Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Tale of Two Buses

So this post will have me comparing and contrasting two bus lines. I had occasion to take the on a quick jaunt down to NYC recently and here is the update.

Ride Down:

Bolt Bus
Trip Cost: 18.00
Trip Duration: 5 hours

This is the new bus service that has been started by Greyhound. Shhhh. They don't want you to know it's them. And it promises new buses, fun drivers, free internet and extra room. Well, one out of 4 ain't bad.

The trip began at South Station, the bus terminal for Boston. And this is a bus terminal, filled with people who take the bus, which are the elderly, students, impoverished and mentally ill. The line for the bus queued up and I got my confirmation number which said I was to wait on line A. There was a Greyhound service booth right next to the gate and when people asked the guy wearing the "Ask me about Seat Upgrades!" button on his hat, he went into this whole "I only work here one day a week and no one tells me anything and Bolt Bus is controlled by the driver." Nice work Greyhound. Way to help out.

Get onto the bus and noticed the seats with extra room (for wheelchair passengers) had no power outlets, and I was planning on using the onboard wi-fi. So I sat in a normal seat. The outlet is in the seatback of the aisle seat. I had no seatmate, which is good as I imagine it's odd to have someone else's power adapter right in front of your nose. And let me speak on footrests for a second. You know when I want a footrest? When there's 2 feet of space in front of my feet, not 2 inches. When you don't have a lot of leg room, a foot rest is an obstruction and not a perk. I suppose those 4' asian ladies enjoy it, but me no likey.

The wi-fi didn't work, which didn't please the hipsters with their Iphones. Not at all. The driver said that she didn't know how to work the system. I'm sure that's not in the driver handbook. So here I am sitting in a normal seat, with no internet, and this bus is going slow. I think that Bolt is looking for drivers. And mine must have started a week ago. She didn't quite handle the accelerator with skill, preferring instead to speed up and then hit the brakes when she got going too fast. Everyone passed us. All the other bus companies laughing at us.

Oh! And then we stopped for a food/bathroom break. 20 miles down the goddamn Pike from Boston! What the? I mean if you want to use the toilet, go on the bus. And if you're hungry, then get food in Boston like I did.

Best part of the trip was when she made an announcement halfway through. "Attention passengers. We are going slowly when making left turns because something is wrong with the bus. Right turns are fine but I have to slow down making left turns because I don't want the bus to tip over." That's an exact quote. I was okay with this as I figure that the only thing slower than her driving would be her driving the bus on it's side.

So Bolt, I'll try MegaBus next time. But if that's no good, I'll stick with the bus I took on the way back. I did watch Glengarry on my laptop, which was the highlight of the trip. "What's my name? Fuck you, that's my name."

Ride Back:

Duration: 4 hours
Cost: $89.00

So yes, I'm aware that this is $89.00. Which is a lot of money for a bus. It's 5 times more than the BoltBus. But let's look at the differences.
  • The bus attendant served me a turkey sandwich and then an apple later in the trip. On Bolt I had tuna sandwich that I bought at Cosi. And then it squirted out the bottom and landed all over my shirt. So I looked like a mentally ill bus patron.
  • The driver seeing traffic on the Deegan, got off and took the service road which made me so happy I wanted to hug him. There's a sign against that though.
  • I watched an awful movie called Invasion, which is the remake of Body Snatchers with Nicole Kidman. Blech. Not Limoliner's fault, but they changed the ending and I was not happy. Bolt wins here only because I made the call on the flick. And hearing Jack Lemmon use the words "cocksucker" just makes me smile.
  • And finally, there was functioning internet which means mobile blog posting and Johnny Cash listening.
  • There are footrests that I can use as there is plenty of legroom.
So while it's expensive, they know their business and it's super comfy. Amtrak costs at least $85 one way with no internet or food and plenty of delays. It's $200 r/t if you want to take the Acela. The plane is around $240 r/t. And a tank of gas is around $85 for me right now. So this is less expensive than all those options and I get to relax and do work or not.

As a civil servant, the only first class options I get are the bus. It's a sad statement really.


The Ten Angry Men said...

You can put lipstick on a greyhound, and its still a greyhound... Or something like that.

maikib said...

you and your love of buses. some things never change.

maikib said...

busses? bus'? how the hell...?