update: Here is my megabus east coast review:
Megabus is a great cheap way to get to East Coast cities – especially now with the teaser rates. The buses are new, clean, and fairly comfortable. They are also normal sized – not mega. My bus was half an hour late – largely because there is no way to get from 30th street station to the Independence Visitor center in 10 minutes at 5:15 on a weekday. I thought the instructions for locating the bus stop on the web site was misleading. The information on the web site gave me the impression that the bus would pick me up half way up 6th street, but it actually does not go down 6th street and picks you up at the corner of 6th and Market. I would have missed the bus except that my wife picked up the bus on 30th street and ran out to get me. When I finally got on the bus, everyone clapped. The bus got us to New York City by 8 PM. This was the bus driver’s first time driving the bus, and he did not know where Lincoln tunnel was – so a passenger, or helper, guided him. His driving was OK. He was careful to obey the speed limit, less careful about signaling. He kept on talking about how poor he was and how his wife was mad that he finally got a job because that meant he couldn’t help drive the kids around. We went to a spectacular place called “The Ginger Man” which is an establishment that was inspired by a book of the same name, and then came back on the 9:45 bus – which came in at 10 PM and dropped us off at 30th street station at midnight – 15 minutes late, but in time for the last regional train to Exton that leaves at 12:15. Our bus did have a bathroom on it. There were TV screens for watching movies – but they were not turned on. The bus was only half full.
So – if you are on a budget – I give this bus a thumbs up! It is by far the cheapest way to travel right now – even cheaper than driving a car with 4 people in it, according to my calculations. Make sure to give yourself a lot of time to find the bus stop (I believe they are usually marked with a cheap Megabus sign) and expect the train to be early or late. The website warns that sometimes they leave early and to be at the bus stop 15 minutes early.
UPDATE: Gretchen and I are going to New York on the Megabus! I could not get the web site to work so I called the phone number. She was very nice. She explained that there was a $3 charge for doing this over the phone and suggested I do it online. I explained that it wouldn’t let me, and she was surprised. I made the reservations for June 2 (free). But when I hung up, Gretchen pointed out that most restaurants are closed on Mondays and that I should change the reservations to Wednesday June 4. So I called them back up and got another nice customer service woman. This time the computer was slow – but she was able to transfer the tickets to Wednesday. There was a $2 charge for the transfer. These tickets were free, but the cost to me is $5 – still pretty good for round trip from Philadelphia to New York!
Check out http://www.megabus.com for $1 bus rides between New York and Philadelphia starting May 30, 2008.
From May 30th to June 5, 2008 all fares booked to depart from New York, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Buffalo NY, Atlantic City NJ, and Toronto are free according to this press release. There is a 50 cent booking fee.
When I enter a date for weekend travel from 30th St Station, or Independence Mall, in Philadelphia to Penn Station New York after May 30th, I am getting rates for FREE or $1. I may go up there some Saturday this summer and blog about it!
I want to see if I can go to the Big Apple without spending any money at all (using my already paid for Septa everywhere Pass and my already paid for 4 rides on the New York subway), or go to a baseball game.
Currently, the cost of the New York Subway system is 6 rides for $10. The cost of a monthly Septa anywere pass is approximately $180 to get anywhere in the greater Philadelphia area.
Does anybody want to go with me?