By Nick Moloney
College life in DIT wouldn’t be the same if it didn’t include catching a packed bus at 7:52am to make it in for a 9am lecture.
DIT proudly advertises Dublin’s City Centre as its campus (until we move to Grangegorman) and rightly so. Dublin is one of the nicest cities in Europe; unfortunately, it is also one of the most congested.
A survey done by GPS company TomTom in 2013 placed Dublin as the sixth most congested city in Europe, and it ranked in the top 10 most congested in the world at the time.
What this means is drivers faced a delay of 43 minutes for every hour they spent in the car at peak times. More crucially this meant drivers with a 30-minute commute wasted 96 hours a year stuck in traffic jams (You don’t get those hours back at the end).
Buses will also sit in this traffic. My usual commute on the 77A (not during rush hour) takes around 20 minutes to travel 10 kilometres down to Kevin Street. But, a 9AM lecture means falling out of bed at 7am and catching the 7:50am bus.
It will then take roughly 50 minutes of breathing stale oxygen, and having my personal space invaded by backpacks and shoulders pushing past me. Of course, I am partly to blame as I was born two meters tall and am probably not the most ideal candidate for public transport.
Regardless, I sighed deeply after reading in this year’s census that nearly 200,000 commuters, (all of whom live in the commuter belt of Dublin) spend up to one hour a day just making their way to work.
But I would like to say that my commute began and ended on Dublin Bus. Unfortunately, it has spread to Irish Rail where I spend five hours a week sat idly while moving between Dublin and Wexford.
This is on the same ‘Irish Rail’ that received roughly 1000 complaints last year. 498 of which were made against disorderly passengers; a humble number considering if I made a complaint every time I came across a disorderly passenger (someone I personally don’t like the look or sound of) then the numbers could be trebled.
There are three ways I have discovered to combat these disorderly folks on both bus and train. Firstly, a good pair of earphones. More specifically, noise cancelling headphones. I am one of those unfortunate people who cannot tune out of people conversations, no matter how little I care about what’s for dinner, I now need to know! So the headphones will numb one of your three most vulnerable senses, hearing.
The second sensory nerve you will want to occupy is your sight. There is nothing more awkward than sitting beside someone who seems to have mistaken the bus for social hour at the pub (no I didn’t see last night’s game). In saying that, most people cover this part very well. A phone will cater to most needs; however, I do enjoy pushing myself to read books on public transport. Just to be different.
The third and most difficult sense to take care of is the sense of smell. Luckily our brain has us covered and will tell our smell receptors to stop sending messages of an odour that is lingering. This is so we don’t exhaust our nervous system.
Commuting isn’t easy and really does cause a lot of stress. We as a species do not like change, yet I’ve never sat next to the same person twice on the bus.
Not only this, but it takes away a lot of our leisure time. However, I have found it easy to improve my commute by turning it into something more productive. Podcasts, books, news apps, music, meditation.
I now use it as my down time. I also go through periods of reading up on anything that interests me. At the moment there is no solution to Dublin’s congestion. Thanks to the geniuses of early medieval Ireland, we have small, narrow inner city roads that were originally built for horse and cart. But don’t make the commute harder for other people by being ‘that guy’.