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Passengers scramble for seats on private buses out of city

PASSENGERS scrambling to catch one of the few intercity buses heading out of the capital complained of the confusion and inconvenience they encountered as the Bus Eireann strike entered its second day.

Belfast-bound passengers queueing for a handful of private buses operating as part of a partnership with the state bus company said the skeletal service between Dublin and Belfast still left a lot to be desired.

Waiting in the biting wind at the Custom House Quay for a Translink bus to Belfast yesterday, students Hannah McKee (19) and Louis Hannigan (19) from Belfast said they were lucky to make it to Dublin at all to see pop star Beyonce perform at Dublin's 02 on Sunday night after more than a thousand Bus Eireann drivers walked off the job at midnight on Saturday.

"Yesterday (Sunday) morning we got the 10 o'clock bus (to Dublin) and that was the last bus that ran and it was full. If we weren't there early we wouldn't have gotten here at all," said Ms Hannigan.

Emmet Goggins (24), a piano teacher from Westport, and Dave Lopez (29), from Galway, said they didn't even know about the strike until they turned up at Busaras yesterday to get a bus to Belfast for sightseeing.

"We walked into the station and it was weird, it was so quiet. We had no idea it was on strike," Mr Lopez said.

Marie Brennan who lives in Bangor, Northern Ireland, said she was forced to cut short her visit with her sister in Dublin to celebrate her birthday yesterday because of the strike.

"I took the day off work and I would have gone back much later, but I didn't want to take a chance. I have to be back at work tomorrow," she told the Irish Independent.

And British tourists Finola and Peter Jackson from Northumberland in Northern England said the strike would force them to get up at the "crack of dawn" on Wednesday in order to get a bus from Newry to Dublin Airport to catch their flight home.

Irish Independent