Day in the life of a Dublin Bus driver

Day In The Life Of A Dublin Bus Driver Day In The Life Of A Dublin Bus Driver
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Danielle Walsh Ronan

Angela O'Callaghan's job takes her around the capital every day, meeting new faces, and old ones.

Angela has been transporting people around Dublin for just two short years.

"When I started, there was a female recruitment campaign on, and I was a stay at home mum for 16 years and I just heard the thing on the news and I thought 'I wouldn't mind giving that a go'," Angela recalls.

"I went up to Phibsborough, where the training school is, and I loved it."

I literally jump out of bed every day.

Angela says always had a love for driving, but had not imagined she would end up transporting commuters around the city on a double decker bus.

"I was considering some kind of driving [role] because I worked in an office environment, in insurance on the computer end of things.


"I thought,'I'd like to do something different', but not in a million years did I think I'd end up doing what I'm doing.

"It never crossed my mind."

Some people are still surprised to see a woman driving a bus, as Angela has found in her role.

“I pulled in one day near one of the garages and there was a man sitting in a van, and he said ‘fair play to you, look at the size of that’.

“Sometimes people would do a double take when they are crossing a pedestrian crossing.

"And I say 'yes I am a woman, and I am driving a big bus'."

Meeting 'all walks of life'

Days driving for Dublin Bus can vary. Angela's day could start as early as 5am with a bus check.

"We do what is called a bus check, so every day, every single bus that you see in the city will have had it’s light checked, and indicators," she explains.

"You have a few different shifts... you might do an early shift, that could be five o'clock in the morning, or you could be in the middle of the day, you could be in the evening time.

"You have some people who would do the same [routes] but the majority would do a variety.


"For our garage you might be up in UCD, and then you could go out to Celbridge, you could go to Maynooth, have a good aul spin.

"I don't mind those ones myself actually, because you're kind of out for a good bit."

Angela O'Callaghan has been working for Dublin Bus for the last two years. Photo: Dublin Bus

A big part of the job for Dublin Bus drivers is meeting Dubliners and people from further afield around the capital.

"It is very social, you meet literally all walks of life, you could have anything in your day," says Angela.

"Tourists asking you questions, students, a lot of elderly people, and people in wheelchairs - a real mix.

“I remember one day, I was working late, and I came into Westmoreland Street, and everyone was getting on.

“And this lady got on, and I said to her ‘well, were you at the disco?’.

“So she was having a bit of craic, and she says ‘ah I was up in Copperface Jacks…and they searched my handbag for vodka'.

"You meet characters… there is always a bit of banter.

“When you do, and it’s a few times, you start to recognise people, and they recognise you.

“People tend to get the same bus at the same time… you would nearly know who is going to be at a certain stop."

Getting 'thanked for a living'

If there is one thing Irish people are fond of, it is saying thanks to bus drivers, so much so that the latest Dublin Bus recruitment campaign has tried to convince people to get thanked for a living.

"Everyone, when they get off, says thanks or good luck," Angela details.

“People thought it might change when we started using the centre doors, but what they tend to do is come up, and your front door is open to let people on, and they’ll say something to you at the front then.

“I remember one day there was a lady, and I was just about to pull off… and I looked when she got off the stop, and then she waved, and I was so glad I seen her to acknowledge that she did that.

"I would have been kicking myself if I had missed it, because that might be their only interaction for the day."

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