We’ve all been there. It’s a humid September morning, lashing rain but still warm and sweaty. You’re still all sticky from having to run to catch the bus earlier but now you’ve finally made it into Dublin City Centre. You have to make one of the most important decisions of the day: do you get off at D’Olier Street or ride the very slow wave to your actual stop on Grafton Street.
Driving down O’Connell Street is an absolute breeze, it gives false hope for what is to come. As you cross the bridge, the carnage of D’Olier Street is clear to see.
It’s 9.55am, you’re meeting a friend at 10am on Drury Street. What do you do? A complex calculation must be made to figure out if you’d be faster walking or staying put on the poxy bus. If you get off on D’Olier Street you’ll be soaked but if you stay on the route you’ll have to face being stuck in the never-ending traffic jam of college green.
It’s a groggy day, the unexpectedly comfy Dublin Bus seats are making it hard for you to get up. You convince yourself that the traffic won’t actually be that bad, just another two minutes of a sit down. You won’t be late…
Why on earth did Dublin bus think that it’d be a good idea to let 31 separate bus routes stop on this small stretch. Every bus you can think of in combination with the thousands of the city’s taxis, private cars and daredevil cyclists weaving through the vehicles meander their way past the stretch. Some cars somehow parked on the 4-lane road. Just when you think it can’t get worse the Luas is thrown into the mix. Absolute chaos.
There is nothing more blood pressure inducing than the junction between D’Olier Street and College Green. Once the bus finally pulls out of the D’Olier Street stop, there’s absolutely no going back. You have chosen your path. The two right lanes swerve right back towards the Liffey onto Westmoreland Street while everyone else trying to go further south is faced with a merge like no other. A single lane holds every vehicle going towards Dame Street. Stress builds in the air as you see that giant amber sign informing drivers that only buses may go through this route in the early morning. Then anarchy strikes as cars and buses attempt to overtake each other while the Luas glides closely around Trinity.
You know now that you’ve made a great mistake. What’s that ahead? Great, a bus has broken down just at the Trinity Gate, no way around it but to wait. It’s another 10 minutes, that feels like 10 hours until traffic finally starts to move again. One of those pick-up trucks painted as a Dublin bus saves the day.
Finally you see it up ahead, the single lane branches, some head up the bottom of Grafton Street while others continue towards Dame Street. It’s the home stretch, you’ve made it. It only added 20 minutes onto your journey. You promise yourself you’ll never do it again. But sure look, tomorrow is another day.