High gas prices boost bus travel
After decades of decline, bus travel is on the rise again. But is it right for you?
(Page 3 of 3)
Go at the rest stops: Anything beats trying to use the toilet on the bus as you swerve around corners on the highway or bounce over potholes in town.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Be punctual: Greyhound drivers in particular are known for keeping to tight schedules. This bodes well for making a connection, but the unwary may find themselves abandoned at a rest stop somewhere in Oklahoma at midnight.
Be patient: Taking the bus can let you soak in roadside vistas, relax, save money, and even experience a little romance of the road, but patience and humility are required. This is the cheapest mode of travel, remember. You may be an hour or two late; you may be told to stand in line for longer than you wish; you may not be able to dodge the large seatmate. Be grateful when you’re on time, and try to stay calm when you’re not. Enjoy the ride.
A few thoughts on bus lines:
1. Greyhound Lines has the best coverage and most experienced drivers, overall, but myriad other services cover similar territory. Shop around.
2. Megabus, with its Chicago hub, serves Midwest travelers well and, to a lesser extent, the Northeast.
3. The Fung Wah Chinatown bus has cheap service between major cities in the Northeast, but don’t expect Greyhound-style professionalism: Tales of Fung Wah drivers asking passengers for directions are not exaggerated.
A final word: I would not hesitate to recommend bus travel to anyone for shorter day trips. But the prospect of a long-haul journey requires some sober consideration.
Cost comparisonNew York City to Washington: 228 miles
|Bus||4 hours||$15-55 (see note below)|
|Car||4 hours||$123 (see note)|
|Train||3 hours, 20 min||$100-125|
|Plane||1 hour, 30 min.||$75-150|
Chicago to San Francisco: 2,100 miles
|Bus||2 days, 5 hours||$163-182|
|Car||1 day, 17 hours||$1,136|
|Train||2 days, 6 hours||$180|
|Plane||5 to 7 hours||$300-440|
Boston to New Orleans: 1,500 miles
|Bus||1 day, 15 hours||$165-185|
|Car||1 day, 8 hours||$811|
|Train||1 day, 10 hours||$175|
Notes: Car expenses calculated using AAA average figure of 54.1 cents per mile. Advance-purchase (four weeks) bus tickets may cost half as much.
Sources: mapquest.com; AAA; Kayak.com; Greyhound Lines; Megabus; Fung Wah Bus Transportation; Amtrak.