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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Busin' it

Since I've relocated, I've visited NYC several times. My primary mode of transportation: the bus.

I absolutely love it!

No TSA molestation. My luggage stays with me. Most importantly, It's CHEEEEAP!

The four hour trip is an awesome excuse to catch up on my web browsing (when the free wifi is working properly) or catch up on some much needed Zzzz's.

I've tried four bus companies in the last three months. Here's the quick run down:

DC2NY
Pros:
- Clean
- Comfortable seating
- Water bottle provided upon boarding
- Movie optional*
-wifi worked great
- Great pick up/drop off location (Union Station/Penn Station)
- Apparently travel to near by beaches. Something I'll have to try in the summer
* Passengers take a vote if they want a movie viewed during the ride. Majority wins.

Cons:
- Late arrival
- Pricey $28 o/w
- Not really active on social media sites
- limited services
Vamoose Bus
Pros:
- Comfortable
- On time
- Several pickup/drop off options from DMV: Bethesda Lorton, or Arlington
- Good drop off location in NYC: near Madison Square Garden
- Awesome & prompt communication via Twitter & Facebook
- Two Bus options: Regular & Gold (1st class)
- Free Wifi
- Effortless reservation change process
Cons:
- outlet didn't work *
- Pricey $30 o/w for regualr or $50 o/w for Gold
* When I mentioned this on Twitter, I got an immediate response suggesting I ask the driver to simply re-set the switch

I used this bus service to return back to DC. I arrived well after midnight and was dropped off two blocks from the Metro station. I kinda wish the drop off area was a little closer. That's my only main gripe.

Mega Bus
Pros:
- Cheap
- Huge buses - - some are double decker
- Frequent schedules - - hourly
- Good pick up location (DC)
- Free wifi
Cons:
- Horrible communication *
- Annoying pick up location (NY) **
- Changing schedules was a pain
* This was my bus service of choice when I traveled to the area for Christmas. This company was the first to cancel all bus service between the 2 cities, well before the storm started. Which did not sit well with me. (At least the other companies continued to operate until weather conditions deteriorated.) Communication was sparse during the weather cancellation. I got an email Monday morning, advising me of the previous Sunday's cancellation! I was owed a partial refund, which I never got & quite frankly, they can keep my money because I won't use them again unless it's a life and death situation.

** I can't remember off the top of my head, but I believe I had to meet the bus on 9th & 31st. Which is out of the immediate Times Square area. I wasn't feeling that.


Bolt Bus
Pros:
- Cheap (maybe $2-3 more than Mega)
- Clean bathroom!!!! (I was surprised)
- Frequent schedules -- hourly
- Good pick up location (DC)
- Good pick up/drop off location (NY)
Cons:
- Wifi didn't work
- Sparse social media interaction
I didn't care too much that the wifi didn't work during my trip because I was utterly exhausted both legs of the trip. (Packing prior and partying with Prince afterward) I avoid public bathrooms on buses if I can. I've been known to hold the bladder for the entire duration of the trip. But I wanted to use the restroom to clear my system for the long slumber. I was surprised at how clean and odorless the bathroom on the bolt bus.

Conclusion:
I like the Vamoose the best. Communication goes a long way for me and this company delivers. It is a splurge so when funds are fluid or I'm wanting just a little bit more comfort, I'll purchase from them. Otherwise, Bolt bus is going to be my bus of choice. Both Mega & Bolt bus advertise fares as low as $1 but I haven't come across them yet. It is worth noting that each reservation was booked 24 hours or less prior to departure date.

Next NYC trip: Feb 7th - - if all goes well.

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