Megabus VS Boltbus VS Greyhound- Which is better?

One of the cheapest ways to get around in 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 bus companies 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 bus company is better?

Megabus

megabus

When it comes to budget bus companies, Megabus was the first company 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 pickup 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 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 in the bus when you first get in because there’s a window on the top ceiling. You can see it on 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 hours of sitting down.

Boltbus

boltbus

In my opinion, Boltbus is so much more comfortable than Megabus. There’s way more legroom and the outlets actually work. Because it’s not a double-decker bus, there’s less people in 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 don’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.

Greyhound

Greyhound

I decided to add one more company to the mix because I recently took Greyhound and was surprisingly impressed. In the past Greyhound had always reminded me 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.

[question]Have you taken a Megabus, Boltbus, or Greyhound? Which do you think is better?[/question]

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.feldsott David Feldsott

    Great summary! I take the BoltBus and MegaBus all the time between Boston, NYC, and DC. Bolt is definitely the better option for the many reasons you said. The only problem is that Bolt fills up much quicker than Mega; you can’t make last minute reservations on Fridays and weekends. No tickets will be available within 2-3 days of traveling. FYI: Bolt Bus is owned by Greyhound and since Bolt is growing so much faster than its parent company, I think Greyhound knows they have to update their fleet before they are irrelevant.

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      I did not know Greyhound owned Bolt. Good to know!
      Once with Bolt I arrived too early and they let me take the earlier bus because there was room. That was probably a weekday but it was great.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.feldsott David Feldsott

    Great summary! I take the BoltBus and MegaBus all the time between Boston, NYC, and DC. Bolt is definitely the better option for the many reasons you said. The only problem is that Bolt fills up much quicker than Mega; you can’t make last minute reservations on Fridays and weekends. No tickets will be available within 2-3 days of traveling. FYI: Bolt Bus is owned by Greyhound and since Bolt is growing so much faster than its parent company, I think Greyhound knows they have to update their fleet before they are irrelevant.

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      I did not know Greyhound owned Bolt. Good to know!
      Once with Bolt I arrived too early and they let me take the earlier bus because there was room. That was probably a weekday but it was great.

  • Melissa

    I use Bolt and Mega between NYC and D.C. I really have no preference, I normally book with whichever one is cheaper at the time. I’m 5ft tall so I have no problem with legroom anywhere. Ever.

  • Melissa

    I use Bolt and Mega between NYC and D.C. I really have no preference, I normally book with whichever one is cheaper at the time. I’m 5ft tall so I have no problem with legroom anywhere. Ever.

  • Erik Fantasia

    I’ve done all three, along with a few of the newer and smaller operators. I typically ride between NYC and Boston and would generally agree that Bolt is better. But recently, I’ve started using Greyhound…they have more availability, cheap prices on this route (even last minute), along with wifi, power, and leather seats. Riding the pooch also means I get to leave from Port Authority, which is a tad more convenient for me than Penn Station.

  • Erik Fantasia

    I’ve done all three, along with a few of the newer and smaller operators. I typically ride between NYC and Boston and would generally agree that Bolt is better. But recently, I’ve started using Greyhound…they have more availability, cheap prices on this route (even last minute), along with wifi, power, and leather seats. Riding the pooch also means I get to leave from Port Authority, which is a tad more convenient for me than Penn Station.

  • Paul Cianciolo

    BoltBus is just Greyhounds way to get back in the market without the customer really knowing its all the same company. But I do prefer Bolt. Megabus is bad if stopping ton Baltimore because of where they stop.

  • Paul Cianciolo

    BoltBus is just Greyhounds way to get back in the market without the customer really knowing its all the same company. But I do prefer Bolt. Megabus is bad if stopping ton Baltimore because of where they stop.

  • http://www.travelerahoy.com/ Alouise

    It’s great there are so many options for bus travel on the east coast. Where I’m from there’s really just Greyhound, and a smaller company that just offers bus service within Alberta.

  • http://www.travelerahoy.com/ Alouise

    It’s great there are so many options for bus travel on the east coast. Where I’m from there’s really just Greyhound, and a smaller company that just offers bus service within Alberta.

  • camorose

    Agree on MegaBus in NYC: way too inconvenient! The lines are also insane on Sunday afternoons/evenings and there are never any reps around to answer questions, help direct, etc. I’ve started taking Greyhound and the price is often comparable to MegaBus or Bolt but the service tends to be much better (in terms of being on time and having someone to answer questions) and the Wifi is about 50-50 on working well. Taking Greyhound both ways to Boston this weekend–will see how it goes!

  • camorose

    Agree on MegaBus in NYC: way too inconvenient! The lines are also insane on Sunday afternoons/evenings and there are never any reps around to answer questions, help direct, etc. I’ve started taking Greyhound and the price is often comparable to MegaBus or Bolt but the service tends to be much better (in terms of being on time and having someone to answer questions) and the Wifi is about 50-50 on working well. Taking Greyhound both ways to Boston this weekend–will see how it goes!

  • Tracy Zhang

    I’ve only tried Megabus but it was a pretty average experience all around.

  • Tracy Zhang

    I’ve only tried Megabus but it was a pretty average experience all around.

  • Karen Mc

    After a horrible experience with Greyhound 2 weeks ago – I will NEVER use this company again. Dirty, loud, cramped buses. Unprofessional, unorganized workers and drivers – both in Boston and Albany. Busdrivers lazy….arrived late to destination “waiting for a bus” …the Albany station – dirty. Just horrible. Peter Pan is my preference – Professional, On time, clean, comfortable – a complete 180 from Greyhound. I have never done Bolt or MegaBus – but have heard good things about MegaBuse

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      Not sure I’ve ever been on a Peter Pan. I’ll have to check it out.

  • Karen Mc

    After a horrible experience with Greyhound 2 weeks ago – I will NEVER use this company again. Dirty, loud, cramped buses. Unprofessional, unorganized workers and drivers – both in Boston and Albany. Busdrivers lazy….arrived late to destination “waiting for a bus” …the Albany station – dirty. Just horrible. Peter Pan is my preference – Professional, On time, clean, comfortable – a complete 180 from Greyhound. I have never done Bolt or MegaBus – but have heard good things about MegaBuse

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      Not sure I’ve ever been on a Peter Pan. I’ll have to check it out.

  • Katka Lapelosová

    I feel like Megabus and BoltBus are hit or miss (wifi/outlet-wise), yet I’ve never had a bad trip because of it – I just prepare for the worst. But I would choose both in a heartbeat over Greyhound. Greyhound’s customer service is AWFUL and I also don’t like their policy that “just because you bought a ticket, doesn’t guarantee you a seat.” Um, how does that work?! I will never ride with Greyhound again.

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      I always thought that policy was odd too but they’ve had it for years. I always wondered what their reasoning for this was. Is it difficult to have a system in place to reverse seats? I’ve had an issue of a bus being filled but I do wonder.

  • Katka Lapelosová

    I feel like Megabus and BoltBus are hit or miss (wifi/outlet-wise), yet I’ve never had a bad trip because of it – I just prepare for the worst. But I would choose both in a heartbeat over Greyhound. Greyhound’s customer service is AWFUL and I also don’t like their policy that “just because you bought a ticket, doesn’t guarantee you a seat.” Um, how does that work?! I will never ride with Greyhound again.

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      I always thought that policy was odd too but they’ve had it for years. I always wondered what their reasoning for this was. Is it difficult to have a system in place to reverse seats? I’ve had an issue of a bus being filled but I do wonder.

  • M

    The poor grammar in some parts of this article are a bit distracting. However, thanks for covering this topic. Both the content and the comments are informative! Thanks again!

    • M

      *is a bit distracting. Hahaha

      • Q

        glass houses……sheesh!

  • M

    The poor grammar in some parts of this article are a bit distracting. However, thanks for covering this topic. Both the content and the comments are informative! Thanks again!

    • M

      *is a bit distracting. Hahaha

  • Q

    glass houses……sheesh!

  • Kim

    Thanks for the info. I’ll be going to Washington DC from NYC on a bus for the first time in over a decade. I’m deciding between Bolt and Megabus and it appears that Bolt is the better of the two.

  • Kim

    Thanks for the info. I’ll be going to Washington DC from NYC on a bus for the first time in over a decade. I’m deciding between Bolt and Megabus and it appears that Bolt is the better of the two.

  • greenangel

    Sooo… how was your Greyhound trip to Boston?

  • greenangel

    So you would definitely recommend Greyhound?

  • JIM

    I enjoyed your article concerning bus travel .I have used Amtrak to NYC many times for a day trip from Aberdeen,Md.($96/round trip).I was about to book Mega Bus until I read your review…….Bolt Bus may be a better choice…Thanks,JIM

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      I’m glad this article was useful to you.

  • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

    I’m glad this article was useful to you.

  • Lisa

    I found this article very useful. I am travelling to the US from South Africa in December and have opted to use buses between NYC, DC and Boston as they work out the cheapest. I’m now ruling out Megabus (thanks for the advice) and I’ve also found that Peter Pan bus fares are often more expensive than Greyhound bus fares (Greyhound’s advance purchase fares are fantastic). I would love to check out BoltBus, but they only make their schedules available 4-6 weeks in advance and, as an overplanner who wants to purchase tickets far in advance, that makes me incredibly nervous. Would it be safe to just go with Greyhound? I’ve never taken a bus! *blush*

    • Taramat

      This is a late reply, but I think you’d be safe either way! Bold Bus does not sell out that quickly. You can often buy tickets right up until the day before departure, before they sell out. So if you were willing to wait until Bolt Bus posts their schedule, that would likely work out fine. Or go ahead and go with Greyhound. At the end of the day, a bus is a bus! :) And I hope you enjoy your time here! I love all 3 of those cities (I live in NY).

  • Russ Mairs

    Anyone know if the Bolt bus travels to Pittsburgh?

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      No, I don’t think so. Greyhound probably does though.

  • Marc6850

    Greyhound, though more expensive than the no frills bus companies, offers a better and safer ride. Frankly, I use Amtrak when I can for long distance trips.

  • Busboy

    Never EVER going to think of Greyhound the same way. The WORST customer service experience I ever had…which in turn negates any goods such as less people. I prefer megabus….price is unbeatable! Other than being late sometimes, it is quite an experience being on a double decker.

  • haveittodayray

    Have taken Mega bus several times. Wi Fi works perfect no problems, comfortable, on time I rate it 4 Stars.

  • GGG

    Hello, does on the other hand megabus “guarantee a seat”?

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      Yes, Megabus as far as I know does have reserved seating. The seat itself is not reserved but the amount of people allowed in the bus is reserved. Note that Greyhound Express does have reserved seating as well but it’s more limited.

  • Mildred Dureso-Wiley

    I traveled on Mega bus today (9/8/2014) and I will never ever take this bus again. I will stick with Gray hound for future travels. Driver was rude baggage handers in Los Angeles were very un professional.

    • alex

      if you were in los Angeles theres a white guy that m rude as hell lol