I”m riding a Greyhound bus heading north out of New York City. I must give the bus line and Peter Pan a little credit, since I think bus travel has markedly improved over the past few years. I wrote in this space about Megabus, so I’m giving the other more established players their due.
It started with how we purchased tickets at New York City’s Port Authority. We visited the Greyhound boothand used a machine like the ones you find when you go to the airline counters at Bradley. A few simple touches, we selected Springfield, and dipped in our cards, to pop out the bus boarding pass. It was quick and it was easy.
In the bowels of this great big terminal was gate 83 where the bus leaves. A man with a wand was friendly as he scanned each passenger, in a very non-intrusive way, with this metal detector. A few cops stood by with a German shepherd who barked like crazy at a passenger he deemed suspicious. I think they were there because of some unidentified baggage left unattended.
After a short wait, it was time to board the 2010 Prevost motor coach, which is the new workhorse of the big bus lines’s fleet. The seats have leather trim, and at each seat, a wonderful surprise. Two electric plugs. I plugged in my cellphone and then hunted down the bus’ wireless signal. After answering a few questions about how old I was, voila, I was on line.
I checked into my email and logged into Paypal, and made some money on my journey. Then caught up with my Facebook friends, and now, even had a chance to post a blog. I tell you, this is progress. The journey cost $40 for the one way. The train we took at 6 am cost the same. Amtrak’s a great deal for $40 but that’s only for the six am run. The price climbs to $66 one way for the 9ish departure. And there is no wifi on the plain old train, only on the Acela which costs a lot more.