What's the new $10 bus ride to New York like?

ny city bus inc logo

A cheap ride.

By Kalyn Belsha

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!

Earlier on AOA:
+ NY City Bus -- competition for the MegaBus?
+ The best way to get from Albany to NYC?

image: NY City Bus

Comments

I rode a roundtrip ride on the bus about a month back.
Whilie the price is right and the timing efficient I believe I will go back to riding Megabus unless in a real bind.

The bus was overpoweringly smelly from the bathroom, our driver smoked a cigarette when we started off until a passenger complained and in general I am wary of the future of the line. The low fares and high frequency of trips seem to be asking for some bad elements to become involved. Mainly I worry about trafficing of any kind from NYC to Albany on this line.

I will pay the extra few bucks for the safety and security of Megabus.

Actually, I bought my tickets in person - the $15 RT deal was not present online.

No AC? Yikes!

I have yet to try this line, but it seems like the right price to get down to the city! I'm thinking of making a special trip just to try it out! ;)

I feel like with these buses you really get what you pay for. I will never ride megabus again, that's for sure. My first and only attempt left me stranded on the side of the on-ramp to the thruway. I ended up just getting a ride back to my car and bagging the trip.

Maybe I will stick with amtrak or metro north.

I was on board until I saw no a/c. I'll stick to Greyhound. They're constantly late, but I'm not sitting for 3 hours on a bus with no climate control.

Also @Sarah Amtrak is so freaking expensive, and usually running late too. Best to either go Greyhound or stick with Metro North.

No A/C?!

I'll stick to the Megabus, I've had absolutely no issues in my 5+ RT trips.

@Sarah: how the heck did THAT happen? I'd be curious to hear more about your experience.

I've been riding the Megabus for six months, generally twice a month. Longest delay I've had is ten minutes (this morning), leaving Albany. Have never been late leaving NYC. Generally pay $24 one way, but can't imagine the trip w/o A/C - plus electric and WI-Fi. Comfortable, easy trip into Manhattan and still less expensive than Amtrak.

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