From Apps to student travel cards, this blog outlines all the useful tips and tricks you need to know to navigate your way on public transport around Limerick like a local!
Getting around in Limerick, especially when you are new in the city and country altogether, can be quite a challenge at first. With this blog post, I hope to make your first weeks in Limerick transportation-wise a bit easier. The most prevalent form of transportation in the city are cars and busses, upon which a lot of the infrastructure is based. In this post, I am going to focus on public transportation.
Now, for the people who don’t or can’t drive a car while in Limerick, I would suggest the bus as the best alternative. There are several bus companies operating in Limerick, one of them being Bus Eireann, the one which the majority of UL students take. There are several apps that the bus company provides; Journey Planner, TFI Go, Real Time Ireland and Leap Top-Up. With the first one, you can enter the bus stop or place of departure and the destination of arrival. The “departures” option allows you to also enter a time of departure or arrival, but then takes away the option to enter a destination point. While the app does give an accurate overview of the bus routes and trips, it does not provide you with the option to enter both departing and arriving bus stop combined with a certain time. For this reason, I tend to turn towards Google Maps or the app Moovit. Both these apps have proven to be accurate and easy to use, with all the information in one place.
To help you further along, the bus (from Bus Eireann) that most students take is the 304. This bus namely travels from the city center to the University of Limerick and back. Another option is the 304A, which has a couple of extra stops and therefore takes longer if your destination is the city center. At the University of Limerick, there is a bus stop right outside of the Student Courtyard, which is the one most students use, called UL Student Centre or UL Stables. The main bus stops in the city center. The main stops are William Street, Henry Street and Roches Street, marked in the map below.
The app TFI Go is meant for buying and accessing bus tickets. You can buy a single journey ticket for €1.68, which is valid for more than an hour after activation (so, you could technically take several buses if you still are in that time frame). Moreover, you are also offered the option of buying a 10 Journey Ticket for €16.80. Both of these are cheaper than buying a single ticket in the bus, which is €2.60. Important to note is that you have to pay for these single tickets by cash, so make sure you have enough on you. Also keep in mind that this price is robust, independent of how many stops you will travel. Additionally, if you change buses, you have to pay this price again.
Another option, which is the most attractive and most used by students, is the TFI leap card. After getting your UL student card, you are eligible for a leap card. You can put money on this card through the Leap Top-Up app or specific top up points, such as the Spar. A single bus ride using the leap card costs €1.68, which is cheaper than having to buy a single fare ticket in the bus every time. What I myself -and plenty of other students, depending on how much they take the bus- do, is use a monthly leap card ticket, which entails that you pay €52 for a month. With this, you can take the bus as many times as you want, and if you were to travel by bus a lot, the €52 monthly would be worth it. You can put a monthly pass on your leap card at the Spar located in the University Courtyard. Another option is a daily or weekly pass on your leap card for respectively €4 and €16.80.
There is also a bus service from the city centre to UL that takes 15 minutes. Note that for the green buses (so not Bus Eireann), you have to pay by card.
The last app I would like to shortly explain is Real Time Ireland, which gives the most accurate overview of the punctuality of your bus. It is not unusual that a bus arrives a lot later (or does not show up at all) at your bus stop, mainly due to the traffic in the city. It is therefore useful to have this app; you enter the bus stop from where you depart and can check the time your bus will arrive.
As a side note, I would encourage you to take an earlier bus, as punctuality of the buses is quite unreliable (mainly due to the traffic in the city), with them sometimes not showing up at all, and causing you to be late.
To give you an overview, the picture below shows the Red Zone of Limerick and the different bus routes.
To shortly touch upon other means of transportation; there are plenty of taxi services in Limerick. I personally use the app FreeNow and have had a pretty good experience with it. You could otherwise also flag down or call a taxi. Just make sure that the taxi driver has your destination point correct and let people you are close with know where you are going. If you or the taxi driver cannot find your destination, make sure you know the Eircode of your destination, which can help in the search.
Using a bike in Limerick has proven to be quite difficult. Around campus, there are plenty of bike lanes and stands, but sadly the same cannot be said for the city center. You should anticipate riding your bike on the streets together with cars, which can be quite stressful. When it is light outside, you can take a bike path from the city center to UL that follows the river, which is less stressful and has beautiful views.
I hope this information will help you and will make your first few weeks in Limerick a bit less stressful!