Getting up and Down the Northeast Corridor

Megabus Northeast USA MCI D4505 #58525 boards ...

Recently, we decided to take a trip from our hometown of New York City down to Washington D.C. and started planning. Over the years, we’ve taken the plane many times, a car, and even the train. But we’ve never tried the bus. So, we started planning a trip down to take advantage of the new age of busing.

The Washington Times reported last month that bus trips have been rediscovered by the ‘young and hip’. Intercity buses saw a 9.8 percent increase in departures between 2007 and 2008, while miles traveled by car went down 3.3 percent and miles traveled by air went down 8 percent in the same period. Train travel only saw a 3.3 percent increase, although the Northeast Corridor is Amtrak’s big moneymaker.

Megabus and Boltbus(which is run by Greyhound) which offer at least one $1 fare on every bus, with a maximum of $25, have been offering service on the route since spring of 2008. To attract a different clientele than is usually seen on the bus, they offer powerports and free wi-fi as well as nicer, even double-decker seating on Megabus.

These companies realize that by offering inexpensive fares on routes of 175-300 miles. A trip of more than six hours will encourage people to change modes of transportation. The strength of these companies is a shorter trip, especially in cities known for delays.

To compare the two carriers, we turned to other reviews. In a comparison, Megabus offers double-decker buses, roomy seats, and convenient schedules. Boltbus offers more power ports, and a reputation for faster trips and better on-time performance. Both buses are often behind schedule though, and the top complaint was about people feeling squished and the buses feeling too packed with passengers.

To compare that to the train…the train is much more efficient, faster, and roomier. However, it does not offer the amenities or the price the bus offers, most notably the wi-fi. Amtrak is currently offering $49 fares on the route with 14 day advance purchase till September 3rd.

So, there are a lot of good options on this route for inexpensive, clean, and reasonably reliable transportation. We haven’t made up our mind yet. What do you think?


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