Bus or bust

Times Square. Duh.

Times Square. Duh.

With a few trips in a row to New York City, I needed a cost effective and efficient way to get between D.C. and New York. I’m a train girl and love having that option, but recently Amtrak fares have been ridiculous. Even if you’re planning weeks in advance, an Amtrak ticket is averaging $287 roundtrip on any given weekend. Airfare isn’t that much better, but mainly the trip to downtown Manhattan from area airports is what makes me cringe.

And so it was begrudgingly that I finally took a bus. I wasn’t thrilled at the prospect but after rave reviews from friends I booked DC2NY for a Friday afternoon trip, returning Sunday evening. Altogether it was $60 roundtrip. Booking is easily done online and the check in as you board is done electronically so it’s hassle free.

We were departing from Union Station – there’s also an option to depart from Dupont – and there are signs in the station directing you to the bus pickups. There’s also a DC2NY sign once you get to the bus area so it is all well marked and easy to find. The location for pickup in New York City is sent with your e-ticket and is at 157 West 33rd. The line forms between a deli with a blue awning and a peep show with a red awning. There was always someone there to take my bag and a cooler of iced bottled waters you are free to take as you board.

There is a vote at the beginning of each trip to see if they are going to play a movie or not. I’m 50/50 for playing the movie so I never really vote. Unfortunately my lack of a vote resulted in the bus picking The Vow. Why anyone wants to watch a depressing movie about having love and losing it before a weekend in New York City blows my mind. But I put my headphones on and just watched the screen. My Songza playlist with images of Channing Tatum made for a great two hours.

The passengers also vote if they want to make a stop halfway at Delaware House. I prefer nonstop but if there is a stop there’s a Starbucks at Delaware House so I can’t complain.

Downtown pick-up location.

Downtown pick-up location.

The company touts a policy of limiting your mobile calls to two minutes, which is great, although no one really checks. Most passengers got the memo, however on my most recent leg up someone was on a legitimate conference call lasting about 30 minutes. Le sigh.

The bus itself is fairly clean. I mean, it’s a bus so it wasn’t immaculate but it also wasn’t filthy. There are electric plugs every other row, so make sure you chose the one with a plug so you don’t have to awkwardly ask the rows near you to charge something mid-trip. There is free Wi-Fi aboard the bus but you can’t stream with it so I brought my own mobile hotspot.

Of the four trips I took with them the bus was always on time for pickup. On one trip up to New York we hit mega traffic in the Lincoln Tunnel Friday evening. Probably will avoid that time from now on.

Most of the bus riders consisted of young professionals each time I rode and there weren’t any children aboard, meaning no crying babies. Most people were considerate and quiet, save for the couple making out a row behind me. Let me tell you, soundproof headphones may eliminate white noise but not the sound of saliva swapping. On my most recent trip there was a grandma and grandpa visiting their granddaughter. I know this because they were adorably flipping through photos they took with her on their camera. I’m down for any bus trip where the loudest people are grandparents cooing about their granddaughter.

For a convenient, cheap, reliable getaway I’ll get begrudgingly on the DC2NY bus. For now. And I’ll cross my fingers people keep voting on Channing Tatum movies.


About Young is the new black

Latte-addicted 20-something. Serious consumerist. Join me as I shop, travel & eat – hopefully getting good customer service along the way!


  1. Good to know, Travel Bug! How early do you have to book the tickets to get the $100 roundtrip? I am going to play around online today and check it out. Thanks for the comment and stopping by!

  2. The cheap buses are convenient, but I love the train. I can usually book an NY-DC roundtrip for $100 if I book way ahead of time. The early bird $49 fares are usually never available right after work, so I either leave the office early, settle for a late Friday night arrival, go on Saturday, or use my Amtrak points (if I have any). Amtrak accepts my employer-issued WageWorks credit card, which lowers the price even more.

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