Best Bus Options from DC to NYC

Traveling by bus is the cheapest public transportation option between the two cities, but which bus line should you choose?

By: Carrie Schedler

The four-ish-hour road trip from DC to NYC makes it easy for Washingtonians to get a taste of the Big Apple. And the plethora of low-cost bus lines between the cities makes it affordable, too.

Because there are so many competitors, each offers a range of enticing perks for a smoother trip, from luck-of-the-draw $1 tickets to free wi-fi and power outlets. Many companies even offer trips departing from Maryland and Virginia stops, perfect for people who don’t want to deal with shoving their way through Union Station on a Friday after work.

Here’s a rundown of some of the District’s busiest bus lines:

BOLTBUS

Online price: $1 to $25 one way, depending on the demand for each trip

Walkup price: $25

Free wi-fi? Yes

Number of Friday trips to New York: 16

Number of Sunday trips to DC: 16

Latest Sunday departure: 7:30 PM

DC bus stops: Greenbelt Metro stop, Union Station

New York bus stops: 33rd St. and Seventh Ave.; Canal St. and Sixth Ave.; 42nd St. and Eighth Ave.; Newark

More: We’ve heard the horror stories about overbooked buses—on Bolt, an advance-purchase ticket means an assigned seat.


VAMOOSE

Online price: $30 each way

Walkup price: $30

Free wi-fi? Yes

Number of Friday trips to New York: Up to 15

Number of Sunday trips to DC: Up to 15

Latest Sunday departure: Varies, but typically between 7 and 8 PM

DC bus stops: Lorton, Rosslyn, Bethesda

New York bus stop: 30th St. and Seventh Ave.

More: For a classier ride, the Vamoose Gold Bus offers reclining leather seats with extra leg room, power outlets, and luggage assistance. Starting in 2012, Gold tickets will be $60.


DC2NY

Online price: $28 one way, $50 round trip

Walkup price: $30

Free wi-fi? Yes

Number of Friday trips to New York: On average, 15

Number of Sunday trips to DC: Four

Latest Sunday departure: 6 PM

DC bus stops: Dupont Circle; Union Station, Vienna/Fairfax Metro stop, Franconia-Springfield Metro stop

New York bus stop: 33rd St. near Seventh Ave., across from Penn Station

More: DC2NY members (registration is free online) can earn points for each dollar spent to use for future one-way tickets.


MEGABUS

Online price: $1 to $45, depending on the demand for each trip

Walkup price: $1 to $45, depending on the day of the trip and the demand. Sold only for trips from New York to DC.

Free wi-fi? Yes

Number of Friday trips to New York: 22

Number of Sunday trips to DC: 27

Latest Sunday departure: 1:15 AM

DC bus stop: Union Station, on the bus deck above the Amtrak station.

New York bus stop: 31st St. and Eighth Ave. Arrival—MTA bus shelter, west side of Seventh Ave., south of 28th St. Departure—west side of Ninth Ave., north of intersection of Ninth and 31st.

More: Some buses stop in Baltimore. To see if yours does, check the estimated travel time: If it’s four hours and 15 minutes, you’re on a nonstop express; if it’s four hours and 30 minutes, you’ll get a rest stop.


APEX BUS

Online price: $20 one way, $35 round trip

Walkup price: $20 one way, $35 round trip

Free wi-fi? Yes, on some buses.

Number of Friday trips to New York: 16

Number of Sunday trips to DC: 16

Latest Sunday departure: 11:45 PM

DC bus stops: 610 I St., NW.; 700 Hungerford Dr., Rockville

New York bus stops: 252 W. 31st St.; 13 Allen St. (in Chinatown)

More: Ah, the infamous Chinatown bus. Yes, we’ve heard the stories about overbooking and failing to stick to a standard schedule, but it’s dependably dirt cheap. Just get to the bus stop early.


WASHINGTON DELUXE

Online price: Friday and Sunday, $25 one way, $46 round trip; Saturday, $25 each way

Walkup price: $25

Free wi-fi? Yes, on some buses.

Number of Friday trips to New York: 14

Latest Friday departure: 6:30 PM

Number of Sunday trips to DC: Ten

Latest Sunday departure: 7 PM

DC bus stops: Dupont Circle, Union Station

New York bus stops: Bedford Avenue and Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn; Allen Street and Delancey Street; near Penn Station.

More: Avid cyclists can stash their bikes under the cabin instead of a big suitcase for a two-wheeled weekend tour of the city.