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Bus Wars Part II: Megabus heads to Boston

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor  March 19, 2008 09:57 AM

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And then there were four. Discounter Megabus plans to start offering trips between Boston and New York starting in late May. They will be going head to head with Boltbus, which is launching its service in April.
Both services have a similar pricing deal: It begins at a $1 for a seat if you reserve in advance and gets more expensive the closer you get to departure. BoltBus will offer WiFi and power outlets; Megabus plans to have WiFi but no power outlets. BoltBus will be shoving off from South Station; Megabus from 700 Atlantic Ave.
And both companies are locked in a Texas Death Cage showdown with the Chinatown bus services, Lucky Star and the sometimes-mechanically-challenged Fung Wah, which offer potentially lower cost service without amenities or the guaranteed seating.
The BoltBus-Megabus Battle in Boston is part of a larger war between the Scottish owner of BoltBus, FirstGroup PLC, and Scottish rival, Stagecoach Group, which runs Megabus. A kind of Scottish Battle Royale for the hearts and minds of the Backpack Brigade.
Still all this fighting over us. I'm thinking it's a good thing.

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32 comments so far...
  1. Fung Wah is the best! Don't believe the hype. The only reason all the "blazing fires" and "roll-overs" gets media coverage is because they are a chinese company. I have broken down THREE TIMES on greyhound and NOT ONCE on Fung Wah. However... this wi-fi thing on Bolt Bus could be a deal breaker for sure.

    Posted by James March 19, 08 12:07 PM
  1. cool! More options - nice. Hopefully better service than Fung Wah and Lucky Star but I take them too for the right price!

    Posted by paul March 19, 08 12:14 PM
  1. I think it is a great deal for the customer. Only why do they not have any busses out of Worcester.

    Posted by I.Sokolowski March 19, 08 12:37 PM
  1. Lucky star bus travel is the WORST the buses smell are always late to leave and arive and they left us once at one of the Stops. The bus driver was rude and verbally treatening.

    Posted by SeanHeag2000 March 19, 08 12:49 PM
  1. I wonder why the trains don't see the handwriting on the wall and offer competitive pricing?

    Posted by Arnold Kraft March 19, 08 12:55 PM
  1. Mr. Kraft,

    It's an infrastructure issue. Highways are publicly owned and maintained. Rails are privately owned and maintained.

    Since highway travel is heavily subsidized by general revenues, buses start at an advantage.

    Posted by Sean March 19, 08 02:03 PM
  1. 1) Other than local commuter services, there is only one passenger train service, AMTRAK.

    2) Amtrak is in such poor financial shape, I wouldn't be surprised if their prices are already nearly as low as they can go. . . .

    Posted by jonathon March 19, 08 02:16 PM
  1. The Acela trains I've taken are very full at busy hours for around $100 each way. I'm also surprised though that they don't discount "off hours" trips more heavily.

    Posted by SM March 19, 08 02:28 PM
  1. I take Fung Wah every other weekend, and have been doing so for over 1 year! I like them the best.

    Posted by Andrea March 19, 08 02:50 PM
  1. I've been riding Fung Wah buses for the last 5 years. I had no problem with it. Maybe the customer service is not that great, but it was sure cheaper than Greyhound. Greyhound are slow...very slow!!! On average it took 5-6hour to get from New York to Boston. Fung Wah bus took on average 4 hours, or less. If it doesn't stop in the middle, I think it could be 3.5 hour. Fung Wah buses are fast because they communicated with other buses to make sure which route have no traffics.

    Boston Globe, they're bias toward chinese buses, they wrote,"sometimes-mechanically-challenged Fung Wah". Don't beleive that. Greyhound broke down so many times during the time i was in college paying $60 round trip. The most memorable one was when the bus stalled on route 95 south in a freezing cold for over 1 hour until another bus picked us up. Report that Paul Makishima!!

    Posted by Trey March 19, 08 03:01 PM
  1. I like the trains better- not as crowded, not prone to traffic delay, and in inclement weather also not as prone to delays.

    Posted by Jon Marcus March 19, 08 03:16 PM
  1. I still think the Chinatown busses will be cheaper than these other two companies, when all is said and done.

    Posted by Bradley March 19, 08 03:34 PM
  1. I've take three round trips on Fung Wah. On my last Fung Wah trip into Boston, a state police officer had closed down the ramp to the bus station off of the turnpike. The driver then got lost, heading all over south boston, and then the financial district. He had neither GPS nor map, nor cellphone to call headquarters for directions. On top of that, he didn't even speak English! How can a driver be licensed without speaking English? eventually we had one passenger give driving directions to a translator who directed the driver. What a snafu!

    I will be most happy to try out these new bus lines.

    Posted by R. keyes March 19, 08 05:58 PM
  1. What Happened with the Vamoose Bus, I would ride them for $25.oo each way over any other company for $1.oo,.

    I went with Vamoose bus that 1 week they where runing between New York and Boston and their service was great, they had free WiFi on the buses and a lot of leg space. Its a shame on the city official that they closed them down with a foolish reason that they dont have a license, They knew that Peter Pan is getting ready to create Bolt Bus so they were afraid of Vamoose,

    Posted by Simon March 19, 08 07:24 PM
  1. Just found has offered $1.00 to various locations(New York, DC, Philadelphia, Richmond, Baltimore and Norfolk).

    It seems that the pricing war has just started. With gas price so high, it's good for all of us commuters!

    Posted by William March 20, 08 05:27 PM
  1. That is cool, but screw buses, I'm taking LimoLiner, Delta or US Airways Shuttle before you get me on Fung Wah or Luckystar

    Posted by Jeff M March 21, 08 07:09 PM
  1. I own A One Chauffeur Connection of New England. We offer charter service and would be happy to deal with any client whom has its own group and work out a shuttle program. As for the other operations, everyone has flaws and if they don't they are not in business. However, we will at least be gentlemen. 781 961 5700

    Posted by Greg Marcus March 22, 08 07:56 PM
  1. I rather have a question: How do I make a reservation? I see no contact link and telephone.
    I can be emailed or contacted at 3472546988.
    Thank You

    Posted by Jean W. Thelemaque March 27, 08 09:47 AM
  1. Even though greyhound buses break down sometimes ,greyhound has the best drivers and greyhound is training the bolt bus drivers ,and that makes them one of the best which is trained by the best to asure you a safe ride to your destination. And that my friend puts them ahead ,seperated from all the rest .

    Posted by Tavares J Hobbs III March 31, 08 09:58 PM
  1. My daughter and I went from NY to Boston on Fung Wah. The driver went over the speed limit the whole way, moved recklessly from lane to lane, and did all this while talking on the phone the ENTIRE WAY! I could not believe we made it home alive. Passengers were yelling at him to get off the phone but he did not pay attention. Very frightening experience.

    Posted by Pat April 6, 08 12:46 PM
  1. i am looking for a job and want to know if megabus is hiring in the boston / ny area iam a motorcoach operator

    Posted by sherman Brown June 3, 08 01:08 PM
  1. yes megabus is hiring. i start with them on june 9th. the hiring is done out of the elizabeth, nj facility. more info is found on

    Posted by Eric June 4, 08 07:59 PM
  1. Met my future wife on front row seats of a Fung Wah. I guess it was romantic to us.

    Posted by Dan June 10, 08 01:44 PM
  1. It's all a big scam to get more of the market from the 'Chinatown' bus companies. Megabus was placed to bleed money and cut into their business. With the gas prices going up, I wonder how long they can keep charging $5 to $1 tickets. BoltBus and Megabus are Greyhound and PeterPan's cheaper bus options.

    Posted by Mike Jones June 19, 08 11:37 PM
  1. I have used Lucky Star for 4 or 5 round trips to ny from Boston. They have always been on time are as clean as can be expected and the drivers and staff are courteous and good. The only mechanical was a cracked windscreen that was eventually replaced. The ny dropoff I have heard is going to improve (it is a walk to the subway but I like C town). Overall a good experience (even a stop for chow). For $15 usd a value. For $1 a steal. Nothing I have seen from Bolt,Mega or especially F Wah yet will make me change, Read the reviews and judge for yourself.

    Posted by Christopher Lucy June 23, 08 02:16 AM
  1. whats better mega bus or bolt bus?

    Posted by ted June 25, 08 11:19 PM
  1. those chinese buses are nasty, dirty, and full of loud talking mainland chinese people. if you enjoy your neighboring passengers screaming into cell phones for FOUR TO FIVE HOURS then the fung wah and others-like are FOR YOU!

    Posted by mehan shoaza July 10, 08 10:39 PM
  1. Are Bolt and Mega Bus available beyond (south) of WashDC?

    Posted by Mrs. L.Haase July 15, 08 04:15 PM
  1. Sean.didn't you know that Amtrak trains are the most heavily subsidized with public money in the country,for example for every passenger that boards an Amtrak in Hartford, Amtrak gets eleven dollars form the government along with a fare of between $49.00 and $66.00 one way. A bus after paying high taxes for road use gets around $60.00 round trip. Check it out.

    Posted by John July 16, 08 02:48 PM
  1. Both Stagecoach and First Group here in Scotland are very aggresive companies with little regard for the small operators and its customers. When Stagecoach won the battle here on long distance bus services from Aberdeen to Edinburgh and Glasgow, the quality of bus services went downhill, with less services, older and less comfortable coaches being used and prices went up. First Group won the Scotrail franchise and again the trains are kept clean any more and are not well maintained, they treat both their customers and staff badly. I hope both companies do not do well in the states.

    Posted by Steven Rowse July 25, 08 07:21 AM
  1. I don't demand much from such a short bus ride, but since there are 4 companies really shooting for my cash I'm going to try all of them. I used MegaBus last weekend. We got to NYC early, but they insisted on playing this terrible movie at 7 A.M. I was so annoyed. I asked the driver to turn it off so that we could sleep, but he refused. They dropped us off about 1 or 2 blocks from the A C E line. I noticed bolt bus drops you off a little closer, but I guess it's not that big of a deal. On the way home, two days later, the wifi didn't work, which I thought was lame, since we departed at 5 P.M. and I didn't feel like sleeping. I guess I could have just taken the fungwah and saved a few dollars. Plus I heard those China Town buses are a little faster on the highway.

    Posted by Quentin January 13, 09 07:12 PM
  1. Megabus is really great. I've taken it a couple of times between new york and boston, and i'll outline the benefits.

    -Legitimate and Convenient Pick Up and Drop Off Locations
    Megabus has a Penn Station pickup location in NY, which is really convenient since it's near most train lines and other buses for easy connection. South Station Drop Off's in Boston is also a nice drop off since it leaves you right on the T, and gives you easy access to other methods of transportation. They also do stops in between, which is great for me since I always get hungry half way through.

    - English Speaking Drivers
    No offense to the Chinese drivers of the Chinatown buses, but having a driver that speaks your language is highly convenient and comforting. You can ask them for directions when you're getting off the bus, and they give you updates and estimated time of arrival en route to your location.

    -No scrambling to get seats

    If you bought your ticket ahead of time, YOU WILL GET ON THE BUS. I've heard horror stories of people being pushed past on chinatown buses. The operator checks all tickets, and your bags are placed with care. They're also on time.

    -Sweet Amenities.
    WiFi, Air conditioning, Reading Lights, COMFORTABLE CHAIRS, with decent legroom. Their bathroom isn't horrific either.

    Well worth the 13-16 dollars i've paid.
    I'd rather shell out a few more bucks, know i'm safe, and ride comfortably and safely.

    Posted by Janett February 18, 09 02:56 PM
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