Public bus services in Ireland are licensed and regulated by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. There is a range of public bus transport services in Ireland (both private and State-owned) offering services on a range of routes. Coras Iompair Éireann (CIE) is a state company that operates the largest volume of services nationally - the following information about bus services in Ireland relates only to State-operated services.
Free travel on State bus and rail services is available to everyone permanently living in Ireland that is aged 66 and over. Certain people under that age are also entitled. Free travel is also available on a limited number of services that are operated by private bus transport companies that have opted in to the Free Travel scheme. Read further information about Free Travel here.
Dublin Bus provides bus services within Dublin city and to and from the surrounding areas. These services include city bus services, Railink, School link, Airlink, Nitelink and DART feeder buses. Dublin Bus also operates day tours and is obliged to provide services to people with disabilities. Dublin Bus timetables can be found here.
You can also request Dublin Bus timetables to be sent to your mobile telephone for a charge. (Simply text BUS followed by the bus route number eg. BUS 145 to 53503 and send). You will then receive a response containing times for the next 3 buses in each direction. Text to pre-plan a journey eg. BUS 145 1800 for the times of the 145 route from 18:00 onwards. Charge of 30 cent (including VAT) per text message and Network Operator Charges may also apply.
Xpresso is a special service provided by Dublin Bus to allow faster and more efficient bus travel for passengers during rush hour traffic. Xpresso routes are more direct than many other bus routes and cut down journey time between destinations. These routes also have fewer stops and therefore, offer passengers a quicker service. Xpresso timetables can be found on the Dublin Bus web site.
Dublin Bus operates services between Dublin city centre and Dublin Airport. These services run via Busáras, Connolly Rail Station and Heuston Rail Station. The Airlink coach service departs from outside the Arrivals Hall at Dublin Airport and Busáras in the city centre. In addition, most Bus Éireann Expressway services between Dublin and Belfast operate via Dublin Airport. If you are travelling from anywhere in the country on the Expressway network, you can buy a through ticket that allows you to travel to Dublin and transfer to the Airlink service departing from Busáras. Bus Éireann also provide frequent bus services between Shannon Airport and Limerick city, between Shannon Airport and Ennis and between Cork Airport and Cork city centre. Airlink timetables can be found on the Dublin Bus web site.
Dublin Bus is responsible for the school service, which is operated by private contractors. The service is supervised by Dublin Bus and all coaches are clearly marked and have the Dublin Bus logo on the front, back and side. The service is available to any child who attends primary or post-primary school in Dublin. Coaches will pick up and set down at Dublin Bus stops. Information on contracted services is available on the Dublin Bus website.
The Nitelink service operated by Dublin Bus is a late night bus service to the suburbs of the city. The service runs Monday to Saturday throughout the year. First departure of the night is at 12.30am. Subsequent departure times will depend on the service and the length of the journey. Most services will operate until 4.30am, but some routes, e.g., Swords and Greystones, operate a more limited service due to the length of the journey. Fares depend on your journey and will be either 4 euro or 6 euro. You can buy your ticket at the bus stop. Over Christmas each year, Nitelink operates an enhanced service to deal with increased demand. View more details on Nitelink services.
Dublin Bus operates a frequent service to the main rail stations in Dublin. Fares on all Railink services are charged at a flat rate of 0.95 cent for an adult and 0.55 cent for a child.
Dublin Bus operates a range of local services in the outer suburbs of Dublin and in North Wicklow, Kildare and Meath. It also provides bus services to DART/rail stations, hospitals and shopping centres. None of these services operate to or from the city centre.
Bus Éireann provides various bus services on a network of routes throughout Ireland. It operates intercity coach services and provides commuter services for major cities. City and town bus services are also provided, together with a local bus service throughout the country. Bus Éireann operates a school bus service on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills. Bus Éireann is obliged to provide services to people with disabilities.
The Expressway inter-urban coach service is the core business of Bus Éireann. The Expressway network consists of more than 30 routes that link cities and major towns throughout Ireland, including destinations in Northern Ireland served in conjunction with Ulsterbus.
Bus Éireann operates city bus services in Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford and town services in Athlone, Drogheda, Dundalk, Navan and Sligo.
An increase in commuter numbers has lead Bus Éireann to provide high-frequency commuter services between major cities and popular commuter towns. These commuter services are being expanded to cater for the growth in industry, employment and third-level educational facilities.
Bus Éireann local services consist of stage carriage services and rural services. Stage carriage services operate regularly on a daily basis, serving all stops on a journey. The bus will stop on request for passengers getting on or off. Rural services operate one day a week to a market town from the surrounding area. Tickets can be bought from the bus driver on all local services.
Bus Éireann provides frequent coach services between Cork Airport and Cork City Centre, Shannon Airport and Limerick City and between Shannon Airport and Ennis. View details of Bus Éireann's airport services.
Both Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann are obliged to provide services to people with disabilities. All new buses and coaches bought by both companies are wheelchair-accessible or designed for easier access. These new buses have features that include a low floor, with a single step entry and kneeling suspension to reduce the height of the entry step. They are wheelchair-accessible, with retractable ramps at the entrance door and priority space for wheelchair users. This space can also be used for a child's buggy. Other features include wider gangways, increased headroom, better interior lighting and heating, improved grip bars, palm activated bell pushes and high visibility electronic destination displays on front of buses. Bus stations have also been remodelled to improve access for disabled people. You can read more about services for disabled passengers provided by Dublin Bus and services for disabled passengers provided by Bus Éireann here.
Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus provide a network of services catering for third-level students. City and town routes will serve colleges in their general area and Bus Éireann national services often operate via colleges and universities on main routes. Bus Éireann also provide hire services for clubs or societies travelling to other colleges for inter-varsity events.
The Student TravelCard allows students to get substantially discounted fares on Iarnród Eireann, Luas and Dublin Bus services. It is only available to full-time students in second and third level education.
Secondary school students can also get Schoolchild and Scholar Photo Cards which allow them to purchase certain Dublin Bus student tickets. Find out more about them here.
You can get discounted fares on Bus Éireann services when you present any one of the following forms of identification:
A photo identification card is required for all Dublin Bus Adult Monthly and Annual Tickets. You can get a CIE Adult Photo Identity Card from the main Dublin Bus office on O'Connell Street in Dublin. Your photo will be taken in the office and there is a charge of €3. There is no expiry date on these cards.
Schoolchild Photo Identity Cards are required for all schoolchildren aged between 12 and 15 who are claiming reduced fares. Children under 12 do not require Identity Cards. To get this card, you must fill out an application form and then get it signed by your child's principal or teacher. There is no charge and application forms are available at most schools and from Dublin Bus. Download the schoolchild identity application form here (pdf).
If you are aged between 16 and 18 and are attending second-level education, you can get a Scholar ticket if you have the appropriate Scholar Identity Card. Again, application forms are available from most schools and Dublin Bus and the form should be signed by a teacher or school principal. The card is free is valid for one year. Download the Scholar Identity Card application form here (pdf).
An International Student Identity Card (ISIC) allows you to purchase student tickets on Bus Éireann services. You can get this card from all ISIC and Student Union offices. The Student Identity card costs 19 euro.
You are allowed to carry one item of hand luggage and one medium-sized bag or case on a Bus Éireann bus free of charge. The bag or case must be stored in the luggage compartment of the bus and your hand luggage should be placed under a seat or in an overhead rack. Any additional luggage, including bicycles, will be carried, subject to available space. There is a charge of 11 euro per single journey for carrying a bicycle, regardless of the length of the journey.
Dublin Bus requests that you place your luggage or child's buggy in the luggage compartments. Buggies can also be placed in the wheelchair space on wheelchair-accessible buses. However, the space must be given up if it is required by a wheelchair user. Items should never be placed where they can obstruct other passengers or the doors of the bus.
Guide dogs accompanying passengers who hold a Registered Blind Person's Pass are carried free of charge on Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann services. No other animals will be carried on Bus Éireann services, under any circumstances.
Animals other than guide dogs are carried on Dublin bus services at the discretion of the driver. According the by-laws governing Dublin Bus, you cannot bring an animal onto the bus if an authorised person (i.e., driver or inspector) asks you not to do so.
All lost property found on Bus Éireann buses will be deposited at the nearest company depot. A handling fee per article will be charged when you can reclaim your property. All property that goes unclaimed for more than two months will be sold. The proceeds of the sale will be used by Bus Éireann to cover the costs of holding the property.
Dublin Bus has a Lost Property office and all items of lost property will be sent here within 24 hours of their being found. It is open Monday to Friday, from 8.45am to 5.00pm, excluding bank holidays. There is a charge of 2 euro for each item that is reclaimed. If an item is not reclaimed within 30 days, Dublin Bus will dispose of it.
Complaints about Dublin Bus services should be directed to the Customer Comment Desk, Dublin Bus, 59 Upper O'Connell St., Dublin 1. Complaints about Bus Éireann services should be sent directly to the Area Manager, whose offices are located in Dublin, Dundalk, Waterford, Cork, Tralee, Limerick, Galway, Sligo, Ballina and Athlone. Both companies recommend that you write a letter of complaint, giving as many details of your complaint as possible and including a contact phone number. They will acknowledge your complaint within four or five working days. The complaint will be investigated and a written reply will be sent generally within 15 working days.
It is illegal to smoke on all Dublin Bus services, all Bus Éireann services and in all enclosed areas of Bus Éireann stations. Penalties include fines.
All Dublin Bus services operate an Autofare system. This system means that the driver is not required to handle cash.
In December 2011, an integrated transport ticketing system was introduced for the greater Dublin area called the Leap Card. Information is available at Leapcard.ie.
A list of Dublin Bus ticket agents can be found on the Dublin Bus website. Bus Éireann tickets can generally be bought from the bus driver. If not, they are available at the local bus station and most on-campus Student Union offices.
Queries in connection with the Dublin Bus 'Bustxt' service should be directed to Dublin Bus at (01) 873 4222.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.