Competition for Chinatown bus service out in the Northeast remains high, with Boltbus, Greyhound and Megabus now elbowing their way into the market.
As each carrier tries to outperform the other in costs and amenities, we’ve seen new services like wireless internet, video screens and power ports incorporated into the coaches. I took a Boltbus between Washington DC and New York earlier this year and despite the internet not working correctly (which they claim to have fixed), thoroughly enjoyed the ride.
Now Megabus is rolling out a series of new coaches that will operate all over the eastern corridor that feature all of the latest amenities and are double decker.
Sure, double decker buses don’t give you any extra comfort on the road (rather, you have less headroom), but there’s something quaint and fun about riding in the top floor of a bus, especially if you’re in the front seat. Megabus points out that this is an ecologically friendly alternative to driving yourself or flying — the fuel consumed per person on a double decker is only 0.46 gallons versus 2.75 to drive yourself or 3.73 to fly on a 737.
I still can’t figure out how the companies make money by offering so many low fares. On the bus I took earlier this year, there were no more than 10 people onboard. Their fares alone maybe could have covered fuel, but what about operating costs and paying the driver?
Regardless, try out the service while you can — the first double decker Megabuses are scheduled to travel between Washington DC and New York.