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Travel to New York City has gotten a lot easier—and cheaper—with the proliferation of discount buses. Following the lead of the Chinatown buses—originally intended to transport Chinese immigrants between major Northeast cities—companies such as Bolt Bus, MegaBus, Vamoose, and DC2NY rolled out cushy vehicles with such perks as free wi-fi, electrical outlets, and fares as low as $1.
Last fall, Arlington resident Matthew Keller, 29, was often riding MegaBus and Bolt Bus to see his girlfriend in Boston. Fed up with searching multiple Web sites for the best price, Keller, a software developer, came up with BusJunction.com. The search engine, which launched in April, is similar to airfare-comparison sites such as Orbitz: Plug in a specific date, and fares from more than a dozen companies are listed as well as each bus’s amenities.
Outbound Washingtonians have six pickup locations to choose from, including Rosslyn and Bethesda, and can specify whether they’d like to leave in the morning, afternoon, or evening. The site gave us 91 options for a July 3 trip to New York. Results could be arranged by price or departure time but not pickup spot. One-way tickets ranged from $5 to $28, and 55 of the trips had free wi-fi. There were six choices for travel to Philadelphia on the same day, all for $15.