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ground transportation NYC to DC and connecting to MARC


Aug 21st, 2017, 05:36 AM
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ground transportation NYC to DC and connecting to MARC

Hello. I am looking into taking Megabus from NYC to Washington DC, then transfer at the DC Union Station to MARC to go to Gaithersburg, MD. I will be traveling during the day on a week day, arriving in DC around 3:30pm. I have a 25 inch roller suitcase with me. I am a tourist (unfamiliar with NY, DC, MD) and have no past experience with Megabus. I am basically lured by the inexpensive ticket price and the opportunity to go see my friend in Gaithersburg. Is this commute plan feasible and realistic? Any words of caution or suggestions? Thank you.
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Aug 21st, 2017, 05:46 AM
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The Megabus picks up people on designated streets, there is no facility, so if it is raining you are at the mercy of the elements. There are a couple in Manhattan, so be sure you go to the right one.
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Aug 21st, 2017, 06:23 AM
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Sounds perfectly feasible to me... I have not taken the Megabus myself, but I have seen queues for it in DC and NYC, it's a very popular service.
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Aug 21st, 2017, 08:05 AM
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I've taken a couple other buses, not Megabus, (ie, Washington Deluxe or Bestbus) and the ride was a good experience and well worth the major savings I got as the trip was only a little shorter than the train. I don't think Megabus has quite as good reviews as the ones I took, but it's a major bus company, sure (Megabus), I just have no experience with that particular one.

Of course your plan is feasible, why not.

You could take the metro to Gaithersburg rather than the MARC train, as the Shady Grove station is on the red line which runs direct from Union Station. It costs about the same ($6). The metro takes about 10 minutes longer. I would take the MARC if that works for you because you can buy a ticket from the self-service machine but to take the metro you need an electronic Smartrip card which costs, and when you buy it initially, you have to spend $10 minimum (card plus $8 in fares). The only reason I mention it is to let you know there is a backup if you wanted to do this on weekends when MARC doesn't run, or for some reason you'd be stuck at Union Station for an hour waiting for the next MARC train,you could decide if it's worth the savings to you ($4).

I presume your friend is picking you up either way, the MARC staiton is really closer to the center of Gaithersburg but Shady Grove isn't that far if you had to do that.
Christina is offline  
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Aug 25th, 2017, 07:52 PM
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Thank you all. Very very helpful. The question about feasibility had to do with me opting for this bus/ MARC transportation option with a 25 inch suitcase and a backpack. I wondered if Megabus might not allow anything beyond carry-on for example, or (like some budget airlines) charge quite a bit extra for a non-carry-on piece... I also wondered if MARC may get too busy when everyone is going home for me to be able to get on it with my bag. Just thoughts based on lack of knowledge. Any helpful insights would be greatly appreciated!
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Aug 26th, 2017, 08:57 AM
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I have taken the MARC train at about 4:00 to Baltimore a few times and never had issues with my luggage. I realize that you would not be on that exact train but it did contain people leaving DC for the day. Each time I sat in the first seat at the end of the car.
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Aug 26th, 2017, 09:18 AM
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I've never heard of one of those buses not allowing anything but a carryon, but their website certainly should say. They have a luggage hold,after all, what would be the point of a luggage hold in a bus if you aren't allowed to use it. I know the buses I took allowed you to put a suitcase in the hold. IN fact, the carryon racks are not usually as big as those on airplanes, so they couldn't really do that very well and stay in business if they didn't allow you to put a suitcase in the hold.

THey have the same allowances as most airlines for your first checked bag (ie, 62 inches, about 23 kg).
Megabus requirements (they are trying to be cute):
< Because our drivers aren’t looking for a free workout, your luggage cannot exceed 50 pounds. Why? We have to lift them!
To avoid us trying to play Tetris with your belongings, remember that all luggage cannot exceed 62 inches in total (length + width + height).
One small carry-on bag is permitted, but it has to be small enough to fit under the seat in front of you (think briefcase, backpack, or laptop bag).>>

If you don't like that, take another bus. In theory those carryon limits are the same things airlines say. Washington Deluxe allows you to have a carryon that is put in the overhead rack, for example, as well as a suitcase in the hold. I don't know if Megabus doesn't have overhead racks or that is just their way to limit the size like airlines do, for carryons. I know I travel with a 25 inch suitcase on an airline and it fits the MEgabus limits.

These are the limits of Wash Deluxe, which are more generous:

As for the MARC train, never taken it, but the metro is similar in that if it is really crowded at rush hour, it could be hard to get on with a suitcase (or in person). I don't know if MARC oversells tickets versus seats, or if you must have a seat. For metro, anyone who can squeeze on board gets on so there is no extra space sometimes.
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