Blogging from the bus isn’t just for political wonkheads anymore. Not if I’m doing it too – as we speak! (Or as I write, and you read, but you get the point).

Chinatown buses have plied the NY-DC corridor for years now, but a couple of non-Chinatown companies have started cashing in too – and for the same price, about $20 one way. That’s compared to $72-$170+ for Amtrak, $45 for Greyhound, and who knows how much for driving. I checked out (see: previous post) and saw they picked up right outside of Metro Center at the corner of G and 11th streets, NW. I wanted to use cash, so I figured I’d take my chances and try to pay on the bus instead of getting my ticket in advance.

Outside the Metro stop, I asked one of the nice gentlemen the city pays to answer all a tourist’s questions (and others, since I don’t consider myself a tourist in DC). There’s no office but the buses come right here, he said, pointing at the curb two feet away.

Turns out at least two bus services stop there –, and, with almost identical pricing. The latter came first, at 11:30am about 45 minutes before the former, so I decided to give it a go.

The flaming orange Bolt bus is a relatively new luxury coach, with a bathroom but without that Greyhound smell (you know what I mean). The bus driver efficiently directed everyone on board with a smile (a smile! From an inter-state bus driver!), answered questions, and had us all ready to go within 10 minutes. I paid $25 as a walk-up.

Once aboard she introduced herself as Carolyn and reminded everyone not to smoke, to turn their cell phones down and to otherwise be polite to the neighbors.

The bus stops at 33rd and 7th in Manhattan, apparently by S’barros, which is close enough to Penn Station for me.