I was cruising along in the darkness along I-84 between Hartford and Boston on a bus, nestled into my seat, watching a video on my iPod, when I realized something startling. I was comfortable.
The ride was smooth. The cabin was quiet and warm. The seat was roomy – and there was a vacant seat next to me.
I had decided to take the bus mainly because I didn’t want to drive. And the destination being Boston, I really didn’t want to park, either.
I considered the train. But I’d have to go through New Haven or Springfield to reach Boston. The bus was simply faster, more direct and cheaper. But still. The bus? Not even a trendy BoltBus or Megabus. Just a plain old Peter Pan bus, operating in an alliance with Greyhound.
The whole enterprise had not started out well. I arrived at the bus station in Hartford with plenty of time to catch the 6:15 bus to Boston. The driver showed up at 6:30 to announce that we wouldn’t be leaving until 7. His explanation, if I heard it correctly, was “because of the New York bus.”
But once we got going, I started to feel the mellow. If there’s one thing airline travel has done for me lately, it’s lowered my expectations for public transportation in any form. If plane travel is cramped, inconvenient and a hassle, bus travel must be that much worse.
Or maybe not. It may finally be true that the average bus ride is more pleasant than the average commercial airline trip. And it really does beat the hell out of driving.