One of the cheapest ways to get around on the east coast of the US is by traveling by bus. We travel often between New York and Washington DC either to see family, friends or attend events. It’s convenient, they leave often, and they’re cheap. Megabus and Boltbus are two of the most popular budget-friendly East Coast buses often promoting deals that cost as low as $1. Many of them offer free wifi and outlets too. Both companies promote the same services though. So which of the East Coast buses are better?
When it comes to budget bus companies, Megabus was the first company for East Coast buses that I rode in. I loved that they left from outside Penn Station in New York City but that didn’t last long. I don’t know when this started happening but now they pick up near Javits Center which is not close to any metro stop. It’s a far walk from Penn Station. Luckily they’ll still drop you off near Penn Station.
The last couple of times I’ve taken Megabus, most of the outlets and wifi didn’t work.
Megabus uses double-decker buses which looks cool from the outside but inside it’s crowded and uncomfortable. It’s always super hot on the bus when you first get in because there’s a window on the top ceiling. You can see it in the picture. It’s not until the driver turns on the A/C that it starts to feel more comfortable.
The seats itself are okay. Nothing crazy but good enough for a couple of hours of sitting down.
In my opinion, Boltbus is so much more comfortable than Megabus. There are way more legroom and the outlets actually work. Because it’s not a double-decker bus, there are fewer people on the bus and more room overall.
The wifi has never worked for me though. I’ve taken my MiFi card with me and halfway through NYC and DC, it stopped working too. I wonder if the signal on the roads between these two cities just doesn’t work well.
The last time I took a Boltbus, we had a ten minute break at a highway stop and I really appreciated that. I got some quick snacks and went right back in. I’ve taken quite a few Megabus’s and they’ve only ever stopped at bus stations to pick up or drop off people. There was never enough time to stretch and even if there was, the bus stops are usually not in a great location.
I decided to add one more company to the mix on my review of East Coast buses because I recently took Greyhound and was surprisingly impressed. In the past Greyhound had always reminded me of dirty buses and strange passengers. I took Greyhound once from NYC to Orlando and that was the worst. Just all-around horrible customer service and the buses were disgusting. But something changed and I think the rising Megabus and Boltbus type companies might have something to do with Greyhound having to change their look.
I took Greyhound from DC to Philly to the Poconos and the experience was so much better. The seats were amazingly comfortable and the legroom might be more than Boltbus. The only problem is that Greyhound is typically more expensive than Bolt or Megabus but I’m glad we’re finally seeing that the price actually reflects what you get. In the past, a $1 Megabus had better quality than a $40 Greyhound bus.
Have you taken a Megabus, Boltbus, or Greyhound? Which of the East Coast buses do you think is better?
Now that you know what bus company to take let’s start planning a trip to the East Coast! Read on for more information:
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- New York’s Side Streets: A Photo Essay
- Cookies, Cannoli and Finding my Roots in Boston’s North End
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- How to Eat Like a Local in DC
- Exploring the Food of Chinatown and Little Italy with Ahoy New York