Cheap Bus Travel Between Boston and New York City

It is possible to travel cheaply between Boston and New York City, less than the cost of a restaurant meal. There are two private inexpensive bus companies that run between New York City and Boston, downtown to downtown in four hours.

COST:
The fare is a mere $15 each way, which is cheaper than the tank of gas it costs to drive between the two cities or a day’s parking in either city. With the current cost of gas, two people can travel together on the bus roundtrip more cheaply than driving in one car and parking for the day. Buses leave hourly and no reservations are required. During peak times a bus also leaves on the half hour. If being on the bus at a particular time is critical, both companies have web sites for advanced ticket purchase at the additional cost of 75 cents.

TIME:
The ride between the cities is usually four hours. There is a short rest stop at one of Connecticut’s rest areas for a toilet stop (though there is a toilet on the bus), grab some fast food, and a cigarette or two for the smokers. If traffic is bad the trip takes longer. During a fierce rainstorm and stop-and-go I-95 traffic, the longest commute I have experienced is five and a half hours. But this is unusual. If your arrival time is crucial then plan to take an earlier bus or pay five times the price of the bus and take Amtrak.

QUIET:
The trip on the bus is quiet. I have ridden this bus several times during all times of the day and night, it has always been quiet enough to sleep even for this light sleeper. People talk in hushed tones, even on their cell phones. People generally find a seat, put on their iPods, pull out a book or a laptop or just fall to sleep. Before taking the bus I was worried the bus would be packed with noisy college revelers. The passengers are a diverse group of all ages, means and reasons for traveling. The one common factor of all passengers on all trips I have taken is the respect of others’ privacy and need for quiet, even the college revelers. Seriously, this is a quiet, easy way to travel.

WHERE:
The ticket counter and pick up/drop off area in Boston is at the South Station Bus Terminal. This station is in downtown Boston within walking distance of many of Boston’s famous sites. It is the terminal for several commuter trains as well as the Red and Silver lines of the T, Boston’s metro.

The ticket window and drop off/pick up area in Manhattan is in the heart of Chinatown. Fung Wah Bus Company is on Canal Street between Bowery and Chrystie Streets. Lucky Star Bus Company leaves a block away at the intersection of Chrystie and Hester Streets. Several subway lines are only two or three blocks away. The 6 (Canal St stop), B and D (Grand St stop), J-M-Z (Bowery stop) and F (East Broadway stop) are the closest lines. Take the 6 or B or D if you are headed to mid-town or uptown.

BUDGET DAY TRIP:
It is feasible for a budget traveler who only plans on visiting New York City or Boston to squeeze in a full day trip to the other city. Catch the earliest bus and arrive at the city about four hours later. Tour all day. Catch the latest bus back and return to your hotel. A truly budget traveler could save the cost of a hotel or hostel that night riding the night bus. This works best if you are traveling into New York City since you arrive around 4:00 am and more businesses are open at 4:00 am in New York City than Boston.

WEB SITES FOR SCHEDULES AND FURTHER INFO:
To take your cheap trip to Boston or New York City check out the web site of the Fung Wah Bus Company at http://fungwahbus.com or Lucky Star Bus Company can be accessed at http://www.luckystarbus.com. Both web sites provide schedules and advanced ticket purchases.

I have ridden full buses but have always been able to buy a ticket for the bus I wanted even 15 minutes before the bus left. Often I have ridden and had the seat next to me empty, room to stretch out. Holiday travel though I would recommend advanced purchase. If you buy in advance you need access to a printer because the ticket is emailed to you immediately and you must show it at the ticket counter at check-in. Or do what I have done and bring the laptop to show the email ticket on the screen. Then just sit down on the bus and work or sleep or sit back and enjoy the scenery between the two cities knowing you are saving money on gas, parking, wear and tear on your automobile and psyche letting someone else deal with the road.

HINTS FOR A SUCCESSFUL TRIP:
Arrive about a half hour before departure to ensure purchasing a ticket and finding the bus counter. In Manhattan the bus counters are small windows in storefronts. Fung Wah is well known and established. There is usually a crowd of people with backpacks and bags out front by the window waiting for a bus. In Boston it is easy. Both companies are located at gate 25 of South Station Bus Terminal.

There are few signs in Manhattan to direct you to the bus. You literally pick this bus up at the side of the street. An employee will call or gesture to direct you to the bus. Just follow the crowd of other travelers. It is easy. The bus generally shows up ten minutes before departure and you may board.

You may bring luggage. The web sites state on suitcase but I have never seen the holds full or anyone denied loading two or more suitcases. You will load it yourself in the lower luggage holds as you board the bus. Pick it up at the bus side once you arrive. Much nicer than waiting at baggage claim!!!

The bus is always clean with plenty of trash bags to hold your refuse from snacks and drinks.

Once you arrive to either destination you will want to begin touring right away. Before your trip find maps and mass transit routes for either city online.
Boston: http://www.MBTA.com
New York City: http://www.mta.info

There are also cheap buses from New York City to Washington DC, Philadelphia, Richmond, VA when you are ready to venture further, www.chinatown-bus.com will get you started.

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