Forget $15 one-way fares and the horror stories publicized about Chinatown bus trips to New York City and back — new ticket options to the Big Apple come with free Wi-Fi and extra legroom starting at only $1.
BoltBus, a line offered by Greyhound and Peter Pan bus services, is adding a new low-priced Boston-New York City route in April. The service has a Washington, D.C.-New York City route that offers eight daily departures from each city.
Greyhound spokesman Dustin Clark said the Boston service will run out of South Station like the other Greyhound and Peter Pan buses. The BoltBus buses are all brand new, have their own staff and the line is essentially independent from the other two companies, he said.
Tickets for BoltBus will cost between $1 and $25 and may be purchased either online or from the driver just before departure. The $1 fares are only available online and tickets bought from the drivers will only be available if there are seats left.
“Really, the idea is that the earlier you book your ticket, the less expensive it will be,” Clark said.
The managing companies said they hope BoltBus travelers will not worry about their safety on the buses, as some low-fare bus companies came under fire in 2005. Clark said Greyhound operates on “the highest safety standards.”
The companies hope college students will use the new line, which was designed for college students and all travelers that need an affordable, fast mode of transportation, he said.
“When you really look at the service — the express routes, the safety, the amenities, the low fares — there’s really no service like it,” he said.
Clark said riders will benefit from online booking, and once they get on, they will have free wireless Internet and electrical outlets at every seat.
For many transportation companies, free Wi-Fi is a big selling point, especially in students’ eyes.
“They might be willing to pay a couple dollars extra, if it’s not too high,” said Dennis Graham, Amtrak’s New England-area director of sales and marketing.
He said Amtrak is doing a second run-through test of the Wi-Fi service on its West Coast trains, but said the company has no timeline for when it will be on all routes. Many Amtrak stations already have wireless Internet.
Graham said he does not believe BoltBus will take away from Amtrak’s customer base.
AirTran Airways is not worried either, said company spokeswoman Cynthia Tinsley-Douglas.
Tinsley-Douglas said bus-company transportation competition does not typically impact the airlines.
Both companies give special offers to students, including a discount on Amtrak tickets with the Student Advantage card, and reduced standby fares on AirTran through the company’s “AirTran U” program.
College of Communication sophomore Lizzie Olesker said she was interested in the BoltBus line after looking on the bus’s website and discovering the New York City-to-Washington, D.C. route.
Olesker said she does not like to be the first person to try something new, but said she would try out BoltBus.
“This is going to help out a lot of college kids who have to live off of limited funds,” Olesker said. She said that considering the current state of the economy, “This’ll just be one less thing to think about.”