Pick a place which you would like to travel to. This can be a nearby town, college, school, or somewhere that interests you, like a museum or the zoo.
If the route is long, it might be worth starting off by doing part of the route rather than the full route. Splitting the route in to segments may reduce your anxiety.
Use google maps, or similar, to see what forms of transport are available to you. Your route may have multiple kinds of public transport options and will give you a breakdown of estimated journey times.
Having a family member or friend accompany you when you are learning a new route is hugely beneficial, they can be there to help if you are feeling anxious, or if you would like to go back home.
If you are practicing your route, starting off at an off-peak time may be less stressful.
If you are practicing a route to get you at your destination at a particular time, for example, college, it is important to eventually trial this route at the specific time so that you have a clear idea of the length of time needed for your journey.
Although a lot of forms of public transport have real time alerts for the next stop, it is important to identify landmarks along your route. These can be schools, churches, parks etc. This can be done during your practice travelling sessions with your family member.
Many forms of public transport have apps which give an estimated time of arrival at stops. Dublin Bus, Luas, Irish Rail and Bus Eireann all have real time information available.
Timetables are also available that break down your chosen route and its different stops, along with estimated journey times. It is important to allow for extra time around these, as they do not take into consideration road works or high levels of traffic.
A disability travel pass can be used on all forms of public transport (which does not include taxis or buses run by private companies).
If you do not have one, payment for public transport depends on the service.
Irish rail allows you to purchase tickets at a ticket machine which accepts cards and cash.
Bus Eireann allows payment in cash on board the bus.
Dublin bus only accepts coins or a leap card which can be topped up using the app, in local shops and at Luas stations.
The Luas allows you to purchase tickets at each stop using cash or cards using the ticket machine, but leap cards can also be used and validated at the tag on stations before getting on to the Luas, just remember to tag off when you get off the bus or luas or train!
Other options to transport include walking, cycling with your own bike or using a city bike service (dubinbikes or bikeshare in Galway, Cork and Limerick) which are between 10-25 euro for a year’s membership with unlimited use.
It is important to have a back-up plan in case something happens that changes your plans.
(You might get the wrong bus, get the right bus but in the wrong direction, miss your stop or the bus/luas/train might be too full for you to get on to it).
These things happen but it is important for you to make a plan so that if they do, you don’t get too stressed or anxious.
Make a plan for in case you become anxious during your journey. Share and discuss this plan with someone close to you so that they can reply to a text or call you if you get in touch while travelling.
Sometimes when using public transport, someone may strike up a conversation but typically people do not like to talk to strangers while on public transport and keep to themselves.
People often like to sit in a particular seat when using public transport. We often gravitate towards this seat. Sometimes the seat will be free and sometimes it wont. If it is not free, pick an empty seat.
However, if the bus is mostly empty but someone is sitting beside your favourite seat, it may make them uncomfortable if you sit beside them.
If you have sensory difficulties, make yourself a sensory kit to bring with you while you travel. This can include your headphones so you can listen to music or a podcast, a book, a fidget, sunglasses, a hat etc.
This sensory kit may help you feel less anxious and will dilute some of the senses which are causing stress.