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Buses - Hit the Road for New York, Atlantic City or the Beach

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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Greyhound (800-231-2222, http://www.greyhound.com) offers passenger bus service countrywide, with area terminals in Washington (1005 First St. NE), Springfield (6770 Frontier Dr.), Woodbridge (1040 Express Dr.), Silver Spring (8100 Fenton St.), New Carrollton (Amtrak/Metro station, 4700 Garden City Dr.), Annapolis (308 Chinquapin Round Rd.) and Frederick (MARC station, 100 S. East St.).

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· New York. 2008 was the year of the bus boom, with two companies, Megabus and BoltBus, joining Greyhound and smaller companies in ferrying passengers between Washington and New York. BoltBus (http://www.boltbus.com) rolled out its service in March, offering fares as low as $1 one-way (and up to $23) from Metro Center to New York's Chinatown or Penn Station; in May, the double-decker-boasting Megabus (877-462-6342, http://www.megabus.com) arrived with $1 fares (up to $21) and similar routes. Megabus is offering free tickets on select buses through March 18.

The two newcomers join a crowded field, including Greyhound, whose fares from downtown Washington to New York's Port Authority start at $20 one way or $40 round trip, and Peter Pan Bus Lines (800-343-9999, http://www.peterpanbus.com), which serves the Northeast corridor and shares terminals with Greyhound in Washington, Silver Spring and New Carrollton.

Search multiple bus companies' schedules to New York online. Fares on GotoBus.com start at $15 one way and $30 round trip, with schedules from eight bus companies that leave from Chinatown, Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom and downtown, plus Bethesda, Rockville and Arlington. Another reservation site is Chinatown Bus (http://www.chinatown-bus.com), whose stops also include Rockville and New York's Midtown, with fares from $20 one way and $35 round trip. Both booking sites also offer buses from the Washington area to Philadelphia ($15/$28) and Richmond ($15/$25).

· Atlantic City. Several bus companies travel between Atlantic City and the Washington area, including Greyhound and companies on GotoBus.com. Eyre (410-442-1330, Ext. 3213; 301-854-6600, Ext. 3213; http://www.eyre.com) has pickups in Rockville (1750 Rockville Pike), Norbeck (Georgia Avenue and Norbeck Road), Burtonsville (National Drive and Route 29) and Ellicott City (Route 100 and Long Gate Parkway). Cost is $35 round trip for a one-day trip, $70 for next-day return, with $20 returned in coins for use at Trump Plaza.

· Atlantic beaches. Operating on between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Rehobus (888-697-4287, http://www.rehobus.com) leaves from several D.C. locations Fridays and Saturdays with drop-offs in Rehoboth Beach or Dewey Beach in Delaware; departures from the beach are Saturday and Sunday evenings. The trip takes 2 1/2 to 3 1/4 hours, and tickets start at $45 one way or $50 for a Saturday-only round trip. Greyhound's route to Ocean City includes a transfer at Baltimore on eastbound trips; fares start at $24 one way, $48 round trip, and the trip takes 4 3/4 to six hours.

· Bus tours. Organizations that lead trips include:

· DC Tours (888-878-9870, http://www.dctours.us) offers tours of regional sights, including Monticello and Thomas Jefferson country, and Colonial Williamsburg.

· Martz Gold Line/Gray Line (301-386-8300, http://www.graylinedc.com) organizes trips to Monticello, Williamsburg and Gettysburg, Pa., among other regional destinations.

· Smithsonian Associates (202-633-3030, http://www.residentassociates.org) offers regional study tours via bus, with such themes as Baltimore art and John Wilkes Booth's escape route.

· Trafalgar Tours (866-544-4434, http://www.trafalgartours.com) offers luxury motor coach trips throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, Europe and other international destinations.

· Tours 4 Fun (626-288-3667, http://www.tours4fun.com) organizes longer bus trips from Gaithersburg, such as a seven-day East Coast excursion that includes Hershey, Pa.; Niagara Falls; Cape Cod, Mass.; and Manhattan.


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