Public transport in Dublin: how does it work?

Everything you need to know about travelling in Dublin and its surrounding counties

When you discover a new city – let alone a new country – you may feel a little bit stressed about how you’ll get from point A to point B. But there is no reason for this if you have all the information you need. Depending on where you live, you’ll have different options. If you’re planning to come to Ireland, whether as a student or a tourist, in this article we will explain to you how public transport in Dublin works!

1 – The Student Leap Card, a special card you must know

You may be wondering what a ‘Leap Card’ is…Well, it’s just the name we give to the season ticket we use to travel in Dublin and its surrounding counties (but also in Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford et Wexford). It will be of benefit if you often take the bus and several forms of public transport. As a student at NED college, you’ll be able to have a Student Leap Card.

It can be used for buses, tramways, and the commuter train…and more. It offers you discounts in a few places, including public transport (about 20% on average). You just have to buy the card on the Internet or at one of the many outlets, and then you can load a range of tickets onto it: weekly/monthly tickets or put the amount you want to on it and use it for each journey you make. It’s up to you to decide which is the best solution for you! You’ll find all the details you need on the following website:

Here’s the link where the Student Leap Card can provide some discounts: Trust me, it’s worth having a look at!

 2 – Take the bus (Dublin Bus)

Have you ever taken a double-decker bus? You’ll see, urban buses are easily identifiable. With more than one hundred bus lines, the network offers wide coverage of the city all day long and by night (Nitelink). A bus ticket will cost between 2€15 and 3€30 per day depending on how long your ride is, and up to 6€60 at night. That is why you have to tell the bus driver at which bus stop you’ll get off.

-> Traveling by bus is an amazing way to see Dublin ❤️

One thing you have to be careful of is that you can pay on the bus with coins only and the exact amount; banknotes aren’t accepted and the bus drivers don’t give change. But don’t worry about it if you’re not used to having change, you can also validate a range of prepaid tickets or use your Leap card if you have one.

3 – Take the tramway (Luas)

There are two tram lines in Dublin: the Red Line and the Green Line. The red line connects the east of Dublin to the west (it has 32 stops) and the green one connects the north of Dublin to the south (22 stops). These two lines operate from early in the morning (5:30 a.m from Monday to Friday, 6:30 a.m on Saturday and 7:00 a.m on Sunday) until late in the evening (12:30 a.m from Monday to Saturday and 11:30 p.m on Sunday).

As with the bus, the cost of the ticket will vary according to your journey length. Thereby a single ticket will cost between 2€10 and 3€20 at the self-service machine so you just have to indicate your destination when you buy a ticket. If you have a Leap Card, tag your card on in your departure tram station and tag your card off in your arrival tram station. And don’t forget it, otherwise, you’ll be charged the same amount as if you made the whole journey!

As an aside, ‘luas’ means ‘speed’ in Irish.


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4 – Take the train (DART)

The DART is a commuter train, thus it will be useful if you live far from the city center or if you want to see the coast – which is, by the way, one of the must-sees in Dublin. You can’t get lost: there is only one line! The train runs along the coastline from Malahide and Howth in north County Dublin southwards as far as Greystones, Co Wicklow.

If you need to, it’s also connected at two lines called ‘Short Hop Zone’. It operates from 6 a.m to 11:30 p.m from Monday to Saturday and from 9 a.m to 11:30 p.m on Sunday. As with the rest, the cost of the ticket will vary depending on your destination and the operation is the same as for the tram (tag your card in/tag your card off).

5 – Rent a bike (Dublin bikes)

Last but not the least, bikes! There are different services that allow you to rent a bike in Dublin such as DublinBikes or Bleeper Bike.

Here is the principle of DublinBikes: you have to buy a rental pass beforehand (5€ for 3 days or 20€ the whole year) and then you’ll pay one hour by one hour of use – knowing that the first 30 minutes are free. It could be very useful if you don’t need more than half an hour for your urban travels. You can use the bike all day long, but you have to be careful of returning it to a free stand at a station at the end of your day, otherwise, your deposit will be lost.

Bleeper Bike functioning is quite similar. The main difference is in the price system. You’ll pay 1€ to unlock a bike and then you pay 0,02€ per minute. Additionally, they offer a one-month subscription for 17€50 for 4 daily rides.

If renting a bike doesn’t look like the best solution for you, maybe you could buy a second-hand one and just resell it when you leave.

Finally, don’t worry if you get lost… I bet Irish people will be glad to help you!

Article by Mélanie Audbourg

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