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?
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.
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.
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.