A Trip to N.Y. for the Price Of a Trip to the Soda Machine

By Raw Fisherfrom Marc Fisher's Blog
Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I went from the District to Manhattan the other day, and my trip involved two trains and a bus. Can you rank the three pieces of my journey by how much they cost?

· Metro from Northwest Washington to Metro Center.

· Bus from downtown Washington to midtown Manhattan.

· Subway from 33rd Street to 57th Street in New York.

Answer: The three elements of the trip cost $1.35, $1.50 and $2 -- in the order I listed the modes of transportation above.

I didn't believe it till the bus pulled away from the curb, but I really got a 225-mile trip for $1.50.

Consider me a convert.

Bolt Bus is an effort by the folks at Greyhound to come to terms with the newly competitive nature of the East Coast intercity bus business. Ever since the various Chinatown bus services arrived on the scene a few years ago, the Big Dog has been left to chase his own tail. Everything the hound did, the Chinatown buses (they started out as a service run by Chinese immigrants for their compatriots in New York's Chinatown) did better: The upstarts were cheaper, faster, more flexible and, most important for many Washington passengers, didn't require you to head over to Greyhound's sleazy Northeast station.

The Big Dog tried to fight back by noting that some of the upstarts had been the subject of government complaints about their safety. But riders like me didn't care. We preferred to take our chances on the cheap trip, even if some drivers seemed more interested in smoking, eating and chatting while they operated the bus.

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