Thursday, July 7, 2011

Access Travel Ireland: Special Needs Kids Bus Travel-Dublin Airport to Waterford

An extremely wonderful Irish gentleman directed me to take the Aircoach Bus from Dublin to Waterford.  Great tip, this bus was much less expensive than the train and more convenient then I knew.

Aircoach Bus (Dublin to Waterford)  

The Aircoach bus has a stop at Dublin airport or you can catch a double decker shuttle bus from the airport to the Central Bus Station.  I was not aware the Aircoach Bus stopped at the Airport (although it is in the name, you'd think I'd of guessed) and asked someone in a uniform where the Aircoach bus boarded.  The person in the uniform worked for the shuttle bus company and sold me a ticket for 6 euros ($8.60 with an exchange rate of 1.49 euros to the dollar) to ride the bus to  the Dublin Central Bus station where I could catch an Aircoach Bus.  I should've known.  The shuttle bus I rode from the airport did not appear to be accessible in any way, shape, or form.

Double Decker bus from Airport
The Dublin Central Bus station was not immediately evident when exiting the bus and it took a bit of asking around to find the modest building-the train station is MUCH easier to find.  But I did find the Central bus station with the Aircoach bus line, after a 30 minute wait I was on my way to Waterford.

The Aircoach bus was large, comfortable and quiet.  It cost me 16 euro ($22.91) to ride from Dublin to Waterford (102 miles) and took about 2 1/2 hours.  The steps to the bus were low and there appeared to be a ramp for wheelchairs.  There was a bit of space in the front of the bus for a wheelchair but I didn't see any tie downs.  The    aisle was much too narrow for a wheelchair to pass.

This Aircoach bus would've been accessible to children, elderly who have difficulty climbing stairs, wheelchair accessibility did not seem to be an option but I could've been wrong.  The bus driver didn't seem to understand my accent or I didn't know how to ask the question and he could lend no assistance.

There were large storage compartments under the bus to store luggage, large enough to store an entire wheelchair for those who are ambulatory but require a wheelchair.  The colors of the bus and aisle ways were of contrasting color which would be helpful to those with visual impairments.  Great mode of travel for mom.

I rode this bus from 11:00 am to approx. 2:00 pm on a Monday.  The bus was about 1/2 full and very quiet, it swayed gently, side-to-side as it moved down the road.  This bus ride would be ideal for people who have auditory defensiveness, tactile defensiveness and who enjoy gentle rocking motion.  A great way to travel for someone with Autism or Aspergers, very peaceful.  Also a great mode of travel for mom or anyone with balance or stamina issues.

The most difficult part of this bus ride was knowing where to get off the bus.  The stops were not well marked and I was unable to discern where I was from looking out the window at the actual bus stop signs.  The bus driver did not announce the stops and there was no indication inside the bus of the name of the city/village or where the bus was stopping.

I tried to look for signs as we entered cities/villages so I could be certain to get off at the right stop, I was not very successful.  Fortunately the Irish all seem to be friendly.  I let the woman ahead of me know what stop I was getting off at and she let me know when we got there.

The 'Translink Access Guide' states that the driver will announce the bus stops if asked to do so, I just now read the guide so it's a bit late for me but now you know.

Oh and one more thing, the Central Bus Station in Dublin does not accept credit cards, BIG SURPRISE.

Is anyone else traveling?  Any travel experiences?  I would love to hear them.  Please post a comment or better yet a story.

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