available over the counter. What, you ask, if you only have a card and no cash on you? You are told, helpfully, that their is an ATM cash machine around the corner which you could use and, I guess, queue up all over again. A monumental buseirran Fail. With the emphasis on the mental. 

And if you're travelling, as I was, from Dungarvan to Dublin, don't try and change from the bus to the train at Waterford, thinking you'll be able to at least get a cup of tea on the train. The bus from Dungarvan gets into Waterford bus station at 3.10pm. This gives you just enough time to walk over the bridge across the river to the railway station in time to be told that the train to Dublin left at 3.05pm and the next one won't be going till 4.50. Luckily there's time to walk back across the bridge and get the 3.30 bus. I know, this minutiae will never matter to you but by god it feels good to get it out of your system. 


Another tiny peril of travelling with an iPod is relying on it too much. I have just finished reading the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (full 200+ n-word version mind) and once I've finished writing this note I'll have to turn it off and live without it till I get home. And why? Because the battery's about to run out. That's after I charged it overnight and haven't even used wifi today. As for as desert island reading goes, it's not totally beaten the printed book yet. 

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