Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Bolt Bus

Many of you know that I am a regular Amtrak rider between Portland and Seattle, but recently the Amtrak prices have skyrocketed.

Meet the new kid on the block........the Bolt Bus.

BoltBus is a low-cost express bus services that runs between Portland and Vancouver, BC.  Service began in early June 2012.  It was designed to compete with Greyhound and has been operating in the Northeast with hubs in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore for many years.

View from my seat in front row

Advanced fares between Portland and Seattle start at $7 with a $1 transaction fee.  As seats sell out, they gradually become more expensive, topping out in the high teens (I paid $19 compared to a one way Amtrak ticket for as much as $56).

The BoltBus offers comfortable leather seats, extra legroom, free Wi-Fi and power outlets.  All are equipped with restrooms, but offer no other stops (bring a bottled water and a snack).

As of September, the BoltBus departs Portland for Seattle at 6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m., and 6:30 p.m.  Travel time is estimated at  3 hours and 15 minutes.  Southbound trips leave Seattle at 8:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. (check out their website for time to and from Vancouver, BC)

My ride was completely sold out.  Seats were comfortable, and the Wi-Fi worked fine (in fact much better than Amtrak).  We were on time, despite horrible driving conditions out of downtown Portland.

All in all...a good adventure and something that I may be taking more, unless Amtrak tickets prices stabilize.