dublin bus years service cié stories
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For some, 30 years may seem like the blink of an eye, but for the mainstay of Dublin city’s transport service, Dublin Bus, it is a lifetime.
Although motor buses have been running on the city’s streets since the early years of the last century, serving new housing estates which could not be reached by tram, Dublin Bus has only been on the road since 1987, when it was separated from CIÉ.
To celebrate its 30th anniversary the company has put together a collection of stories from its “chroniclers” – the men and women who drive the buses.
“There was a lady out in Bray - Ethel, who had a pet seagull called Maureen,” Dessie O’Toole, who started out as a conductor in 1975 recounts.
“She lived near the terminus and she was very good to us, would bring you out a cup of coffee or tea in the morning. But she would go out on the prom and call out ‘Maureen!’ and a seagull would come and land on her shoulder and she’d bring her home and feed her.”
In case this sound like an old wive’s tale, there is, Mr O’Toole explains, documentary proof. “Ethel appears in a John Hynes postcard with Maureen sitting on her head.”
Craig Shearer, who has been on the buses more than 30 years remembers one Christmas when he pulled into the bus garage in Swords to find a passenger asleep on the floor in the middle door well.
“You’d get a lot of people at Christmas time, who maybe wouldn’t be used to the drink, or used to getting the bus, but this one guy had fallen asleep by the middle doors and he was lying there with his arms wrapped around a turkey. He was told by his wife that he wasn’t to come home without the turkey, so he may have missed his stop but he still had his turkey.”
Theresa Lydon, one of the few women drivers in the 1980s, pulled out all the stops for her passengers.
“I ran the folk group in St Joseph’s Church in Ballymun, but I also used to drive the wedding buses. I can remember singing at a wedding, hopping out and driving everyone to the reception, and then back again afterwards.”
These and other stories, including passengers who moved stops to more convenient locations, and rabbits turning up unaccompanied (and without a ticket) can by found on youtube.com/dublinbusnews and the Dublin Bus twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages.