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Your Take: Ever Taken a Megabus or Bolt Bus?

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MegabusI was reading a short little piece on $1 Megabus tickets when I thought back to my experience with one of these buses. I forget the name of the company (it was neither Megabus or Bolt Bus) but I purchased a $20 ticket from Baltimore to New York City to visit my parents when, before leaving Baltimore, the bus broke down. The oil cap had broken and the bus driver was trying to find a way to cap it, including stuffing a rag in it, so that he could make the trip. He only spoke Mandarin Chinese and I acted as translator for him and the passengers. It was a disaster and I opted to not take the bus since I’d rather skip the trip than face potential breakdown on the New Jersey Turnpike!

The most amazing part of that ordeal was one passenger who said “This has happened to me four times, this is unbelievable!” To which I thought to myself… I would’ve stopped using this company after the second time, assuming the first was a fluke. The Megabus and Bolt Buses look much nicer and with Megabus being owned by Coach USA, I’m inclined to believe they’re a more professional and well-run organization.

That said, have you taken one of these buses and what did you think of it?

(Photo: paul_lowry)

{ 21 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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21 Responses to “Your Take: Ever Taken a Megabus or Bolt Bus?”

  1. Glenn Lasher says:

    I stopped taking the buses once I was out of college and could afford to do so. The “four times” person might not have had this option.

    For trips up and down the eastern seaboard, I much prefer to take Amtrak.

    Their single biggest flaw seems to be that they rarely run on time (with some key routes being exceptions to this) due to external influences (very bad rail traffic congestion here in upstate New York). I don’t mind this, though, because unlike a bus, I have room to breathe and stretch, and can take a walk if I need to move around a little. You just plan for it and make yourself comfortable.

    I usually spring the extra few bucks for business class because I can plug in my gadgets to keep myself entertained. You can do this in coach if you are able to grab the right seat, but there are outlets at every seat in business class.

  2. cubiclegeoff says:

    I’ve only taken the Fung Wah bus and it was ok. Cheap and to the point, but they’ve had issues with buses breaking down and accidents. I had a friend take one of these two and really liked it, especially with the wifi.

  3. tbork84 says:

    I have taken the bolt bus multiple times from Boston to New York, and I never had anything but a good experience. Considering I only paid $1 for a one-way ticket, I was more than happy.

  4. mannymacho says:

    I’ve taken the MegaBus to Chicago and had a generally good experience. Much cleaner than the Chinatown buses I had been accustomed to taking to NYC. On the MegaBus return trip, our bus was delayed for like 3 hours or so and they didn’t have a sitting area at the bus station so that was kind of annoying.

  5. partee875 says:

    Taken the Fung Wah and Bolt Bus. Both experiences were fine, but it’s all luck. I’ve heard so many horror stories.

  6. Mase says:

    MegaBus I’ve had very poor experiences for DC-NYC. I have hit the “twice” rule and would only use them again if desperate. My two poor occasions were when the MegaBus stopped just outside the Lincoln Tunnel claiming mechanical problems. Sat there for over a half-hour with little/no AC. Both times the MegaBus miraculously recovered. Found out later it was a common tactic of MegaBus when NYC curb space was unavailable for the drop off.

    I’ve found BoltBus to be the most consistently reliable carrier. DC2NY is decent too. Essentially, any carrier with a rewards or frequent traveller program seems to have better service. MegaBus does NOT have such a program.

  7. scmt905 says:

    I’ve taken Vamoose Bus and MegaBus from DC to NY and back. I’ve had pretty good experiences with Vamoose in the past; it seems like they take decent care of their buses. My one and only time on MegaBus was marred by the pickup of 2 bus loads of passengers from broken down buses that left before mine. This was on the way back to DC. A relatively relaxing trip became stressful after MegaBus packed us in like sardines. Both buses were still subject to traffic and to me that wasn’t worth the lower cost. I went back to Amtrak because of its higher reliability and schedule adherence.

  8. Gayle says:

    I’ve taken the Megabus a few times and have good results. Any bus is subject to the regular mechanic and traffic risks that any vehicle faces. I’ve been pretty pleased so far.

  9. erica sawyer says:

    Hi,
    I personally have not had a reason to ride Megabus but my brother and his wife have several times and at several different times of year. They tell me that the buses are nice and comfortable, very clean and run on time. The only time that the bus was late leaving was in the winter due to blizzard (which I thought was wonderful that a driver was more concerned for the safety of the passengers than making the money for the trip). The driver then took his passengers the next day after the storm had passed and the roads were cleared.

  10. Matt K says:

    the china buses have the worst safety record. ie, the casino bus that crashed between ny & ct earlier this year:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/nyregion/13buses.html
    they get involved in a crash or have some sort of violation with the government. they’ll “close” – going bankrupt or something, and start a “new” business using the same bus, same driver, etc.

    megabus operated by coach usa and bolt bus operated by greyhound are actual legit companies. and yes, I’ve used them. I’ve had better success with boltbus than megabus (ticket issue with megabus one time).

  11. Daniel says:

    I’ve taken bolt from DC to NY and it was great. Wifi, plugs, no delays other than a little traffic, and a very friendly driver. I was ready for the worst, and I’ve heard plenty of horror stories across all the lines, but I have nothing bad to say about my experience.

  12. I have not taken these bus services but I heard nothing but good things. I’m sure one of these days, I will take this bus to NYC.

  13. qboy85 says:

    Taken Mega bus twice. Had no problems. Two round trip tickets from Chicago to Memphis for $11.50 and two round trips to cleveland for $16.50. Well worth it. Bus was clean and driver professional.

  14. AaronB says:

    I’ve taken MegaBus between Boston and New York a few times (Greyhound once or twice, too). The trips went fine, without any problems. I think WiFi was flakey on one trip, but that was pretty much the worst of it. My wife and I took one trip for $25 total–it cost more to park in Boston for the weekend than the trip itself.

  15. CamPart says:

    I took the Megabus from DC to Philly this summer while on a trip to the East Coast. I was feeling a bit leery about doing so given the mixed reviews I read about the various bus services in the area, but thought that $36 in bus fare was far better than shelling out the $300 or so it would cost for my family to catch Amtrak. From Philly, I caught the Bolt Bus to NY. Trying to find the right line to stand in to get on the right bus was a bit confusing and chaotic in downtown Philly, but everything else turned out to be absolutely fine especially for the price – and I’d do it again when traveling between those three cities.

  16. Texas Wahoo says:

    The Bolt Bus is great from DC to NY and back. It’s so much cheaper than the train that I think you have to accept the occassional problem.

  17. Alisia Tasso says:

    First bus ride I took Bolt Bus, it was great. My only complaint is that the wi-fi was slow as heck. Second time I took Bolt Bus, the wi-fi didn’t work at all, and the trip was fine. I couldn’t get any work done because the ride was so bumpy and jarring. Third bus ride I took Mega Bus, and during the first 15 minutes of the ride from Boston to New York the air conditioner broke down and there was no way to open the windows. What a nightmare. I agree that you’re pretty much rolling the dice with these companies, and you just have to decide for yourself if it’s worth it or not. As for me, from now on, I’ll be taking the train.

  18. billsnider says:

    You get what you pay for it.

  19. cdiver says:

    etaken similar trips over seas and have had good and some horrible experiences

  20. Diane says:

    Have had great experiences taking Megabus the few times I have done so. the only negative was that there was no place in NYC to wait inside, and since the bus was late I was waiting in the rain.

    But the bus was great. Wi-fi. Comfy seats. Fast. Easy. It wasn’t $1 though. More like $35, but still way better and cheaper than driving.

  21. Sean says:

    AS a baltimore local, I know exactly what you took. It was the MVP bus most likely, from a few blocks north of penn station. $20, cash only, and the bus smells a little funky. I’ve taken it twice and once it was fine and the other was hours late. It left 3 hours late and arrived even further behind.


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