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jonldn May 17th, 2006 08:28 AM

Getting to Boston - from NYC
Dear All

Staying Upper West Side in Dec - my question whats the easiest/cost effective way to get to Boston - Flight? - Train? - Coach?

Travelling on my own - not a cheapskate but dont like to waste money - comfort and hassel free being main mantra!

Any advice from the collective knowledge you all have!



Gekko May 17th, 2006 08:36 AM

The most economical way to get to Boston from NYC is the "chinatown bus."

I've never tried it myself, and I've heard "you get what you pay for."

My preferred method of travel is Amtrak -- it's comfortable, no traffic, and the views are great (sit on the right side of the train).

Don't fly -- by the time you arrive early, wait, etc., it's just as fast to travel on the ground.

Good luck!

mclaurie May 17th, 2006 08:53 AM

John, it really depends on where you're going in Boston and how much comfort you want. Frankly, there's no really easy way to get there. From the UWS you have to get to Port Authority (or elsewhere) for a bus. Penn STation for a train or one of the airports. I personally don't think flying is a bad option b/c there's train service from the airport to downtown Boston (there's even a water shuttle I hear) and flying is often cheaper than Amtrak. The train is notorious for being late.

There's also a fancy bus from the NY Hilton to the Hilton in Boston, but it doesn't leave very often.

Gekko May 17th, 2006 08:58 AM

I take Amtrak often to Boston and, knock on wood, have never been more than 15 minutes late. Usually the train leaves Penn right on time and arrives right on time.

Despite what mclaurie says, in my opinion, flying to Boston doesn't make sense. UWS to LGA, security etc, Logan to Boston?? Plus a plane is more likely to be delayed than a train. Heaven forbids it <i>rains</i>.

I have several friends who've done the $25 chinatown bus, with mixed results and opinions. Like I said, I've heard that you get what you pay for.

casanic May 17th, 2006 08:59 AM

My son took the chinatown bus to boston for the first time recently. He didn't quite trust the driving skills of the bus driver on the way up, but basically had no problems. It's very cheap--$15 each way I believe.

GoTravel May 17th, 2006 09:01 AM

The best reason for me to take Amtrak is that I leave from Midtown NYC (Penn Station) and arrive downtown Boston.

If I fly, I always have to tack on the time it takes from city center to airport.

nytraveler May 17th, 2006 09:34 AM

The time is the same no matter how you go.

For one person - and from the UWS - Amtrak is probably your best choice. For several people you're better off renting a car and driving (we have cars and so always drive - unless we're anticipating really bad weather).

mykidssherpa May 17th, 2006 10:02 AM

Another vote for Amtrak, since as a single traveler you probably only have a small bag.

With the lines at security at the airport and the travel time to the from the airport(s), alot of time is wasted waiting.

Anonymous May 17th, 2006 10:04 AM

I agree that the door-to-door time will be about the same whether you travel by plane, train, bus, or auto. The original question didn't address time, anyway - it asked about easiest and cost-effective.

If you are truly interested in &quot;easiest,&quot; then that rules out air travel, with its needs for ground transport at both ends, security, early arrival and greater vulnerability to delays related to weather and whatever else.

For cost-effectiveness, you can't beat the bus. There are now Chinatown buses that leave from midtown, and Greyhound is competing with them, pricewise. Arrival in Boston is at South Station for trains and for two bus lines -- Greyhound and Fung Wah. The other Chinatown buses arrive in Boston's Chinatown, which is very convenient to downtown, financial district, etc.

Amtrak is probably the most comfortable alternative, but the priciest, even if you avoid the costly Acela or business-class upgrades.

My own personal choice is the Chinatown bus. You load your own luggage, but it is very clean and efficient.

jonldn May 17th, 2006 10:58 AM

Dear All

Thank you for your replies and advice- I think I will use AMTRAK - I used it last year and it was a nice journey - but I was interested in other routes!

Thank you again


cantstayhome May 17th, 2006 11:47 AM

If you do go with Amtrak (as it sounds you will), you can get a discount (albeit a small one) if you are a AAA member. Also, figure out which station is best for you - don't stay on all the way to South Station in Boston if you're staying in the Back Bay. If you're in the burbs, the 128 station may be better.

Downside of Amtrak is, if there is a problem, there is no alternate route. I take the train to/from NYC for work, as do others in my office, and one person was stuck on the train for three additional hours because it was involved in an accident. Another was stuck for 2 1/2 hours because of an electrical problem. Not a common occurance, but these things do happen and it screws things up all along the line for the whole day. At least there's a bar!

lcuy May 17th, 2006 12:07 PM

I've done the different methods 6 times in the las year, 4 from UWS and twice from Times Square. Flew 3 times, Amtrak twice, and drove once.

Flying is a pain in the neck, what with getting to/from the airports, time uncertainties due to traffic and lines, security, etc. I would not do this again.

I've taken the Amtrak Acela twice. It is a bit more expensive than the regular, and there are no discounts. You only save 20-30 minutes timewise. I did like that it is all business class and there is a quiet car, so you don't have to listen to all the cell phonies. There are electric outlets at each seat. Costs run about $70 and up, depending on the time of day.

Driving was fun for one trip. Doubt I'd make the effort again.

My daughter has taken the Chinatown and Greyhound bus several times. She says the Greyhound is &quot;way better&quot; than the Chinatown -better buses, better passengers according to her- and is only a few dollars more. (She's on that bus as I am writing this.)

The limoliner bus is very impressive looking, with airplane type seats and service and costs about the same as the train -$79 each way. It never fit my schedule though and takes about an hour longer than the train.

Only one of my trips involved delays- one of the flights last spring was quite late due to weather.

I will most likely use the train for future trips Bos-NYC. I find it very easy and comfortable. Even the ticket purchase is simple.

china_cat May 17th, 2006 12:45 PM

just agreeing with what everybody said...I've made the trip dozens of times. I live outside of Boston, so driving is usually the most time-efficient of all. I do this often. Especially since getting in&amp;out of the Upper West side is so easy.

Flying just seems like too much hassle for a short trip, even though it can be cheaper than the train.

I've taken the limoliner, and I really liked it. But it is subject to traffic delays, and the schedule is very limited.

For hassle free comfort, when cost is not the overriding issue, Amtrak is best. Although I only use the Acela when taking the longer trip -- Boston-DC or Baltimore. The regional service is good enough for Boston-NY.

sandypo May 18th, 2006 06:36 AM

Just keep in mind those cheap Chinatown buses have a BAD safety record and the people who take them crowd on the buses very forcefully in order to get a seat, its not exactly a stress free way to travel, although it is definitely the cheapest option.

Good luck! The train is nice but be sure you get the express, not the milk run -- it takes forever.

Intrepid1 May 18th, 2006 06:43 AM

Bad safety record? Hve any of them crashed???

Anonymous May 18th, 2006 07:09 AM

&quot; the people who take them crowd on the buses very forcefully in order to get a seat,&quot;

I've never seen this. Not sure why it would happen, since the buses are never oversold (as far as I know).

&quot;The train is nice but be sure you get the express, not the milk run&quot;

There are a few runs that make a million local stops, but there are also other scheduled trains that take just 20 or 30 minutes longer than the Acela, and cost half as much. It's easy to cmpare them using hte Amtrak scheduler.

I haven't heard any new horror stories about chinatown buses in at least a year, but they used to have a reputation for breaking down, and once one of them pulled over on the highway due to overheated brakes or something, and ended up burning up (after everybody had gotten off the bus).

Gekko May 18th, 2006 08:17 AM

For the New York to Boston route, the &quot;local&quot; Amtrak generally takes only 25-35 minutes longer than the Acela &quot;express.&quot;

Only a couple of local trains take longer, and none more than 50 minutes longer. (See website schedule.)

Is the added expense worth 25-50 minutes? That's a personal choice, obviously.

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