College students are always looking for cheap ways to travel, and low-cost bus services like the Fung Wah bus, which traveled between Boston and New York, have popped up in order to drive down prices and appeal to this market. Despite rumors of safety concerns, it is hard for a college student to resist a $15 round-trip ticket to New York City from South Station.
However, on Monday, Feb. 25, federal authorities demanded that Fung Wah buses be pulled from the road, citing safety concerns as a result of a random inspection. The U.S. Department of Transportation said the buses were an "imminent hazard" and ordered that Fung Wah “immediately cease passenger service.” State regulators ordered that three-quarters of the buses be pulled off the road, after inspectors found cracks in many of the old buses.
Without a cheap option like the Fung Wah bus, how can you safely travel from Boston to New York? Here are 4 alternative options.
1. A different (safer) bus service.
There are many bus lines that operate between Boston and New York, including some discount services, ranging from anywhere from $10 to $35 depending on the time. Trips are generally around four and a half hours. Greyhound arrives into Port Authority Station. Companies like Mega Bus and Bolt Bus pick you up curbside, but at a cheaper price. If you are planning on traveling during rush hour (Friday afternoons, for example), be prepared for a long trip.
Pros: Cheap, frequent departures, if you don't mind getting dropped off on the curb.
Con: Can be very long trip depending on traffic.
2. Splurge a little and take the train.
For anyone who can't stand long trips being trapped on a bus, the train is a fast convenient option to avoid sitting in traffic. It's more expensive, but you will go directly from South Station to Manhattan. If you will be traveling during rush hour, the train avoids that horrible traffic going into Manhattan. The Acela service can take three and a half hours, and other trains take around five and a half hours. Train tickets run from around $70 to $150 depending on the time and route.
Pros: Convenient, comfortable, avoid the traffic, more direct.
Cons: Much pricier than the bus.
3. Leave the roads behind and fly.
This is definitely the fastest way to get to New York, as total flight time only takes about an hour. But you have to factor in getting to the airport, going through security, and wait time. Both of New York's airports (LaGuardia and JFK) are outside the city, so you will have to also factor in the cost of getting to Manahattan. However, you can usually find relatively cheap shuttle flights between Boston and New York.
Pros: Fast, can be less expensive than train.
Cons: Hassle of going through airport, travel to and from airports.
4. If all else fails, don't be afraid to drive.
If you are traveling with a big group, it could make sense to plan a road trip. Without traffic, it should take around four and a half hours. The obvious problem is finding somewhere to park in New York. Unless you have a friend who lives there and has a parking space available, parking could get very expensive, but it could be a good option if you can split the costs of gas and parking among a big group.
Pros: Set your own schedule, you can play your own music.
Cons: Traffic, finding parking.
Meghan is a member of the class of 2013 from Cape Elizabeth, Maine. She is a Political Science major and Faith Peace and Justice minor. She joined the Gavel her sophomore year and has been an editorial assistant, News Editor, and Managing Editor. She spent her junior spring semester studying abroad in Granada, Spain. She enjoys writing political stories and covering campus events for the Gavel.