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Slightly embarrassed (and still completely nonfunctionally out of it, thanks in small part to a show at the Roseland ballroom last night and in vast quantities to the insanity that was the diverted Q train to Brooklyn last night, I’m barely sitting upright and I think Michael and I yelled at each other this morning but I honestly don’t even remember, I was so out of it) to learn that Bolt is actually a subsidiary of Greyhound, founded this spring to compete directly with the Chinatown buses. Early reports list the service as NY-DC only, although now the company has a Boston run too.

The question is – isn’t Bolt now competing with itself, ie Greyhound? Why couldn’t they just cut costs on the regular Greyhound line? Will this force the Chinese buses to get more organized and clean?

This also begs my two personal bus pet peeves – why can’t American buses install those amazing double-wide faux-leather Lazy-Boy-recliner seats with the radios in the arm rest like the awesome Spanish buses? And why can’t there be an attendant who brings around tea or coffee, hot towels and blankets to tuck you in at night, like the South American buses? (They do this in Turkey too, but the gentleman on that bus took a creepy interest in a friend of mine and she woke up with him beside her staring and I think almost touching, if not outright, so I’ll leave that off the list).

The list of East Coast bus services is getting long, so I’ll leave with one last question – what’s the best?

I ask not just for me, but for also for Mom, who has been pondering ways to take a weekend trip or two solo once we have our new place in Park Slope, and I think there’s some buses that will pick her up in Salisbury on the Norfolk-NY run, but I’m not sure nor do I know how nice they are.

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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 megabus.com (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 – Megabus.com, and Boltbus.com, 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.

Once upon a time my Dad listened to the Kingston Trio and CSNY.

He has since become so right-wing my mother won’t let him talk politics in the house, because she knows she’ll wind up kicking him out of the bedroom. So I was bit surprised, to say the least, when they announced that they wanted to visit the Woodstock Museum in Bethel, NY when they come up next weekend.

It’s a 2.5 hour drive (ish) so I’d love to break up the trek with a few cool stops along the way.

I hear there’s amazing ruggelah in Sullivan County.

Anyone have suggestions?