Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hit by the Amtrak outage? Try the BoltBus or Limoliner!

As most of you who might be affected probably know, Amtrak has canceled both its Acela and regional service between New York and Boston over the June 16-19 stretch (updated; the work was originally scheduled for June 14-17). The culprit is the Thames River Bridge, which is old and in desperate need of repair.

If you need to travel during that time, there are the other usual choices: flying, driving, or taking the bus. The BoltBus, which I wrote about a few weeks ago, is probably the most cost-effective for the level of comfort that you get, with fares under $30. If you'd usually be riding First Class on the Acela, though, you might prefer the Limoliner, which has between three and six departures per day in each direction. It's not cheap--you can expect to pay around $90 each way--but that's still a savings versus an Acela ticket.

It's also a nice trip, with the same two-one seat configuration you'd find in First Class along with per-seat power outlets, WiFi for Internet access, movies, and even meal service provided by an onboard attendant (who is guaranteed to be competent and friendly, whereas Amtrak has a hard time promising either and rarely delivers both).

So during the Amtrak outage, take the opportunity to give one of these alternative methods of travel a try. I'll always be a supporter of passenger rail, but the real goal is to get from A to B at a cost and with a level of comfort that's right for you. Might as well see what's available.

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