As of today, the NY City Bus -- which runs between Albany and New York for just $10 each way -- has been up and running for a month.
So we thought now would be a good time to track down some people who've ridden the bus to give us the scoop...
First and foremost: the bus is getting some positive feedback. While a lot of people equate a Chinatown bus with hairpin turns, it seems like the NY City Bus has been safe, reliable and clean.
The bus departs Albany from 91 Colvin Ave and 102 Central Ave at 7:30 am, 12:10 pm, and 10:10 pm daily, and as of tomorrow there's also a 3:40 pm. Tickets can be purchased either online or right before you board the bus -- a big convenience if you decide to go to the city at the last minute.
The bus drops off at and returns from 26 Canal Street and 618 8th Ave near Port Authority at 7:30 am, 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm. And starting tomorrow there's also a 12:00 pm return bus. A rep from NY City Bus tells us they've been adding new departure times about every two weeks due to customer requests and popularity, so it's possible they'll add even more times in the future.
Albany Jane, who rode the bus recently, tells us she got a $15 round-trip deal when she bought her tickets
online in person, but the company said that promotion ended yesterday and they didn't know if there'd be a similar deal in the future.
The bus is a standard 44-seater, with a garbage bag for each row and a bathroom in the rear. There's TVs and a DVD player on the buses, but the driver only plays a movie if a customer requests it. There's no air conditioning, Wi-Fi or electrical outlets.
Having driven and stopped by the Central Avenue checkpoint several times near departure and arrival times, we can say the bus appears to arrive and depart on time or very close to on time. The longest delay we've heard is about 15 minutes, which is tolerable considering we once waited more than 2 hours for a late MegaBus.
So how crowded is the bus? One rider who took the bus early in the morning on a weekday reported about five other passengers besides himself. But another said her ride back from the city on a recent Sunday night was packed. So it seems like word is spreading quickly about the line, especially given the addition of departure times.
Overall, riders are saying the bus is clean, the staff friendly, and the ride smooth. When we called to ask the company a few questions, someone picked up on the third ring and was quite helpful - something you can really appreciate if you've ever dealt with other bus companies' customer service lines. One rider did report an odd pit stop at a gas station off I87 to drop off a family while en route to Albany, but that seemed to be an isolated event.
If there's any other NY City Bus converts out there, tell us about your ride!
image: NY City Bus
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