Sunday, March 31, 2013

Fung Wah is Closed

Fung Wah - Passengers wait for the Bus

Here's an interesting story from NBC on the closure of the Fung Wah Bus.  Will Fung Wah come back?  Will it come to Hartford?

 Chart of Fares of New York to Boston Buses

To ride the Fung Wah wasn't just a trip, it was an experience, reeking with authenticity.
Pickup was at the curb in Chinatown, with large Chinese characters emblazoned on the bus and signs surrounding the station door. Tickets were sold online, or wordlessly at a counter. Onboard, it was a "sticky smelly situation" said Caleh Salih, with the air filled with the mixing aromas of the food fellow passengers picked up nearby. The air was also filled with coughing and sneezes, leading some customers to call it "The TB Express."

Then, mid-point through the trip, there was always a stop at the same shady Chinese buffet by the highway. Everyone piled out, silently smoked, then piled back on for a ride that could have its fair share of speed and swerving. (Is the buffet in Manchester, CT?  What's so shady about it?  We're not sure.)

In 2006, a Fung Wah bus rolled over, injuring 34 passengers. Excessive speed was cited as factor in the accident, according to the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration. The bus line was involved in six accidents between 2005 and 2008, including collisions with dividers and guardrails, a bus fire, and in one case, losing the rear two wheels while driving passengers on the Massachusetts Turnpike.

But for penny pinchers, Fung Wah was a liberation.

Even an old competitor has fond feelings. "It's bittersweet," said Bolt Bus General Manager David Hall.
"There was always some buses at curbside, but they were the first ones to take it to the next level with curbside-to-curbside and selling tickets over the internet," said Hall.

Not everyone in the industry is sorry to see Fung Wah go. "It's hard when you have one bus line bottoming out the price," said Alex Bottiglio, marketing coordinator for Yo! bus lines.

Competition remains fierce with six other bus lines offering low-cost and speedy service between New York and Boston: BoltBus, Greyhound Express, Lucky Star, Megabus, Peter Pan, and Yo!.

Comparing the NewYork to Boston buses
Megabus has the price advantage, selling advance tickets for $3, with prices rising based on demand. A standard next-day booking runs about $17-$21. Their double-deckers, unique in North America, boast Wi-Fi, power seats, and more legroom than a standard coach. The bus line also boasts the safest driving and best vehicle maintenance scores of the bunch.

For extra comfort, 60 percent of Bolt Buses in the Northeast sport leather seats. There's also extra legroom thanks to taking out a row of seats. Tickets usually run between $8-$17, up to $25 for same-day sales, and $40 for peak holiday travel.

Except for Yo!, commuters can score $1 ticket deals if they book ahead. Only on Megabus are those one-buck fares listed online. On Peter Pan and Greyhound Express, the first ticket of every schedule is sold for $1.

Caveat: no matter what the price, all tickets are nonrefundable, but most bus lines will let you reschedule tickets in advance for future dates.

The safety-conscious should note that Lucky Star had the lowest marks for safety and maintenance.

Management did not return several messages left seeking comment.

You can always check out a carrier's safety record on or download the free SaferBus App for iPhone and Android.

Commuters crave cheap bus tickets, said Bella Dinh-Zarr, North American director of Make Roads Safe, but it's important to choose a bus “without sacrificing life or limb for it."

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Go to Bus - Hartford to Boston Review

 Review of Go To Bus Hartford

Okay I'm not a real journalist, but I love Go To Bus.  It leaves from Christian Science Center in Boston and gets to Hartford (Dunkin Donuts) in record time.  The first time you you notice it's not really a bus. It's a van, but it's fine. The two drivers are super nice, if not the most conventional.   Buy your tickets prior because it does sell out!  It usually stops at Roy Rogers on the CT-MA border to fill up on gas.  If you haven't been to Roy Rogers lately, they have great fried chicken and french fries.  It's a crazy experience, but just keep an open mind and don't take it too seriously.  C'mon you're going to Hartford.  It also goes to NYC, but I've never done it.

Grade:  A-

GoToBus, Goto Bus