There’s a running joke down home in Clare about how Dubs can’t handle any sort of negative change in weather, be it rain, wind, sleet or snow. In almost 8 years of living in the capital I’ve often chimed in with it. The first sign of a rainy day and it seems that every car-owner in town has to drive to work.
I grew up on the Atlantic coast which usually gets far more of a raw deal weatherwise than the east side of Ireland so maybe I’m just a thick-skinned culchie. However, in fairness to my fellow Dubliners, today’s bitter weather would put the most hardened weatherbeaten bogman to the test.
That acknowledged, it shouldn’t have had the dramatic impact on life in the city that it did today. By 5pm this evening our capital city had effectively shut down. Dublin Bus instructed drivers to pull over and abandon services until further notice while some Luas services were curtailed and Dublin Airport’s only runway had to close due to heavy snowfall and ice. Dublin Bus then tried to run a seriously limited service where it could. A city saturated with taxis didn’t have a cab in sight on most streets. Just before 7pm Dublin Bus decided it was stopping all bus services around the capital leaving thousands of commuters, myself included, somewhat stranded in an icy cold city centre that felt like 4am on New Year’s night without the merriment.
Yes, the roads were bad but really so severe that they had to pull the entire bus network out of action? Am I being too harsh in expecting more from our capital city?
I’ve seen and heard stories of people stuck on the M50 and other routes for hours, others walking home even as far as from the city centre to Blanchardstown (insane!). In comparison to some I probably did pretty good. I had offers of couches and spare beds near town if my attempt to get home failed, for which I’m hugely grateful. My only options aside from that was to slide the 4km home or try getting a taxi. I was very lucky that the latter worked out and I was happily turning the key in my door by 8.30. But…
What about those who were still standing at bus stops unaware of what was going on?
What about those who couldn’t find let alone afford a taxi home?
The whole thing reminded me of a Saturday in August 2008 when Dublin was hit by heavy rain and flooding turned into a similar chaotic mess. I sat for nearly an hour in a taxi and had to resort to walking home with my paper-bagged goodies so bad was the traffic.
Yes, these are extreme weather for our country but they’re not so extreme by international standards. I can’t understand why I hear more debate and argument about why it happens rather than what we should do when it happens.
Fail to plan, plan to fail. Dublin, you’ve got some work to do.