The wheels on the bus go round and round

Apparently bus travel is the new hotness in travel in the North East Corridor. There are about 5 new companies operating in the Boston – Washington, DC area. Some of them are just new brands on old names, like BoltBus and MegaBus instead of Greyhound and Champion, and some would seem to be newcomers to the space. And these are decidedly NOT the typical Chinatown bus setups. Yes, they leave from a random street corner somewhere in the cities they serve, but they also have real websites where they sell tickets and publish schedules. Some of them (at least Bolt and Mega) have on-board WiFi and plugs at the seats. I’m on the bus now and plugged in and posting away, as well as getting some work done.

On the down side, it is still a bus. Only about 30% of the seats are full on the mid-day Monday New York-Philly run, but I can imagine it being rather uncomfortable if it got more crowded. And I did just get to listen to J.K. (the woman across the aisle) talk to about 4 different people at top volume about getting her time sheet in and her expenses paid. I suppose that happens all the time on the train, too, but it was still pretty annoying. And there is always the potential for traffic problems, but we’ve managed to avoid them thus far.

And we managed to pace an inbound flight on final approach into Newark as we headed down the NJ Turnpike, affording me this fun shot from basically right outside the window:

Overall, I’m satisfied thus far, especially since it is rather less expensive than the train options and is a non-stop trip, at least to Philly, but I don’t know that it would be a great option on a crowded ride. I’ll potentially find out next week when I make the final leg of my ridiculous 2x to Hawaii in 10 days trip back from the Philly airport and try MegaBus out (I’m on BoltBus today).

Turns out that the WiFi isn’t very good, which is too bad. I just dropped offline (from the bus to the internet, not locally) though it was working OK about 10 minutes ago. And now I’m sortof back, though it is slower than the free WiFi at a Continental Presidents Club, which is saying a lot.

Update (~5pm): After spending about an hour in traffic thanks to a fire somewhere on or near the Ben Franklin Bridge into Philly I’m not as convinced of the value of the bus. If it really was a train fire as was indicated online then I might’ve been just as delayed on the train, but this is getting to be pretty painful, even with the Internet (which has been pretty good during the hour delay).

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.