The Citywest Commuter – What Happened Next?

Six Months Later

A little over Six months ago I embarked on a journey. Well, a series of journeys if one were to take me literally. I ditched the car, and clambered aboard the bus and LUAS (Tram system) for work for the month.
Six months on, how is it going? Am I still taking public transport, or was it all just a publicity stunt (as I was challenged at the Christmas party but that’s a different story!)?

Short Answer – Yes, I am.

Let’s go back to the Beginning

Well, let’s go back to my original motivation for giving up the Volvo and reverting to public transport. I had three reasons for doing this:

  1. Environmental protection.
  2. Save a bucket load of money.
  3. (The ulterior motive) – as Exec accountable for Facilities, do as I would have others do and ditch that free parking space and let the train (ok, tram and bus) take the strain.

How did I ‘fare’ (geddit?)

Environmental protection: Tick! – In fact, thanks to the LUAS Eco Calculator I calculate that I save 1.79kg of CO2 each time I make my journey from Four Courts to Citywest – over six months, and on average maybe 15 working days (when I take out holidays, business travel etc) that makes an emissions reduction of over 320kg – and that’s not including the bus!

Save a bucket load of money: Tick! 

The chart says it all.  I’ve saved a lot of fuel money, not to mention the other savings such as on tyres and servicing.
Chart of savings
In fact when I took my car to Koping before Christmas, the service engineer said my Volvo would need new rear brake pads fitted soon.

He mentioned that they had 10,000 km left in them;  now, if my calculations are correct, that €130 a month I’ve saved equates to about 7,500km over 6 months to December – and because my annual mileage (kilometerage?) has reduced so much I decided not to replace the pads until next year.

How much did that save?  I don’t know but I am sure I wouldn’t have got much change from €100.

When I subtract the monthly taxsaver ticket cost of €60-odd (after tax) I’ve made a saving at least of five hundred euro, and a grand over a year – not bad.  And that excludes tyres, tolls, city centre parking when I’ve taken the bus as well.

The ulterior motive?  – well, I can’t say much to that but I have noticed there are now a few more people taking public transport although I wouldn’t take credit for that.

But isn’t that just, well, you know… just marketing – surely it’s not all rosy in the garden?

No it’s not.   The journey usually takes an hour, is 50 mins at very best and has been up to 2 hours at worst .  This is when I had to walk a few km as I was in the LUAS behind the one that crashed with a bin truck last September.

Then there were the times when it was raining and I forgot my brolly, or it was cold, or I had an early meeting and had to leave home at 6.30, or had to work late and had to change at Belgard, and the time I just missed the bus / LUAS and the next one wasn’t for 20 minutes… all things one would expect.  I guess I’m quite a philosophical person so these things don’t really upset me.

The worst thing though is when I am in a rush and have to get to an early meeting on time – then I have had to drive which is worse because I feel I’m wasting money as I already bought the ticket.  Heigh ho.

Side Benefits

There have been many side benefits – really.

  • My 13-year old daughter goes to school in the city centre so we often take the bus into town together in the morning – usually she is playing Angry Birds © on her iPhone and does her best to ignore me, especially when she sees her friends… but it’s good for me anyway (I am told that’s not my fault by the way it’s normal teen behaviour!)
  • I get to read the news, check email, catch a snooze or just watch the world go by
  • I miss out on all the lovely traffic jams
  • I don’t worry about traffic lights or being cut up at junctions or roadworks (usually)
  • I mix with real people instead of cocooning myself
  • I save the company money (yes I do – I often take the bus to Dublin airport when travelling and save taxi and parking charges!), or take the bus to City Centre engagements
  • I can have a drink at a function and not worry about driving home
  • Forces me to get out of the office at a reasonable hour
  • Great exercise – I won’t tell you how many calories I burn a week in walking between stops and home/work but it’s in the thousands.  I weigh 3 kilos less today than this time last year..

So in conclusion

It’s not for everyone, but I don’t feel so odd – in fact it’s quite the norm in my home country of England to commute by train / bus / tube.  I appreciate it’s not practical really if one lives further out rather than in Dublin.  But for me, I’m delighted to have tried it and I guess the proof of the pudding has been in the eating.

See you on the LUAS!