On the road XII — On top of the world on the Megabus

(After a brief electronic detour to Israel)

The shortest distance between two points often passes through Chinatown. And it can be the cheapest way to go.

That was what my husband and I discovered about ten years ago when our son-in-law recommended “the Chinatown bus” for a trip from Boston to New York.

So for years we made the trip on the Fung Wah bus, which was originally established in the 1990s (so my husband was told by a regular commuter) as a van service to connect grandmothers with their families in the Chinatowns of Boston and New York.

Fung Wah expanded and soon had competition from another Chinatown line, Lucky Star. The two were about half the price of Greyhound, and much cheaper than planes or trains.

Now the two Chinatown buses have stiff competition from another two lines, Bolt Bus and Megabus, and in addition to the venerable Greyhound and Peter Pan. These no-frills bus lines now travel routes in other parts of the country as well.

This time we decided to ride the Megabus to New York, not only because it’s a double-decker, but because it stops in New York at a location that is more convenient for us, 7th Avenue and 28th Street. And if you know your travel dates in advance, you can ride for next to nothing on the Megabus, which claims to have rates as low as $1. (The lowest I found on a quick search was Boston to Baltimore for $5.) Our trip to New York, booked one day in advance, cost just $25 each, roundtrip.

But the real advantage of the Megabus is that if you’re first in line you can sit in the front seat of the upper level. That’s what we did, both ways. Not only did we have a first-rate view of each city’s architecture, we were able to see the fall foliage, which had appeared seemingly overnight. On the way to New York, we saw yellow and orange leaves sparkling in the sunlight, and on the way back the following day we saw deep reds that we swore were not there the day before. Also, because the side windows are tinted, only the view from the front allowed us to see the true colors.

It’s one of the best bargains in the United States!

Text copyright 2011 by Esther Hecht. No portion of this text may be reproduced in any form without the express permission of Esther Hecht. The author has no connection of any kind with Megabus or any other of the lines mentioned in this post.

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