Get on the bus

My wife and I are doing something together that we have never done before. We are taking an intercity bus ride. We had heard about the super cheap new bus companies that ply the routes between New York and Washington DC, and thought that we would try one, instead of flying: with a fare from as low as $1–in our case, $13 to NYC and $28 back–it’s hard to beat. It’s a lot more convenient than flying: the time it took to get to the bus station and onto the bus was minimal, and we are already on the road, 40 minutes after leaving home. No need to worry about losing our take off slot.

Apart from the low far, the amenities really attract a lot of young people, too, with free wireless Internet access and power outlets. That beats most planes hands down. The trains are just about catching up with that, but are much more expensive.

Travelling by Megabus to NYC also highlighted some aspect of travel behaviour that are strange: courtesy seems to be on display everywhere. I know that this may differ from journey to journey, but on this ride it stands out. The driver announced himself with a “Good morning!” and his transmitter was very clear. He checked the temperature in the upper and lower decks. There are no attendants, and there will be no beverages or food provided. Space is much more than on a plane.

Etiquette, may be something that comes from the various forms of travel. I know that train passengers are often very polite: admitted, that in my experience on the north-east corridor operated by Amtrak, many tend to be business people. So, we may need to rethink and figure out why air passengers are often less than polite. Air travel is more stressful, and with that comes intolerance.

On the bus, the quietness is eerie. I know that some children are on the upper deck with us, but I can barely hear their voices. I cannot hear a thing coming from downstairs. Maybe, everyone is too busy sleeping or getting their wi-fi groove on.

There’s plenty to take in on a road trip and on a lovely sunny September day it’s really relaxing to look at the woods and verdant scenery. Of course, I may start to get sour if we hit major traffic problems. But, for the moment, I will sit back and relax and enjoy that I can ride in comfort and be productive. I wonder what movie we will get.

One of the new f words is frugality. Being frugal has more benefits than just saving money.


About The Grasshopper

Professional international economist, recently retired from an international organization. I use blogging as a way of organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, and spent many years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for a few decades, and worked and travelled abroad extensively. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of girls. Also, married to an economist.
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