New York to Washington DC

Old Jan 21st, 2012, 03:52 AM
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New York to Washington DC

I am sure this is a frequently asked question, but searching "Travel New York to Washington" only brought up one thread, from 10 years go.

I am from the UK and am planning a trip to New York in April, thinking of following this up with a week in Washington and looking at options to travel between the cities. I have sort of discounted air because of cost and time to airport etc so that leaves bus and train.

At the moment it appears I can get a train for around $100 each, taking around 3.5 hours.
Greyhound seems to be about an hour longer, for an advance cost of $60ish and then there seems to be a Boltbus that appears very cheap at $20ish

Does anybody have any thoughts on advantages/disadvantages? Is the train route more attractive if the extra hour isn't an issue for us? How do Boltbus and regular Greyhound compare.

Any help/recommendations/suggestions on alternatives would be welcome.
At the moment I have no accommodation booked, so departure/arrival places don't fit into the equation at the moment.
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Old Jan 21st, 2012, 05:26 AM
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Hi willit,

I remember your being helpful when I was planning my trip to Southampton, so I'm so happy to be able to return the favour.

Bus Advantage: Cheap!: My aunt takes it for this reason. Seats are reasonably comfortable on the discount lines she says.

Train Advantage: Faster, no worries about traffic (can be very congested), can stretch your legs to go to the cafe car, bathrooms may not exactly be...ahem...nice but more preferable to the bus' bathrooms generally in my opinion. I always take the train between the two cities, worth the moderately extra dough.

Have a great trip! Daniel
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Old Jan 21st, 2012, 05:40 AM
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Amtrak is the train company that serves this route. Current fares for Northeast Regional trains (the slower service) are as little as $80 per ticket for a 3.5 hour trip. Ticket prices are lower for buses at less popular times. The faster service, Acela, costs significant more ($218) which many find a pricey cost to save 45 minutes. You can get good reductions on these prices for a 14-day advance purchase. (I just priced for February and NE Regional was $49, Acela $169.) Check Amtrak's "Deals" page for all the discounts that might apply to you.

In addition to Boltbus and Greyhound, Megabus is another good bus choice. For Boltbus and Megabus, tickets are offered for as little as $1 for very advanced purchase. For example, I just priced travel NYC-DC on Megabus for the end of March and was offered ticket choices of $1, $7, $8, and $11. These very cheap tickets disappear as the travel date gets closer.

Megabus and Boltbus depart from a bus stop on a Manhattan street--no protection from weather. Greyhound departs from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, totally protected from the weather and full services available. Megabus and Boltbus are considered to be good bus services, but they can be much cheaper since they don't use a terminal. (There are other cheap bus services that are considered unsafe.)

In NYC, both the trains and bus services depart from locations just a few blocks from one another and are easy to get to from any Manhattan location.

It really depends on which you prefer, train travel or bus travel. Both options take you city center to city center. On a train you can move around a bit more. The buses are subject to surface traffic delays, but they do have wifi.
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Old Jan 21st, 2012, 05:42 AM
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Made a mistakes in the first paragraph:
"Amtrak is the train company that serves this route. Current fares for Northeast Regional trains (the slower service) are as little as $80 per ticket for a 3.5 hour trip. Ticket prices are lower for TRAINS at less popular times. ... significantLY "
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Old Jan 21st, 2012, 05:48 AM
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None of the routes is atractive - they just get you there.

Train is mch more reliable in terms of time since it is not subject to traffic and rarely subject to bad wether (it takes a real blizard to shut down the trains - even a little snow or slet - or heavy rain can wreak havoc with roads).

I do NOT reco Greyhound - stations tend to be at the wrong end of town and many of your fellow passengers REALLY hard up. If you are going to chance a bus take the Bolt and save a substantial amount. The only issue it that you have to wait for it on the street (across from Penn Station - not in a building. If you buy tickets online you can sometimes get them for only a few $.

If it were me I would only do the train - since it's more comfy and you can get up and walk around if you want. Go to the Amtrak web site - they sometimes have early purchase discounts. But - do realize that you have only about 10 minutes to catch the train in NYC _ which means a gallop to platform door and down the stairs with your luggage as soon as the track number is announced. If you have more than a shoulder tote I would hire a Red Cap - who knows which track the train will come in on and has access to the elevator - and can get you and your luggage downstairs early - to get the best choice of seats - for about $5 each.
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Old Jan 21st, 2012, 05:58 AM
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Good answers above.

To re-cap:

1) The train is more comfy, a little faster, and insurance against any highway traffic snafus. I think it's absolutely worth the extra cost (Regional service - not the grossly overpriced Acela service), but only YOU know your particular budget/situation.

2) The buses are all comfy and similar. Be mindful that on Bolt or Megabus, you MIGHT be queueing in the rain. It's a SMALL calculated risk. Think of the slightly higher fare for Greyhound as "rain insurance" (and a place to sit down until boarding commences). If you want the Bolt or Megabus, I would buy it ASAP. The early bird gets the cheap fares.
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Old Jan 21st, 2012, 06:00 AM
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Just to clarify--

While it can be true for some US cities/towns that Greyhound stations are not well-situated, this is not the case for Greyhound for DC and NYC ... both are well-located about 10 minutes walk from the train stations.

Daniel
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Old Jan 21st, 2012, 08:53 AM
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Re traffic - my son took the cheap bus despite our suggestion that he take the train so he could be certain when he would arrive - the bus took about 6 hours due to accidents and traffic. So, if money is the primary factor, take the bus, if time and comfort matter, take the train.
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Old Jan 21st, 2012, 09:22 AM
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I would argue that The Port Authority is really not someplace one would voluntarily spend time. Not dangerous (although there is petty theft) but quite unpleasant,.
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Old Jan 21st, 2012, 10:07 AM
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Having been to both many times, I truly don't see a marked difference between Port Authority (bus) and Penn Station (train) in terms of degree of unpleasantness. While there are occasional unpleasant sights in both, I find both mostly just serving their function (people catching buses/trains).

Now, the Albany NY train station on the other hand, is MUCH nicer than the Albany NY bus station .
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Old Jan 21st, 2012, 10:26 AM
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The Port Authority Bus Terminal is much improved over what is was in the '70s and '80s and early '90s. Late at night the Port Authority can still be an unpleasant place.
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Old Jan 21st, 2012, 10:43 AM
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Thanks for the replies. It seems train is the better option, if a little more expensive.
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Old Jan 21st, 2012, 10:55 AM
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Note that many of the bus companies actually load/unload near Penn Station as well, not Port Authority. But you're right, the train is a great option if cost is less of a factor. Otherwise, bus is perfectly fine and many even have WiFi.
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Old Jan 21st, 2012, 05:27 PM
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Only theno name" bus companies load/unload near Penn Station. the long-established services are in Port Authority.
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Old Jan 21st, 2012, 05:29 PM
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Only theno name" bus companies load/unload near Penn Station. the long-established services are in Port Authority.
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Old Jan 21st, 2012, 05:40 PM
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I really like megabus. Comfortable, wi-fi, power outlets, great views. Check the website:
http://us.megabus.com/?news=google09...FQPf4AoduB3Bng
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Old Jan 22nd, 2012, 09:09 AM
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Bolt and MegaBus both pick up around Penn Station. So just check carefully!
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Old Jan 22nd, 2012, 04:46 PM
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We just took megabus back from nyc to dc. The ride was fine but the lines to board the buses on 9th ave between 31st and 33rd in nyc were pretty disorganized. So I thought I should caveat my recommendation. But it's still a fun trip.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2012, 05:53 PM
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There is now an option to take Bolt Bus from Port Authority on the NY-->DC route. Definitely, definitely do this if the times work for you. The line is much more organized, and you're protected from the elements.

I've taken the bus many times, and never, ever not been delayed for at least an hour on at least one leg of the trip.

Also, I would advise avoiding travel on Friday after work. Huge delays due to traffic, and if you're not leaving from Port Authority, crowded and very disorganized lines. I like to think I'm a very patient person, but the level of disorganization and lateness completely fried my nerves.

But the bus is cheap, and usually has outlets, which is a plus.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2012, 07:27 PM
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A friend of mine from Italy took the Megabus to Washington DC from NYC 4 times at a $1.00 each time. He took the early bus and paid for this ticket on-line way in advance.
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