The Bus Gets Cooler

In the past several weeks I’ve seen a BoltBus, Limo Liner and Megabus on Interstate 84, presumably on their trips between Boston and New York.

The fact that these buses blast through Hartford without stopping is hardly the point. If things go well enough for these relatively new services, they will expand and Hartford may eventually get in on the deal.

I’d love that. Ever since I saw the comfortable, relatively inexpensive buses in Spain during a trip there last year, I’ve been asking why travelers in the United States don’t have more competition and innovation in bus travel.

Well, times may be a-changing. A recent article in the Columbus Dispatch describes how bus ridership is up just about everywhere. There have been some missteps – Megabus recently pulled out of Los Angeles because of low ridership – but the economic environment seems to be ripening for new bus services.

Here’s what you can get into right now between Boston and New York, in addition to the usual ride on Greyhound:

Megabus is a low-cost carrier with the most basic of amenities – a restroom. It travels between South Station in Boston and Penn Station in New York with fares starting at $1. Most seats go for $10. Sometime in the next four months, it intends to start running a double-decker bus on that route.

BoltBus is a Greyhound subsidiary that takes the Chinatown bus approach, picking passengers up curbside instead of at a station. It also offers on-board Internet access, power ports and a bit more leg room than a standard bus. Tickets start at $10. 

The LimoLiner is a business-class bus that travels only between Boston and New York, a trip it makes three to five times daily. Amenities include wireless Internet; satellite television; roomy, reclining leather seats; power ports;an on-board attendant; and meal service. It travels from Hilton to Hilton. The one-way fare is $89.

In all those cases, let’s hope the next stop is Hartford.


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