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I'm planning on taking one of the discount buses from Boston to New York City (Fung Wah/Mega/Bolt). Do people generally just buy their tickets at the counter, or is it better to buy them in advance, online?

How far ahead of time should I get to the station?

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Why Fung Wah? Why not Bolt, or MegaBus? Prices are exactly the same. –  Karlson Jan 11 '13 at 16:43
    
@Karlson Are Bolt or Mega better? I'm looking at tickets ~2 weeks out, so Bolt and Mega have gone up a little bit, while Fung Wah is still $15. –  Zach Jan 11 '13 at 16:52
    
In addition. As this question is stated it's too localized. And on Monday January 28 Mega prices vary from $10 - $15. –  Karlson Jan 11 '13 at 16:52
    
@Karlson I don't see that it's too localised. Essentially he's just asking whether to buy online or at the counter. –  Mark Mayo Jan 11 '13 at 17:05
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@MarkMayo Before question was asked this was specific to Fung Wah not everything. –  Karlson Jan 11 '13 at 17:14

2 Answers 2

Buy in advance if you can, but don't sweat it if you can't.

Here are the reasons:

  1. Certain bus times are more popular and can get sold out.
  2. If you buy ahead of time, it can be cheaper. Some of the bus lines advertise a $1 ride which you might be able to get if you buy a month in advance.
  3. Buying online (for Bolt Bus) can get you frequent traveler rewards. Even if you don't ride it often, buying your ticket through an account on Bolt Bus will get you into boarding group A, which means you are among the first to board.
  4. If you buy it online and miss your bus or decide to take an earlier one, you can probably still get on the bus provided it isn't completely full.

Other suggestions:

  1. Arrive about 15-20 ahead of schedule, but that's definitely playing it safe. Many times, the bus isn't even there until 5 min before departure.
  2. All the buses have terminals at South Station, but it's a few minutes walk from where the subway lets you off. Plan for enough time to find the bus terminal.
  3. Bolt Bus and Megabus let you off in central Manhattan, whereas Fung Wah drops you off in Chinatown. Both stops are near subway stations, but depending on where you are going, it might be easier/faster from a specific drop off.
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Was going to answer, but I think you hit all the relevant points. Though, as a frequent Fung Wah Bus rider, I've never failed to get on, even showing up as little as one minute before departure on a weekend trip. –  Michael Hampton Jul 30 '13 at 9:39

This seems fairly straight-forward. If you can and have access to a printer, buy them online. I've done this with Megabus and Greyhound. Then when you get there there's no last minute queuing (which can be bad sometimes) and you just show your form and get on the bus. Simple!

Generally they ask you to be there 15 minutes before (at least that's Boltbus's rules), but it all depends on how much stress you want to alleviate ;)

One point to note - Boltbus, for example, stops sales of online tickets 3 hours before departure. So if you DO want to buy online, do it promptly.

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but I think Chinatown buses have the same prices anytime so in this case, you can buy it at the counter (but if the bus is full you wait for the next one). –  Vince Jan 11 '13 at 21:16
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It is no longer necessary to print out BoltBus tickets; the driver will happily recognise tickets shown on a phone. Greyhound however, are still in the stone age and require printed tickets. –  Sam May 15 at 2:32

protected by Ankur Banerjee Feb 14 '13 at 8:33

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