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Review: My Boltbus Experience

5/05/2008 09:57:00 AM
UPDATE 7-27-09:

I felt the need to provide a brief update since my first ride on Bolt Bus all those months ago. I've ridden Bolt Bus numerous times since my original ride. They've worked out most of the issues that I experienced the first time and it's now my preferred means of getting to NYC.


Original Review:

I'm feeling pretty ambivalent about this past weekend's Boltbus experience. I think the best way to sum it up is that the buses themselves are quite nice, but the customer service experience is horrible. I had purchased tickets to go to NYC on Friday on the 6:30pm bus and return on Sunday on the 5:30pm bus.

So I arrived fairly early on Friday (5:40pm) because I didn't know what to expect. There is one terminal for Bolt Bus (terminal 21). Because I was almost 50 minutes early, there was no one else around so I just sat down and waited. Around 6pm, people started showing up and getting in line at the Terminal. I waited for 15-20 people before I joined in.

6:15pm rolled around (boarding time) and there was still no bus. People started getting a little worried and tried calling Greyhound, or walking over to the Greyhound desk and asking for info. Their replies? "Boltbus is a different company, we can't help you."

I went on their website and looked for a number to call. Here's what I found:

We do not maintain a call center or agents at each stop, so e-mail is all you need. Our goal is to keep the process as simple as possible.

One guy went so far as emailing them to see if they'd respond. They didn't

Finally at 8pm, the bus pulled in. By that time, 75% of the riders had tired of waiting and hopped on a Chinatown bus instead.

The bus itself was nice and new and the seats had more legroom than usual. The front 2/3 of the bus had electrical sockets in the back of the seat in front of you. The bus stops and picks up in NYC on the corner of 34th and 8th.

The busride back from NYC left on time. It did take a while though, 4.5 hours - which is longer than I'm used to.

Will I ride Bolt Bus again? I haven't decided yet. But I am going to email them asking for a phone number to call. Standing around waiting with no one to consult is unacceptable.

Click (here) for an entry on how to get to NYC.

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13 Response to "Review: My Boltbus Experience"

  1. Got 2 Trot Librarian Said,

    I also rode the Bolt Bus this weekend and thought the Customer Service was almost too helpful. The driver held the bus up for 20 minutes to help a woman locate her confirmation number via someone's borrowed lap top.

    Posted on 5/5/08, 10:59 AM

  2. Anonymous Said,


    The bus you waited for left NYC on a Fri afternoon. That means hours on the CT turnpike inching along, and arriving late at Boston. NYC to Bos is 6 hours on a Fri, and that probably accounts for the delay. The Bolt schedules say 4hours, but Fri, and Fri was raining, cannot keep a schedule.

    Posted on 5/5/08, 9:58 PM

  3. Dui Said,

    I was on the 1230pm Boston to 34th St. bus and left my knapsack that contained all my prescription medicine in the overhead rack above my seat when I got off the bus at 500pm. It had a tag with my name, address, telephone number, and email address. Boltbus does not have a telephone number to call if something goes wrong so I could not immediately call the dispatcher like other bus companies. I sent them an email to customer service when I got home and got a reply that I would be contacted if it was found. That was the last I heard from them as they refuse to respond to my emails. It is like a black hole...nothing. So be warned. If something is amiss and you need to contact the driver of your bus or the bus company you are out of luck. They have your money and that's all they care about. No customer service after they have your money. After that it's get lost.

    Posted on 5/9/08, 10:24 PM

  4. Beantown Bloggery Said,

    Dear Dui,
    I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your knapsack. I'd suggest you try emailing them again to see if you get can get a response. I emailed them shortly after my first bus ride and told the story about the delay and asked if they could provide a customer service numbers. They said no, but at least they responded.

    Posted on 5/10/08, 11:26 AM

  5. Anonymous Said,

    Good post, thanks for the info.

    Other Anon: 6:30 PM bus leaving Boston would have left NYC previously at 1:30PM - 2 PM. There should be light traffic on 95 at that hour. Unless something happened on the MassPike inbound, but never have it seen a delay there account for a 90 minute lag.

    It sounds like this is a barebones operation. OTherwise it would just be peter pan/greyhound.

    You would think though, that if this bus wants to substitute technology for customer service, they at least could send SMS and email updates to customers about arrival/departure times..

    Seriously, waiting around until 8? That's nuts. I'd damn near hitchhike before doing that.

    Posted on 6/2/08, 5:41 PM

  6. Anonymous Said,

    I took Bolt from Boston to NYC last weekend (June 6-9), leaving Friday afternoon and returning Monday morning, total price $35. Departure times were within a half-hour of schedule and travel times each way were less than five hours. Both drivers were friendly and helpful; the new coaches are clean and comfortable; the clientele seemed to be mainly students; and the Wi-Fi appeared to work fine for those who were using it. Recommended if, like the airlines, you know you'll be keeping your reservation, and even if, like me, you're long past your student days.

    Posted on 6/10/08, 12:25 PM

  7. Anonymous Said,

    I've taken Boltbus a whole lot! I take it roundtrip NYC to Boston at least twice a month.
    Some trips suck and some are ok.
    To the the lady who lost her bag...what I suggest is dont' do this email thing, show up to the closest terminal and get there when a bus is being booked to go somewhere and ask the driver to help you find the bag, they have the numbers to call and get the number from him and his name.

    I've seen the bus get there on the dot and I've seen it get there hours late. The deal is you get what you pay for!
    Fung wah is not safe and don't take it!
    If you really are on a time crunch take Amtrak..I know it's costly but if your taking a bus you have traffic! Also taking Bolt on a Thurs instead of a Friday or on a Monday instead of a Sunday you dont' hit traffic. Every time I go on a Friday night or Sunday night it takes ages to get to Boston!

    On a good note, I like Bolt Bus!
    You can't put them down for traffic that they can't control.

    What's weird is sometimes they show movies and sometimes they don't and you can't hear the movie very well and I have great hearing so I dont' get that!

    The wireless is ok, but it gets patchy in certain places but then again when I toured on a bus we had the same issues.
    But all in all it's a good bus with nice folks

    You know what else is weird and if anyone can answer this it would be great!

    How come sometimes they stop at a rest stop for a 10 minute break and other times they don't

    Posted on 10/3/08, 12:19 PM

  8. Unknown Said,

    I know this thread is old, but I just wanted to post a number to their customer service. The website malfunctioned and issued me three round trip tickets ($114) and, as others have said, there is no number listed. 7 emails and an unwelcome call to greyhound later, I called my bank. My bank gave me this number (866)473-9468 which was associated with my transactions. Turns out Bolt Bus DOES have a customer service line, they just keep it extraordinarily well hidden. My charges were canceled right away.

    Posted on 3/10/09, 11:02 AM

  9. Anonymous Said,

    People are putting their lives at risk on Boltbus. Had cruise control on at 65 mph in the right lane, Easter Sunday afternoon, very busy Rt 84 at CT/MA junction headed towards MA. Boltbus come within 5 ft of my bumoer, passes on my left so close it is almost touching my vehicle, then swerves to the right before he passed me, forcing me into the breakdown lane. Then as I am passing him on the left, as the Boltbus goes to take Exit 1, the driver pulls left into my lane forcing me into middle travle lane where I almost get hit by another vehicle. Only thing I can figure out is this driver didn't like other vehicles driving the spped limit in the right lane. And no, I did not slow down in front of a 20 ton bus. Unbelievable. I reported it to the MA State Police with the plate number - the driver deserved to be taken away in cuffs. Ride at your own risk, and if you are on the road near a Boltbus, watch out, or risk you and your childrens lives.

    Posted on 4/13/09, 9:15 AM

  10. Dan Dan Said,

    Hmm... I used BoltBus this weekend (left Thursday and returned Sunday) as did three of my friends. Bus left on time, driver was friendly, funny, and helpful, and the wi-fi was pretty nice. Also, a lot more leg room than I'm used to (almost too much, more than one would typically need).

    Plus (and most importantly in my book) instead of cutting through the center of Manhattan to drop you off/take you back to Boston, they actually use the freeways on both sides of the island. Common sense, I know, but neither Greyhound nor Chinatown do that. It saves at least 5, up to 15 minutes with that alone.

    All in all, I had a good experience and I'd definitely use BoltBus again

    Posted on 4/14/09, 5:34 PM

  11. Anonymous Said,

    Bolt bus is awesome. A good place to find tickets on Bolt Bus and Megabus and the Chinatown lines is BusJunction.

    Posted on 7/23/09, 9:12 PM

  12. Anonymous Said,

    Bolt sucks. We were already running late due to construction on top of normal NY congestion. The driver then has to stop at a burger king even though we had left Newark recently after a long stop. We start to pull out of the Burger King when a lady runs out to say she just has to run back in to get her stuff. FIFTEEN MI.utes later, she strolls out with a frapuccino. WTF?! So our bus ends up being an hour late and I barely miss my commuter rail train and the next one is 2.5 hours later on a Saturday. Thanks for nothing, Bolt. Next time I will apay the $20-30 more for Amtrak.

    Posted on 4/6/13, 4:43 PM

  13. Dan Said,

    Its 9:30 pm Pacific Time Zone. I just received a telephone call from my 20 year old son who was taking the BoltBus from Portland to Vancouver, BC. While having his documents checked at the US-Canada border crossing, the bus left. He is now sitting at the border crossing station trying to procure another ride. The Canadian Officers were very apologetic and are trying to help him. They told him this happens with Bolt every few months. I will be in contact with Bolt tomorrow. Please post here if you've had a similar experience or if you have any advice on what action to take against Bolt. Thank you.

    Posted on 6/27/13, 12:55 AM


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