Ireland vs US: Public Transportation

Temporarily moving to Ireland has taught me more in my first three weeks than I had ever anticipated. One of the largest improvements to my life, in my opinion, has been the accessibility of public transportation. These bus systems and railways extends all across the country, allowing a person without a car or irish license the opportunity to explore many different parts of Ireland.

Additionally, this transportation is efficient and timely. The schedules are always available at stops or on mobile devices, giving travellers a very clear idea of when and how to get from one place to another.

At some point in these three weeks, I have really begun to understand where the busses go, what time they will be at the stop I like to use, and on average how long it will take for me to get back home. These instincts have taken time to develop, but they have allowed me to become a more independent and confident solo traveller, even if it is just solo travelling in Dublin.

My university in Ohio also has a bus system that is available for use throughout the city. My campus is located on the north side of the city, but fairly close to the center. Busses travel to and from residential areas to the city center, stopping at my college multiple times along their routes.

Before living in Dublin, I was never interested in attempting to understand the bus routes or what the payment method for each trip was. I did not understand how to calculate bus times, how long I should stay on the bus, or  how to transfer solely because I had no use for it. Ubers or personal cars are much more common in the States to get to and from any place that you wish to go. 

By being forced to use public transportation, I have developed such an appreciation for the quality and convenience of the system. My Leap Card has become my best friend, as have the daily and weekly caps on my card.

The prices of the Columbus bus systems and the Dublin Bus system are not significantly different per trip, although they do differ in how the rates are applied. In Columbus, a rush hour timed ticket (morning between half 6 and 9, night between 3 and 6) is $2.75, while a regular houred ticket is $2.00. In Dublin, the fares are calculated by how many stops you ride for, and the prices per each ride vary from €1.55 to €2.50.

Beyond this, these two bus systems differ in how caps are applied. In Columbus, there is no cap, but if you purchase a day or weekly ticket you can ride any bus at any time for an unlimited amount of times. If you do not purchase this though, the other rates would still apply.

In Dublin, capping applies if you are utilizing a Leap Card. My student leap card caps my daily spending at €5 and weekly spending at €20. If I hit these caps, I am able to continue riding for free the remainder of the week. However, if you do not have the card the rates from above apply with each ride.

Overall, I have found that Ireland (and most of Europe) has much more efficiently put together a mode of transportation that connects all parts of the country together so that travel is well planned and easily understood.

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