The Bottom Line
- Really inexpensive (starting at $1) compared to planes, trains or even the cost of parking your car
- Free WiFi
- Comfortable seats/good leg room
- Power outlets at each seat
- Slightly chaotic boarding process
- No covered boarding area in New York City—if it’s raining or snowing, you’re getting wet
- Tickets are non-refundable and are only good for the date you’ve purchased
- Fare prices vary depending on demand
- Not as cool as a plane or train
- Tickets can be purchased online up to two hours before departure. Bolt Bus will email you a confirmation and boarding pass.
- Round trip service between New York City and Boston is about $30 for one full-fare adult ticket.
- Bus takes approximately 4 hours 15 minutes from New York City Port Authority to the South Station bus terminal in Boston.
- 1-877-BOLTBUS (1-877-265-8287)
Guide Review - Business Travel Review of Bolt Bus service
Business travelers generally don't think of taking the bus for a business trip, but if you're in the Northeast, bus services like Bolt Bus are providing a real alternative for business travelers. I've taken it a number of times between Boston and New York City. Sure, it's not a fast as an airplane, but it sure is easy to use, with no security and not much waiting.
Bolt is a low-cost carrier competing, among others, with Mega Bus, Peter Pan, and Fung Wa, as well as more upscale alternatives such as LimoLiner. And while buses can be snarled in traffic, trains and planes can just as easily be delayed by weather or other events.
Plan at least a week or two in advance to get the best fares. Once you've booked your trip, you'll receive an email confirmation with your boarding pass. You'll need to arrive at departure area at least 15 minutes before departure. Bring your email confirmation. It shows your boarding group (A, B, C, etc.). Business travelers should join their loyalty program to obtain boarding priority and the best pick of seats.
If you’re not there 5 minutes before departure, they’ll give you seat to a walk-up customer, if one is waiting.
You’re in charge of your own baggage—you’re allowed two carry ons, and one piece of baggage for under the coach. On my trip, the drive simply opened the luggage space and you were free to deposit your bags. There was PLENTY of room and no one would notice if you brought more than one bag. Over-sized items like bikes and golf clubs are allowed.
In addition to WiFi and power outlets the buses have decent bathrooms, nice interiors, and air conditioning.
Depending on your destination, travel time and traffic, the bus may make a 10 minute comfort stop for passengers to stretch their legs. We skipped the stop on my trip from New York City to Boston to make up for a slightly late start (and ended up arriving early).
For business travelers, working on the bus is a bit more difficult than in the train—especially if you’re able to score one of the larger tables in the café car of the train that gives you some room to spread out. The seats are far enough apart to allow some limited use of your laptop, and you’re able to talk on your cell phone, but like any public transportation you need to keep your fellow passengers in mind. The Internet connect worked surprisingly well, but you do need to keep in mind it’s not blazingly fast and it will drop out occasionally.