We're not saying BoltBus is too good to be true, but the advertising should include some asterisks:
Caveat No. 1: There aren't electrical outletss at every seat. Granted, BoltBus said the power plug-ins would be "located throughout the coach." But even Bolt mastermind David Hall said he was surprised when the custom-ordered motorcoaches arrived without two seatback outlets for each pair of seats. Only 76 percent of the seats have outlets within an easy arm's reach. The four seats in the front row and the eight removable ones around the handicap ramp are missing plugs for passengers to charge laptops, iPods and cell phones. Maybe someone will share?
Caveat No. 2: The on-board video monitors don't playing anything -- yet. Bolt's website may not tout on-board entertainment, but the first passengers aboard today's inaugural ride from Boston to New York certainly got excited at the sight of the screens. Three middle-aged men chose their seats on the bus specifically so they'd have the perfect view of whatever played – which was nothing. Bolt said the screens will start showing a bus safety video at departure and trivia questions the rest of the ride in June or July.
Caveat No. 3: The use-it or lose-it ticket policy is actually a little more lenient. (Hey, caveats aren't always bad!) Bolt's website says the tickets "are non-refundable and only good for travel on the schedule and date that you have purchased." But Hall, who was overseeing today's debut, quietly told us if passengers miss their bus, Bolt will put them on the next one that has seats available. Why should the company mention that? To appeal to riders who worry about running late and thus choose rival bus carriers because they sell open tickets.
Posted by Nicole C. Wong, Globe Staff