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Greyhound to offer WiFi, BoltBus amenities

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor  April 7, 2009 11:11 AM

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A new age of bus travel is headed our way.
Old-school bus king Greyhound today is rolling out new BoltBus-type upgrades to its service, including free WiFi, additional legroom, and power outlets on its New York-Montreal and New York-Toronto routes, and the company plans to offer the same amenities on its Boston-New York routes before the end of the month.UPDATE: The company started rolling out the new WiFi-equipped buses on the N.Y.-Boston service Thursday April 9.
Greyhound, the parent company of Bolt, are switching to Prevost X3-45 buses for this service, the same vehicles they use for Bolt. The move is part of a larger plan to upgrade its entire fleet. Abby Wambaugh, a company spokeswoman, said she was not aware of any timetable yet for the overall conversion.
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"When we started with BoltBus,'' said Wambaugh, "we considered it sort of an experimental thing so we could see how the equipment worked and how it was received by customers.''
BoltBus, along with its chief rival Megabus, a unit of Coach USA, launched here last year, offering an alternative to discounters Fung Wah and Lucky Star on the Boston-New York route. With prices beginning at $1 a seat, both Bolt and Mega sought to lure younger, hipper riders with their upscale amenities.
While some can snag bargain basement seats, most Bolt and Mega passengers will pay something closer to $15-$20 each way, which is about what Greyhound charges -- and sometimes a bit less with the discounts for, say, students, the elderly, or military personnel.
So is Greyhound thinking of getting rid of Bolt and just competing directly with Mega?
Wambaugh says no. She notes that while pricing is more or less competitive, Bolt is a different brand, with a different image, and going after a different clientele. Wambaugh also notes that there are some real differences: Bolt offers curbside, express service; Greyhound is a more traditional terminal-based, potentially multistop ride.
What is clear is that things are looking up for bus customers.



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7 comments so far...
  1. Yay! I hope Greyhound offers this on its Boston-Montreal route.

    Posted by Liz April 7, 09 01:41 PM
  1. LimoLiner has been doing this for years.

    Posted by Eric April 7, 09 03:27 PM
  1. botl bus is awesome, took it for the first time in december, cheap, on time, curbside, staff showed up out of nowhere on the pick up site in NYC and had us onboard an on our way in like 5 mins... does a timely 10 min break at a big convenience store/cafe in CT on the way...didn't have to travel into that sewage pit called Port Authority either

    Posted by scott April 7, 09 04:10 PM
  1. Yes...but Bolt does this for 1/4 the price.

    Posted by gosox73 April 7, 09 04:45 PM
  1. Wifi is nice but I hope that they hire drivers who speak English and don't take offrmaps at 78mph.

    Fung Wah = Chinese expression for scary freakin ride to NYC

    Posted by Matthew G April 7, 09 05:14 PM
  1. Truth in advertising. Wireless does not mean Internet. The entrance to the Charlton Plaza on the Turnpike boldly advertises "McDonald's Wireless Cafe," and indeed there is wireless service. But as of April 2 this year it was not connected to the Internet.

    Posted by AppDev April 8, 09 02:08 PM
  1. I was completely surprised by this on a NY-to-Philly ride Tuesday. Turned on my laptop and a Greyhound login screen appeared. I thought it was just a terminal amenity, but it kept running as we pulled out of Port Authority. Except for the Lincoln Tunnel, connection was solid all the way.

    The bad news: Daytime runs on that route make two stops, at Mount Laurel and Camden NJ, adding 40 minutes to the 2 hour express run.

    I was surprised: No fanfare in the Greyhound ticketing area or on the ticket folder. It must be rolling ouit gradually.

    Posted by Johanna Lapp December 21, 09 09:34 AM
 
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