Cars | The Reconnoisseur

The bus that’s a smart alternative to cabin fever

The New York-Boston bus that’s so much less fuss than flying

The bus that’s a smart alternative to cabin fever

May 04 2011
Mark C O’Flaherty

For various reasons, largely to do with the fact that I have friends who spend the summer in Cape Cod, I’ve made the 210-mile trip between New York City and Boston many a time. As someone who has never learnt to drive, travelling that distance in a country that has more or less forgotten about its railways is tricky. With all the drawbacks of delays, shoes-off security and a 1970s approach to business class, flying is almost as unappealing as taking the notorious $15-one-way Fung Wah Bus that runs from one city’s Chinatown to the other. So my favoured mode of transport is the Limoliner (from $60 one way), a bus that takes just over four hours, four times a day, to get from the Hilton Club hotel in midtown Manhattan to Back Bay in Boston, in relative luxury.

The leather seats are comfortable (I pre-book one of the left-of-aisle seats which are in single-file formation), there are power-points aplenty and the wireless internet connection has, in my experience, worked constantly and at a very decent speed. There’s also constant, excellent, phone reception. There are live-feed TV business news and movie options for those who didn’t load up their iPads for the trip, and the food (with wine on the evening trips) is more appetising than the stuff they serve at 30,000 feet.

But the key thing I like about taking the Limoliner is that it gives you the gift of time. Whereas flying takes about half a day in total but gives you only about half an hour of real laptop time, on the Limoliner you can settle down to work for the whole afternoon right after you board. It’s an office on wheels. I spend my time transcribing interviews, editing copy and getting on top of my emails. Then I arrive at Boston feeling unstressed, having been extremely productive. And given that most of the passengers have chosen the Limoliner for similar reasons, you’re highly unlikely to be stuck in close proximity to the seemingly omnipresent in-flight screaming child.