Monday, November 16, 2009

Bus Fare?

[Updated with reference to Bolt Bus.]

LimoLiner, which goes to great lengths to avoid using the word "bus" in its promos, announced a new one-way fare of $69 between New York and Boston, for travel after Nov. 22.

How much? The e-mail announcement annoyed me by sending me to the company Web site to "learn more" -- like, how much does it really cost, and what is this "limited availability" they mention.

Online, the fare I got was not $69 one way, but $80, for travel on Nov. 24 -- and I'm not sure that was the real price, either, because the Web site then demanded that I fill in personal information and choose a user name and password, yada, yada yada, before I could learn more. Hey, that's way more work than I am inclined to do just to find out the bus fare.

The Delta or US Air shuttles get you there faster (just over an hour versus just over 4 hours), but of course you have to contend with airports. Still, it took a few seconds to find round-trip shuttle fares in the $240 range on both Delta and US Airways -- without getting jerked around by demands that I fill in personal information.

[UPDATE: How could I overlook Amtrak (that's a whole other story) but especially Bolt Bus, some people have asked me? Bolt is making real inroads in intercity transport, offering legroom, WiFi and electrical power outlets. Its departures/destinations include New York, Boston, Philly and Cherry Hill, Baltimore, and Washington. With no online hassle at all, I found a $39.50 round-trip fare between New York and Boston. Here's the Bolt Web site.]

I'd be more favorably disposed to LimoLiner if they'd make it as easy to get the price and restrictions as the airlines do. But still, that 4+ hour drive is a real factor for business travel, any way you cut it. What is a fairly do-able day trip on the airline shuttles is more likely an overnighter by bus, though the service is obviously geared to that.

LimoLiner says that the $69 one-way fare applies to "many off-peak seats" on its frequent daily departures. The company adds, "It also means passengers may obtain the lowest fare right up to departure time, unlike other fares that require advance purchase. LimoLiner will continue to offer its standard $89 fare for all peak travel time trips and $79 for many other trips. The new fares will replace all of the current fare structure."

Can I get an English translation here?

LimoLiner offers free wireless Internet en route, plus food and beverage service, live satellite TV and radio, first-run movies. The LimoLiner luxury bus, I mean "vehicle" holds 28 passengers.


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