Public bus services are regulated by the National Transport Authority under the Public Transport Regulation Act 2009. There is a range of public bus transport services (both private and State-owned) offering services on a number of routes. Operators providing public bus passenger services are required to be licensed unless the service is subject to a Public Services Obligation Contract.
Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ) is a State company that operates the largest volume of services nationally - the following information about bus services relates mainly to State-owned services.
Xpresso: Xpresso routes have fewer stops and therefore offer passengers a quicker service.
Airlink: This airport service connects Dublin Airport to a number of city centre locations as well as the Luas Red Line, Busáras (Central Bus Station), Connolly Railway Station and Heuston Railway Station.
Rail connection: Dublin Bus operates a rail connection service that connects Connolly Railway Station and Heuston Railway Station.
Nitelink: This service is a late night bus service that runs from the city centre to the suburbs on Fridays and Saturday throughout the year. An enhanced service may operate at Christmas.
School services: Dublin Bus is responsible for school services which are operated by private contractors. All coaches have the Dublin Bus logo on the front, back and side.
Dublin Bus fares and tickets
Paying with cash: An exact fare system is operated by Dublin Bus and only coins (not notes) are accepted. No change is given. If you overpay, the driver will issue a Refund Due receipt with the ticket which can be redeemed at Dublin Bus Head Office, 59 Upper O’Connell Street, Dublin 1.
Prepaid tickets: You can also pay your fare with a prepaid ticket. Magnetic prepaid tickets must be inserted into the bus validator when boarding. Prepaid smartcard tickets must be validated by holding the smartcard on the reader target for at least a second or until a light appears.
Leap Cards: Leap Cards can be used on all Dublin Bus services, including Airlink, Xpresso and Nitelink. They can also hold prepaid tickets. As well as Adult Leap Cards, there are Child Leap Cards and Student Leap Cards. Information on using Leap Cards is available at leapcard.ie.
Free Travel Passes: Free travel is available to some people permanently living in Ireland. Free Travel Passes cannot be used on Nitelink or Airlink services. Read further information in our document on free travel.
Travelling on Dublin Bus
On the Dublin Bus website you can plan your journey and access bus timetables. Real time information on buses is available on their website, at certain bus stops, by using the Bustxt service or by using a smartphone app.
Expressway: Expressway inter-urban coach services link every major town and city in the country, providing direct and regular services.
Town and city services: Bus Éireann operates bus services in Athlone, Balbriggan, Cork, Drogheda, Dundalk, Galway, Limerick, Navan, Sligo and Waterford.
Commuter bus services: The commuter services serve city-centre destinations in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford, as well as certain business facilities around the country. There is also Nightrider, a late night service operating several nights a week on main routes out of Dublin.
Airport services: Bus Éireann provides coach services to Cork, Dublin, Shannon, Knock and Kerry airports.
Bus Éireann fares and tickets
In general, you can pay your fare with cash. You can also order your ticket online. There is information on the different types of tickets available, including tickets for schoolchildren and regional commuter tickets, on Bus Éireann’s website.
Free Travel Passes: Free Travel Passes can be used on most Bus Éireann’s services. They cannot be used on Nightrider. Read further information in our document on free travel.
Travelling on Bus Éireann
The Rural Transport Programme provides services to people whose travel needs are not met by existing bus or train services. Services funded under the Programme complement, rather than compete with, existing public transport services provided by CIÉ companies or by private transport operators.
There are 35 groups covering 36 geographical areas funded under the Programme to provide services. The Programme is currently being restructured and involves establishing 18 Transport Co-ordination Units in place of the 35 Rural Transport Groups.
The following public bus services are provided for the National Transport Authority under contract:
- M&A Coaches Ltd operates service 828, Urlingford - Portlaoise, with stops in Johnstown, Cullahill, Durrow and Abbeyleix, and service 828x, Cashel - Portlaoise via Urlingford. Both services offer through ticketing for travel to Cork and Dublin.
- Whartons Travel operates service 975, Longford - Cavan, with stops in Cahanagh Cross, Leitrim Cross, Drumlish, Ballinamuck, Legga Cross, Moyne Cross, Arvagh, Coronea, Cornafead, and Crossdoney.
Under EU Regulation 181/2011 bus and coach passengers have a minimum set of rights when travelling in the European Union. You can read more about your rights in our document on bus and coach passenger rights.
If you have a complaint about a Dublin Bus service, you can make your complaint by letter, by e-mail, by phone or in person. You should include as much detail as possible, such as the date and time of travel, the bus route number, the bus registration number, where you were leaving from and going to. You can read the Dublin Bus customer charter on its website.
If you have a complaint about a Bus Éireann service, you can write to the relevant Regional Manager providing as much detail as possible, such as the time of travel, origin and destination of your journey. If you are not satisfied with the reply you receive, you may request a review of your complaint by writing to the Manager, Business Development, Bus Éireann, Broadstone, Dublin 7.
If you are not satisfied with the reply from a service provider to a complaint, you can make a complaint to the National Transport Authority. Information on making a complaint is available on its website.
Passengers with disabilities
Public transport companies offer a range of services for people with reduced mobility or other disabilities. You can read more about the accessibility policies and the services provided by the largest transport operators:
You can use Transport for Ireland’s online journey planner, which will gives you information about bus and rail routes all over Ireland. It will also tells you if a service is wheelchair accessible.
The Travel Assistance Scheme is available for people over 18 years. This scheme helps people with disabilities to use public transport in the greater Dublin area. A travel assistant can accompany you the first few times you travel and offer advice on how to plan your journey. It is available for customers of Dublin Bus, Go-Ahead Ireland, DART and Luas services.
From November 2019, you can tell your fellow passengers that you need a little more time because you have a condition or disability, by showing a JAM Card. This card helps passengers with a communication barrier to say that they need “just a minute” and to ask for patience. You can read more about this service on the Transport for Ireland website.
Where to apply