Can a Bus Beat a Plane?

Photo (cc) by rococohobo

The next time you’re planning a short-haul trip, consider taking the bus. It could save you over $150, without costing you the amenities you’re used to.

Luxury and style aren’t words we usually associate with a bus ride, but bus companies are trying to change that — without raising fares. Instead, they’re drawing in riders with new models for both their business and their buses. Several lines have added extra legroom, free Wi-Fi, and power outlets for laptops to their list of reasons to ride rather than fly.

This summer, Greyhound purchased 70 new buses equipped with all of the above, plus leather seating. And the extra comfort means less crowding on the buses, too: They made the extra leg room by cutting out five seats.

You can even catch an “in-ride” movie on a line like RedCoach. Buses are starting to sound like planes — or rather, like planes used to be, before crowded overhead bins, checked baggage fees, security hassles and impossibly little legroom.

Here’s a couple things to consider when you’re facing a bus vs. plane decision:

Location. Although Greyhound runs all over the country, their “bus of the future” is currently only running in the Northeastern United States, like BoltBus. Meanwhile, MegaBus covers the Northeast and ventures into the Midwest. Red Coach serves the east coast of Florida from Miami up through Atlanta. For now, the rest of the country doesn’t have many options that combine “cheap” and “luxury.”

Distance. Planes are obviously still the fastest way to travel long distances. If your trip is time-sensitive, a bus might not make sense. But if your destination’s less than three or four hours away, a bus might be the smart option. You’ll save time avoiding the nightmare that is airport security and can instead use it to relax or work on your laptop. You’ll also save money. Here’s a quick fare comparison:

  • Cheapest air fare from Baltimore to New York City: $181 on US Airways, according to CheapTickets.com.
  • Cheapest bus fare, same trip: $20 on Bolt Bus, according to BusJunction.com. Bolt Bus also offers an unbeatable $1 fare to the lucky customer who reserves the first seat on each bus.

And if you’re in the DC-to-NY corridor where bus services are most popular, The Washington Post has a good review comparing prices, service and amenities on 10 different bus lines.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

2-Minute Money Strategy: How Should I Invest My Retirement Savings?
2-Minute Money Strategy: How Should I Invest My Retirement Savings?

If retirement is on the horizon, you can’t afford to take too much risk, but you also need to make as much as possible. Here are your options.

10 Ways Retailers Trick You Into Spending More
10 Ways Retailers Trick You Into Spending More

Think you’re a savvy shopper? Find out how retailers persuade you to dig more deeply into your wallet.

7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home
7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home

Tired of possessions weighing you down? Here are seven ways to declutter painlessly and effectively.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Whether you resell it for a big profit or add it to your own wardrobe, this type of clothing is a hidden steal.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years
10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years

The cars that owners hold onto the longest have one thing in common, a new study shows.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners
The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners

If you’re looking to ease into investing in the coronavirus economy with just a little money, check out these easy-to-use tools.

14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021
14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

9 Things You Should Never Leave in a Car
9 Things You Should Never Leave in a Car

Thinking of leaving these possessions in a car? Prepare for unexpected consequences.

5 Changes to Your Federal Tax Return Form in 2021
5 Changes to Your Federal Tax Return Form in 2021

The new Form 1040 features two new tax breaks, among other changes.

9 Mistakes People Make When Cleaning With Vinegar
9 Mistakes People Make When Cleaning With Vinegar

Cleaning with vinegar can save you a lot of money, but using it like this can cost you.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook
7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

10 Things Successful Retirees Do Differently
10 Things Successful Retirees Do Differently

These habits and characteristics can help put you on the track to success.

7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50
7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50

As we age, our bodies wear down. Here is how to cut costs associated with some common ailments.

29 Purchases That Can Save You Money Every Day
29 Purchases That Can Save You Money Every Day

Sometimes, you’ve got to spend to save.

7 Things I Never Buy at Costco
7 Things I Never Buy at Costco

A bulk buy isn’t always the best buy.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.