Monday, December 26, 2011

Greyhound: A Twenty-First Century Contender


Back in July 2009, I wrote about how the new Greyhound buses were a far cry from the cramped accommodations found on America's signature bus line for time immemorial. Patterned after the design used by BoltBus, these new buses feature roomy seats, power outlets, cup holders, and yes, free WiFi.

This afternoon (as in right now), I'm making my first trip on one of these buses, from New York City's Port Authority to Wilmington, Delaware.  I'm pleased to report back that it's a pleasant experience.

Greyhound boarding remains first-come, first-serve, with none of the priority-code seating that BoltBus uses. In practice, that meant arriving an hour in advance to have a middling spot in line. But here's the thing: where BoltBus serves half a dozen major destinations, you can take one of these next-generation Greyhound buses to places like Dover, Delaware and Salisbury, Maryland, as well as on longer-distance treks to as far away as Atlanta.

There's also price to consider, and the sharpest distinction comes when considering Greyhound as an alternative to Amtrak. Like BoltBus, Greyhound now has fares that start at one dollar. When I bought my Greyhound ticket for today's trip, I paid $20; Amtrak wanted $168.

WiFi and cup-holders won't make you forget that you're on a bus. But this really is a different way to travel by bus, and if you want to get from place to place for a low price without having to sacrifice too much, Greyhound is a twenty-first century contender.

Happy travels.