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This will be my tenth year riding Chinatown buses back and forth between Boston and New York.
These Chinatown buses function as a connector between the two Chinatown communities, and at times I’ve felt like a jerky interloper on them. These cheap buses would be better off if they never touched Manhattan at all, in my opinion. And if there are going to be frills on a Cheap Frills bus, let’s have some Snapples available to purchase or some shit. There may be no rules that govern how to behave on planes and trains and buses with all our various exciting technologies. As reported in an earlier blog posting on Fung Wah’s competitors, it can’t be denied that discount buses have come to Boston and are here to stay! On the flip side, the Fung Wah was perfect on our trip back because we didn’t know exactly what time we wanted to leave New York City.
The Conclusion: So for future trips, if I book in advance and plan to use or not use my laptop, the BoltBus is perfect.
It would be fantastic to go to NYC for only $1– for those souls out there who can plan ahead for more than two weeks at a time!
The Chinatown buses have long been my favorite method of transportation from NYC to Boston. Flexibility – Except on major holidays, you can usually book your trip on the day of, or just show up at the station. Location – Port Authority Bus Terminal smells, is confusing to navigate, and is filled with some scary people. Prosperity Dumpling – This has zero to do with the buses themselves, but the most amazing dumplings are just around the corner from all the bus stops at 46 Eldridge St.
Eastern Bus and Today's bus was purchased by Megabus in Feb 2009, and still operate under their old logos. Because of so many buses and bus companies here, some of them began to play a cat-and-mouse game of double-parking and then driving away at the first sign of police.
At Jamaica, walk next door to the AirTrain monorail terminal, pay the rip-off $5.00 to take you the rest of the way to the airport. The bus companies were rumored to be fronts for Chinese gangs (actually, they were blackmailed by the gangs). A search online revealed that several bus companies offer the route, but I went with Fung Wah for old times’ sake. A NY-Boston ticket for the Fung Wah bus cost $15 this time, and almost none of the passengers was Chinese. Across the aisle, a tattooed guy was explaining to his girlfriend how to eat zong zi, which, if you haven’t had one, are one of the most delicious and fun Chinese foods.
An hour into Connecticut, we were crawling along I-95 in Friday afternoon traffic when the driver suddenly pulled over. Five and a half hours later, when we arrived in Boston, I discovered that Fung Wah even had a proper gate at South Station — no more offloading passengers in the middle of Chinatown. My guess is that running a bus operation is probably cheaper than most people think, provided it is run efficiently. In the beginning, I was living in Boston and dating a beautiful New York Poet and so was breaking my budget going back and forth on the Greyhound to make kissy faces. Even if someone is jabbering away on the phone, their battery will run out sooner or later.
The big players are the Fung Wah, the BoltBus and the Megabus with one way trips to New York from Boston costing $15 or less each way. It does have more room than the Fung Wah but the best part is that you can plug in your laptop and use wireless service the entire trip! It depended on how long lunch would be and how much shopping we could bear (shopping is always so tortuous!).
The more in advance I can book the tickets, the cheaper the seats will be which is always a bonus. I had to work, yesterday was my birthday, and I just re-did the enter website and that took ages.

Recently both the Lucky Star and Fung Wah bus companies were shut down by the government due to safety violations, but I’m happy to report that Lucky Star is BACK, and Fung Wah is probably not far behind.
Many other budget-friendly bus lines make you hike it to 11th or 12th Avenue to board (there are no nearby subways). I'm rebranding as The Weekend Jetsetter, a name that spells out what I do (travel the world on weekends) a little better. While all effort was made to ensure the accuracy of the information on this webpage, the author does not accept any responsibility, or liability for any omissions, or errors.
Bolt Bus free wireless internet on board, and loyalty program (currently, buy 8 trips and get 1 trip free). Subsidized by the casinos, run by NJ Transit (ticketing system by amtrak), the Atlantic City Express Service (ACES) costs $39-$200 one-way, and only runs on weekends. This option is the fastest way of getting to JFK if you are located anywhere near ny penn station. The bus went from Boston’s Chinatown to the Chinatown in Manhattan, and at $10 per ticket, it cost less than half as much as Greyhound or Peter Pan.
He took out his zong zi, slipped off the white string, and unfolded the bamboo leaf that held together the pyramid of savory sticky rice. Fung Wah’s costs must be higher than that of the smaller other Chinatown bus companies, but I think in general these companies have little overhead and accept slimmer margins. They brought chowmein to Calcutta, India, “became black” in South Africa, and are remaking fast fashion in Prato, Italy. My complaint was more like annoyance at having to overhear conversations about computers and stuff.
You buy tickets online in advance and then flash someone your phone so they see a text message with a confirmation number. Maybe the girl whose coffee accidentally spilled on me and who sat next to me with her laptop and phone in her lap who kept hitting me in the ear with her elbow as she was preening her hair was bringing me down. If you have an important presentation or want to teach someone how to beat various levels of Angry Birds, take the Bolt Bus.
On the last quick trip to New York I tested out the BoltBus to see what all the hype was about, and props to my mom who went along for the journey. It was absolutely great to maximize my time and catch up on my emails for the 4-5 hour trek between the two cities. When the time came for us to head to Boston, we simply went up to Fung Wah’s counter in China Town and bought our tickets guaranteed at $15 each way and hopped on the next bus that came. And when I say cheaper, seats can go for $1 if I book two weeks in advance – that’s a steal! Chinatown buses are easily accessible by subway station, plus they immediately exit Manhattan so you sit in less traffic than other departure points.
Skeleton crew, lower salaries, no corporate offices, no HR departments, no traditional advertising, no proper bus stations. During one dark and stormy night they had The Sixth Sense on which I had never seen and I was freaked out entirely and it was great. I’m so used to the slow crawl through Bridgeport, Stamford, New Haven and then up past Hartford to the Mass Pike. We stopped at a Roy Rogers or something in East Cruffandstuff, Conn., and she put her laptop down on her seat and went into the Roy Rogers.
I think the woman next to me was writing a term paper and tweeting her friend through a break-up.
We took the BoltBus to New York City and the Fung Wah on our way back to Boston so we had back to back experiences to use to compare the two discount buses.
My uncles wasn’t convinced that it drops you off in the best party of the Big Apple, but my mom and I couldn’t tell the difference and had no complaints about the drop-off spot. Since I couldn’t plug in my laptop on the Fung Wah, my mom and I enjoyed quality talk time without distractions unlike on the BoltBus where my eyes were glued to my laptop screen the entire way. For trips when I don’t want to be locked into a specific travel time, the Fung Wah inevitably is the perfect choice. There’s typically no wifi or outlets on the Chinatown bus, even if they advertise that there is.

That way you don’t risk an obese woman shoveling fried chicken from KFC in her face the entire trip sitting next to you.
One of the safety violations that Lucky Star was cited for was having a hole in their luggage compartment. Fung Wah has a counter and gate in Boston, but in New York their passengers are just waiting on the sidewalk, and their buses are parking on the side of the street. It took me a little longer to work up the courage to find the small bakery in Boston’s Chinatown where a woman was selling tickets to New York at one of the tables.
I’m usually broke and, when I lived in the Boston area, I loved going to New York, to hear poets or just be in New York. Do they serve seared mutton with capers on this Magical Greyhound bus that is going to put my Chinese friends out of business? The votes are in, and the judges have decided that depending on what you want in your discount bus depends on which bus is best for you. The Fung Wah experience is always a little colorful whether if its hearing the Chinese driver yell to the ticket-taker in Mandarin (possibly Cantonese?) or the person behind you bitch on a cell phone in a raspy voice, it all makes the ride a little more interesting! Read the fine print: if you show up to check in less than 30 minutes before departure, they may have sold your seat to someone else. Bring your Kindle, bring a magazine, download a movie to iTunes and don’t forget your back-up cell phone charger. Now I ride them in the other direction, from New York to Boston, to visit friends and family. If you can’t stop tweeting about how you want to be the mayor of the Bolt Bus, Bolt Bus!
Shouldn’t the whole bus be a hybrid that runs on American Good Intentions in the World?
If you want to hang with some Chinese old ladies in the front seats and sleep and maybe write a bunch of poems on construction paper, Fung Wah.
There were always anecdotal tales of explosions and flipping buses over, but in my millions of trips back and forth we had two flats and only one trip that was bad enough that I was actually freaking out. The dude in front of me was watching Youtube on his laptop and his iPhone at the same time.
My trusty Samsung Moment Android Thingie can be pretty fun with whatever I can do on it (usually just play Cribbage, I’m an old guy.
But if you’re gonna have a Brooklyn Alterna-Bus, end up on Bedford and Broadway or Union and 5th or something.
Also, serve New England Clam Chowder on the way to Boston and Manhattan Clam Chowder on the way back. But everyone loved the fucking Bolt Bus and urged me to not take the Chinese kind that flip over and everyone dies in. I take the Jet Blue as a treat sometimes, and man, if you’re dressed as Santa Claus, expect the glove on your junk. Because my little phone’s batteries usually go for about 45 minutes of fun and then yellow! Once they invent the one thing we can all use so that we never have to talk to one another again. And Switzerland would have to drop its historic neutrality and elbow those dudes right out.
Pandora actually has a Rebecca Black Station, by the way, with no Rebecca Black but plenty of screeching. My seat seemed a bit unmoored from the ground, and, naturally, some kid was kicking the back of my seat the whole way.
If you’re gonna twirl your hair and kinda spill coffee on me, I gotta watch your laptop? Since the Whalers left Hartford, I find the entire Connecticut business ringed with sadness.

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