Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Megabus Experience

This was written yesterday – Tuesday…
I am on a Megabus trip from Boston to New York, and then a second leg from New York to Atlantic City. I flew to Boston on Sunday on a cheap Spirit Air flight that was hassle-free. Monday was the Boston Marathon. My son participated. It was a beautiful but windy day; the tailwind worked in the runners‘ favor. Last year my son ran Boston for the first time; this year he met his goal of breaking three hours. He was hurting, but no injuries.
There were no cheap flights home today. I probably waited too long to try and book a flight. After searching alternatives I decided the best bet was Megabus, a fairly new bus company offering low-cost travel between major cities. The company operates in England, Canada and now the U.S. They are not yet national; they travel throughout the Northeast and the Midwest. Each leg of my trip was only $15; total cost $30 from Boston to Atlantic City, New Jersey.
I am now two hours into my four hour trip to New York. I am on the upper level of a double decker bus. It is clean and probably fairly new. There are free outlets and free Wi-Fi. I am plugged in and working. The only problem is tight quarters. The guy in front on me put his seat back, so that really limits my lap space. The bus is not really bumpy, but it is not the same as sitting down, working at a desk or anywhere not in motion.  The bus is full. It is quiet – there are some toddlers and at least one infant on board. Most people seem to be sleeping; this is an early morning bus. It left Boston 7:00 a.m., so I guess a lot of people are making up for lost sleep. My ticket was for the 8:00 a.m. bus, but my arrival at South Station was early enough to get me on this bus. 
The real problem is that I am getting nauseous. I was never good at reading in a car. This is not much better.
The Second Leg
It is a good thing I made the earlier bus. We arrived in New York about 15 minutes late, not too bad considering the time spent maneuvering through city traffic. The Megabus stop is literally just another bus stop on 7th Avenue. There is a list of the bus numbers that stop at this particular corner, and one reads: Megabus. The bus stops at the curb and everyone piles out. In bad weather it might be dicey if you have to wait for the driver to unload your luggage.
The drop off point and pick-up spot for my two trips were in different locations. I walked about 15 blocks to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, where the second bus awaited. The walk was refreshing and settled my stomach, even though it was nasty and drizzling. If I had made my scheduled trip and that bus was 15 minutes late I would not have had time to walk the distance and make the bus. I arrived at the terminal in time to grab a snack before boarding.
The Academy bus is also a nice bus, not a double decker. It is equipped with electrical outlets, but apparently not Wi-Fi. We were on the road about half an hour when we pulled into a rest stop. I was not quite sure what was going on; I did not think one was warranted on such a short trip. The driver dropped off one passenger and picked up several more. This was a transit point. The stop turned into a much longer than expected one when the New Jersey police decided to carefully check the credentials of our driver to ensure he was qualified to drive the bus. They are spot-checking drivers after a couple of bad bus accidents recently. It took a while for the police to review and check our driver. There were no problems and we were finally on the road again.
The bus is not a bad way to travel. I can nap, read, compute, converse while someone else drives. I don’t have to get stressed out about traffic, bad weather, or airport hassles. I don’t mind flying out of small airports – it is quick and easy. Maneuvering large airports can be an exhausting experience before you ever leave the ground. I would not consider the bus a cross-country alternative, but for shorter city to city trips it is definitely worth a consideration.


  1. A hassle free flight! You are lucky. Congrats to your son for participating and meeting a personal goal. Three hours is a long tome to keep running.

  2. We traveled by bus last fall from Maine to Boston. It was easy, relaxing and inexpensive. And I felt very safe.

  3. I find it amazing that you could be blogging on a bus. I'm lucky to get service at home.
    Quite impressed with your son's time. Mine would have been measured in days.
    Thanks for stopping by TNS.