Wednesday 22 August 2012

Going for the border bus bonanza

It pays to take the bus from Lifford to Dublin, through Strabane.
Would you go the extra mile for Bus Éireann, Ireland’s national bus service? I did yesterday (Tuesday) when I took the Letterkenny express bus to Dublin.
Not only that, I went the extra mile on the outward and return journey – and I saved myself €5 (or £4) for each of those miles. Surely that must be the best (or worst) mileage rate in the land and it was all courtesy of yet another foible of our fickle frontier.
I got the 9.45am bus from Lifford to Dublin Busaras and returned on the 8.45pm departure. On each leg of the journey, I went through Strabane, just over the bridge from Lifford. From where I live, Strabane would be the more expected point of my departure and arrival.
A small cross-border mile with a big saving.
The reason I set out from Lifford on the Letterkenny-Dublin express service is that I booked my Bus Éireann ticket online. That does not allow the option of boarding in Strabane, presumably because it is ‘across the border’.
In any event, I discovered that my same-day return ticket would cost me €21.85. A bargain, I thought so I enquired about the alternative to online booking. That would have been to go to Strabane bus station, a mile closer to where I live, and purchase from ticket from the booth there. My phone enquiry to the Translink service revealed that I would have to pay £25 for a same-day return to take the same Letterkenny to Dublin bus, boarding just a few minutes after its departure time from Lifford.
On the conversion rate for the day, that worked out at €31.81 – an extra €10 (give or take a few cent) for a journey that was shorter by a combined two miles.
So I walked the extra mile. Well, I drove it, but I could have parked my car in Strabane, walked over to Lifford for the connection, come back on the bus through Strabane (checking my car en route)  and then  disembarked there on my evening return. The online ticket only stipulates a point of boarding and who was going to prevent me getting off a stop earlier.
Next time I'll take a stroll past the 'Tinnies'.
That way, I could have saved my tenner and had a pleasant stroll up Bradley Way, across the grassy knell of the quaintly named Camel’s Hump with the wonderful ‘Tinney’ sculptures in the ‘Let the Dance Begin’ installation. Now that I’ve found my way to Dublin, spent my saved tenner on a hearty pub lunch, and returned again all at the border bonanza rate, I think I’ll just do that.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. you should really credit me with the picture!