This past weekend I went to visit my darling little nephew in Pennsylvania. He learned to say our names recently so I had to reward the milestone with a personal visit. KS couldn’t join because she hates children.
Usually I rent a car because I’m spoiled, but this time I decided to suck it up and go by bus like the rest of the 99%. I figured this would be a good way to acclimate myself with the use of cost-effective bus transportation for non-work related travel. When we go on our “big trip” next year we’ll have to be more budget conscious and a 2-hour first-world bus ride is a nice way to ease into the seedy underbelly of bus travel. Plus, taking the bus saved me over $150 for the weekend. Score!
I’ve taken the Chinatown bus once before and it wasn’t terrible but I opted for BoltBus this time since it’s only a few bucks more and they have wi-fi (most of the time.) I need wi-fi to play Draw Something since I’m a barbarian who doesn’t have a smartphone.
My roundtrip ticket from NYC to Philadelphia was only $25. You have to purchase the tickets in advance to guarantee a seat. I purchased the tickets on the Bolt Bus site and it quick and easy. I received the receipt and confirmation within minutes. I chose to board the bus at The Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue for New Yorkers) between Grand Street and Watts Street since that’s the closest stop to my domicile. There were less than 10 people waiting for the bus with me which I was very happy about until the bus arrived. It was packed. I guess the bus does a pick-up in the midtown area before it heads to the downtown stop. Luckily, I scored a seat next to a quiet young man who didn’t smell funny or hog the armrest.
The bus ride down to Philly was very pleasant. The bus itself was new-ish, had comfortable leather seats and wi-fi. The ride was quiet and uneventful, just the way I like it. The driver was sober and awake the whole ride and even announced the end of the trip like an airplane pilot would after a long-haul flight. I think he even gave us the weather conditions and local time in Philly.
For your reading pleasure at the SEPTA station.
(Skipping to ride home since this post isn’t about Philly or my nephew.)
On the way home I had to take the SEPTA train from the quaint suburban town where my sister lives. SEPTA is the regional rail that services the outer-Philadelphia area. It’s similar to the LIRR in New York. It was about a 40 minute ride to the 30th Street Station in Center City Philly. I like trains. They’re usually clean and comfortable and I can read on the train without getting nauseous.
I arrived at the station with time to spare so I grabbed a hotdog pretzel from Auntie Anne’s. I remember these things tasting better. Oh well. Fooled by my memories of food again.
The BoltBus station is right outside of the 30th Street Station but I saw a lot of people hanging out there so I headed over to get in line. The bus was on time and it wasn’t packed. Unfortunately, the ride home was not as impressive. The bus was older and didn’t even have cup holders. The driver must’ve learned how to drive in a bumper car game at the amusement park because he kept pumping the breaks which is so unnecessary on the NJ Turnpike. I also think there should be a law against allowing children on buses. I sat across from two young girls who were riding with an older couple, probably their grandparents, because any other adult would’ve smacked the older girl and told her to STFU because no one wants to hear you yapping away for two hours. And, to make things worse, the bus didn’t have wi-fi.
Overall, I’d take the BoltBus again if I were traveling by myself. It’s a cost-effective and convenient way to get from the center of one major city to another and based on the line and stories that I heard for the Megabus in Philly, BoltBus is much more reliable. The BoltBus services eight cities between Boston and Washington, D.C. and if you’re lucky you might even score a $1 ticket.