I’m riding the Boltbus today between Washington DC and New York with my girlfriend. You may have heard about the new budget coach service that operates along the Eastern Seaboard and offers tickets starting from 1$. Their main selling point is that they have in-seat power and wireless internet, so you can work or Youtube or whatever for the four hour ride between cities.
As I write this article, I’m working from my girlfriend’s Sprint Broadband card. Why? The coach’s wireless service is encrypted and nobody can figure out the password. The driver had a card with a 26 letter code, but between myself (on a linux Thinkpad) and another guy (on an Iphone), neither could connect. We called HQ, but they couldn’t help either.
Why would you encrypt a wireless signal on a MOVING BUS? Is someone going to hack it as they drive by at 65MPH? If someone wants to drive alongside and steal internet from a bus as they drive down the highway, I say we GIVE IT TO THEM. It would be much easier to hack someone at the local coffee shop.
Other than that, the in-seat power port is nice. We were able to plug in our notebooks and work (via broadband) for the entire trip. Coaches are new, clean and largely spacious, although similar in configuration to other carriers. Our current bus has 10 passengers on it.
I suppose once the internet is working properly the Boltbus will be a significant improvement over other Chinatown buses. But until they get their wireless working properly, you’re probably better off going with whatever best fits your schedule.