What’s a great way to get over jet lag and get a feel for the lay of the land/city? A Hop On Hop Off bus checks all the boxes. Simple, right?
Not so in Dublin. In THAT city you have THREE choices! There’s Do Dublin, The Big Bus and City Sightseeing. During my working days, I’d show up in the city, and take whichever option I stumbled across first. No more. No sir, I’m a retiree, and one thing I have in abundance is discretionary time. Enough to allow me to check out each website, read a few reviews, look at maps and compare prices and then share what I learned with my followers (who I dearly love).
Right off the bat, I eliminated City Sightseeing. According to their website, buses run every 45 to 60 minutes, while the other two choices run every 20 or 30 minutes. Not only that, but the top is completely open–which might not be such a good thing with Ireland’s usual weather. Plus one of the “Traveler’s Tips” on their website was: “Drivers do not stop at each individual stop so advance notice needs to be given.” If you aren’t familiar with the city, how are you supposed to give advance notice? Still, I’ve provided the link in case you want to see for yourself.
The other two options have very informative websites, with great interactive route maps. The routes ARE different, so that will probably be the deciding factor for many.
Do Dublin’s buses are green; Big Bus‘ are red (like City Sightseeing). Both have partially open tops. Both have 25 stops, and a complete loop takes roughly the same time. Both offer live and recorded commentary, with Do Dublin’s type of commentary marked on the front of the bus. Do Dublin provides a voucher for free access to the “little museum”. Both offer walking tours: Big Bus provides a tour of Dublin’s small streets, while Do Dublin offers a Paddy Liddy walking tour, which means nothing to me, but apparently they think it is a selling point.
The cost for both is comparable, although Do Dublin offers a senior rate: $30 for 48 hours if you buy direct, ($30.49 if you buy from Viator- a negligible difference–but if you use Viator, it’s still worth going to the other vendors’ web site–they are that good). Big Bus’ prices are $36 for 48 hours and $27 for 24 hours, pennies more if you book through Viator. The 48 hour passes cost only a hair more than the 24 hour passes, so it made sense to me to get the flexibility of the 48 hour pass.
Big Bus also has a night tour that you can add for $18. Do Dublin offers a “freedom ticket” which includes free access to the public transportation system. Big Bus regular tours end at 6 PM, while Do Dublin goes for an additional hour, until 7 PM.
So which one will I choose? I’m going with Do Dublin, because within one hour of sending them a question, they responded with the answer I was hoping to get. Although I will have to specify a date to purchase a 48 hour ticket, I learned that the ticket will be valid for one year from that date of purchase. Perfect! If I’m so badly jet lagged on arrival date that I’m in danger of falling asleep on the ride, I can use my ticket for the two days after arrival. I’m impressed with their customer service, so they are getting my business. I’ll let you know about Paddy Liddy in a future post.