Get on the Bus

I’ve been neglecting my blog, I know, I know. But, I’ll be honest, in addition to my usual crazy work schedule, it’s been because of summer time: cookouts, pool time, a bachelorette party, weekend trips, and the like. I mean, really, can you blame me?

But I’m not the only one that’s been taking some weekend trips, and in New York—a city where hardly anyone owns a car—when you want to get out of town for a quick weekend, you take the Bolt or Mega Bus. Now, if you’re not familiar with either of these buses, you are probably imagining a bus station somewhere in New York, where buses pull in and out on schedule, and things pretty much work like clockwork. Unfortunately, as I was reminded during a trip back to Maryland for Father’s Day weekend, that’s definitely not the case.

You see, there are definite pros and cons with taking either of these buses. The pros: tickets range from $17-$23 (and these days, that’s definitely a big pro.) More pros: the Bolt Bus has leather seats, and both Bolt and Mega buses have wi-fi, and outlets so you can keep your laptop/iPad/phone charged. All great. The downsides? I have yet to take either bus and have them be on time. Especially on a holiday weekend—buses can be delayed by 2-3 hours. Oh, and they have no bus stations, so waiting for these buses during that 2-3 hour period is truly a madhouse: people are elbowing each other, trying to get on an earlier bus on standby, there’s no type of organized line, and—being that there is no actual station—if it’s raining, snowing, or just plain hot or cold, you’re out of luck.

Unfortunately, being that I live in New York and pay New York rent, New York food prices, and New York taxes, I normally can’t afford to take the Amtrak train for a short weekend trip. So, it’s the bus for me. But I feel I should warn whoever I can to be prepared, because it’s easy to be fooled by these buses when you are coming from another destination into New York (my ride in from Maryland was drama free, minus a carsick kid who was puking in the seat behind me.)  But if you are heading out from NYC, be prepared with snacks for your long wait, the appropriate clothing for weather changes, and your game face for the battle to get on the bus.

(For those of you wondering about the Chinatown bus…don’t even get me started. All I will say is, avoid it at all costs—but that’s another post for another day.)

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