Because people who work with me and for me regularly do it, and I’m not a precious flower, I decided on the spur of the moment today to take the BoltBus to DC rather than Amtrak. I figured why not save a bit more than a hundred dollars, since it takes only about an hour longer when traveling in the middle of the day when traffic is relatively light.
So here I am on the New Jersey Turnpike speeding along in the left lane at a bit more than 70 miles per hour.
A few observations:
We left 15 minutes late but were through the Lincoln Tunnel in five minutes, are making excellent time and I suspect will arrive ahead of schedule. The bus is direct – board near Penn Station and ride to Union Station, with no intervening stops.
The boarding experience on a sidewalk near Penn Station is not elegant, but (given the context, which is a man in an orange vest yelling at a motley crowd while traffic streams by) is orderly and tolerable.
I booked my ticket 90 minutes before departure and paid $16, which, seriously, is a ridiculously small amount of money.
The bus itself is fine. Seats are newish and comfortable, there’s wifi (not as fast as my AT&T 4G, so I’m not using it). They’re a couple inches too close together, but it won’t kill me. The driver is professional and obviously competent. Air conditioning is operating,
They filled every last seat with standby passengers. I’m near the back, so the air is a little urinous (rookie mistake), but I’ll live.
The crowd is way less low-rent than your typical bus customer was 30 years ago — the vast majority being what I would consider “normal people,” albeit not necessarily wealthy or trendy. I will say that I am one of only two or three people on board who is dressed in business attire (by chance I’m sitting beside one of the others), but nowadays that’s often true on airliners, too.
Bus etiquette is different from train etiquette — people are in conversation, some people are watching a movie together audibly across the aisle — but put on your headphones and it’s fine.
Would I do this again? Sure, anytime my exact arrival time is somewhat flexible.