Buses offer efficient & economical travel options within US
You cannot travel through the US unless you have your own car.
How many times have you heard that? I have heard it on plenty of occasions and it is not entirely false.
The public transport system is the US is pretty bad. You do have the underground and buses in cities but when you need to travel between cities, it’s convenient if you have a car. There are trains and planes, but they are quite expensive. If you are on a budget, you would rather not use those.
That leaves us with inter-state buses.
When the topic is long distance travel by bus, the name that immediately comes to mind is of course, Greyhound. This company, along with its sister concerns, operates the largest number of inter-city buses in North America. But there are several other small and big bus companies that serve most cities in the US of A.
With a little bit of planning ahead, you can travel between American cities without burning a big hole in your pocket.
Below, I will list a few bus journeys I undertook in the US and compare prices when booked ahead and just before the journey. You should also keep in mind that the prices differ with weekend and weekday travel dates.
Trip 1: New York City to Philadelphia: USD11.50
I booked this ticket online 15 days before the journey. This journey took two hours.
- Distance: 152km
- Cost per kilometre: USD0.076
- For USD1, you travel: 13.22km
Trip 2: Philadelphia to Charlottesville: USD39.50
I booked this ticket online 17 days before the journey. This trip had bus changes/stopovers at Baltimore and Washington DC and was scheduled to take almost eight hours in total. However, I did not complete this journey and got off at Washington DC.
- Distance: 410km
- Cost per kilometre: USD0.096
- For USD1, you travel: 10.38km
Trip 3: Charlottesville to Ithaca, NY: USD71.50
I booked this ticket 20 days before the journey. This trip had bus changes/stopovers at Baltimore and New York City and took 17 hours.
- Distance: 916km
- Cost per kilometre: USD0.078
- For USD1, you travel: 12.81km
Trip 4: Ithaca to New York City: USD55
I booked this ticket just before the journey, which took around five hours.
- Distance: 366km
- Cost per kilometre: USD0.15
- For USD1, you travel: 6.65km
As you see, the price is significantly cheaper when you plan and book ahead and are able to keep your travel days elastic.
But I will say it can be a problem moving inside a small town or around it because of the lack of, or really scarce public transport. In that case, a car will certainly be helpful. But when you want to travel between cities and are able to plan ahead, it is unlikely a bus doesn’t run on the route.
Public transport is eco-friendly. Use them whenever you can!