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Friday, August 19, 2011

Bolt Bus and Greyhound Bus Get Married But Don't Speak to Each Other: A Bus Rider's Nightmare

ok so for those that don't know, I've been a big public transportation user since I was young. To get to anywhere I need to, you can bet that I'll use a bus, train, plane, ferry and my most frequently used mode of transportation - walking! 

So I've planned this quick bus trip to see an old friend and catch up + work on music. I decide to use Bolt Bus from Newark to DC. Bolt Bus boasts a $1 bus fare to several places. I missed the sale since I purchased my ticket too late.

I get to the bus and when I verify my departure time (it says 10:30am on their site,) Im told that there is no 10:30 bus and that they need to update their site. My new time is 11am arriving at 4:50pm. When the Bolt Bus arrives, I wait on line and when I hand the attendant my ticket, I'm told that it wasn't my bus and was referred back inside. 

When I go back inside I immediately get the attention of the worker who sold me my ticket. When I explain that I had been denied entry on the bus, I was told that I bought a ticket for Greyhound not Bolt. 

Now to better describe the scene, all inside the station are signs hung from the ceilings and on the walls with Bolt Bus logos on them. When you're not looking at Bolt signs, you're looking at Greyhound signs. There is no separate line. No designation as to where Bolt customers should go to buy tickets. I even ask the worker if Greyhound and Bolt Bus are together. "Yeah," he states confidently. I asked for a refund and was told that my ticket was non-refundable. Needless to say I was pissed off, had to ask for a manager, re-explain the situation, demand the refund, wait for the refund to be issued, and then race to catch the Bolt. 

I made it, but not without learning some valuable lessons that luck for you, I will share lol

1) Don't pull an "Adam". Buy your ticket 21 days in advance and take advantage of the $1 rate, but be aware that there are many restrictions to this, so prepare yourself to "hoop jump" for that $1 rate.

2) If you're on a time crunch, don't rely on the schedule posted on the Bolt website. Instead, call to confirm. Evidently, their online and offline businesses are not synced up (don't ask me why in this day and age.)

3) If you're at a station like mine, be aware that the clerk will almost always NOT be helpful.

4) Even though Bolt and Greyhound Buses are "together," they aren't. Each has their own schedule and pricing none of which is clearly indicated anywhere. Know this and expect changes and delays. 

On the upside (thank God for "upsides") Bolt is modern, seat is semi-comfortable, they offer free WI-FI, and at $25 each way, it's affordable.

Happy Riding!

For info:
1-877-BOLTBUS (1-877-265-8287)