I traveled to New York City from Baltimore this week on an Eastern Travel bus via Megabus.com. The trip cost $10 round trip and this price plus all of the negative reviews on yelp made me very wary about what I would experience on the trip. I left my house early Monday morning to make the trek to the Cherry Hill Light Rail Station to catch the 7:45 bus to New York. I arrived at 7:10 and found just an empty street in front of the station with no signs directing me to the pick up location. Before too long, however, a few more travelers arrived and I was satisfied that I was in the right place. The bus arrived a few minutes before the 7:45 departure time and we were on the road right on time. The bus wasn’t full, so I was able to head to the back and get two empty seats so I could stretch out and relax. Two movies were shown on the drive and I had my books, so I was amply entertained. There was some problem with the air conditioning for the first part of the trip, but it was came on about halfway through and we were comfortable for most of the trip. The only downside of the Monday drive was the 20 minute rest stop at a service area in NJ which blew any chance we had to make NYC at the scheduled time. They really need to add this time into the trip itinerary they have online.
The trip back to Baltimore was not quite as easy. There was a representative from the bus company at the stop, but they didn’t do much to help the confusion of the mass of people waiting for two different buses to two different locations. There also seemed to be some issues with the bus schedule being different than what was posted online, so we ended up with people with three different scheduled departure times on our bus. I was able to board the 6PM bus that arrived at 6:25PM and we headed uptown. Unfortunately, even though the bus was almost full when we left Pike Street, we still had to go to 34th street and pick up a few more passengers. There would be no empty seats on this bus. We finally made it through the Lincoln Tunnel and into NJ where the traffic was light, but our bus driver drove very slowly and we were an hour past the scheduled drop off on Baltimore by the time we arrived. This caused problems for some passengers who planned to use the light rail to get to their actual destination but could not because the light rail was closed. The trip itself was also not as pleasant. In addition to being not being able to stretch my legs, I also had no light for reading and only one movie was shown and that ended long before we got to Baltimore so I had several hours in the dark on a bus with nothing to do.
Overall, though, the bus was not a horrible experience and is well worth the small price you pay for the tickets. I learned my lesson and will make sure I book a return bus for earlier in the day as NY traffic is miserable the later in the evening you get. Also, traveling early gives me the daylight I need to read to pass the time. Eastern is no worse than my experience on Greyhound, in some ways it was better and was much cheaper. If you are taking the bus to NY. I would definitely recommend Megabus/Eastern.