Thursday, July 4, 2013

GUEST POST: Service Change: Go Bus to NYC

To tide you readers over while I continue uploading pictures, here's a guest post! A blog reader from the start, Michele Markarian recently took the Go Bus to the Big Apple. She sent me her thoughts on the ride:

"Recently I had a meeting in New York City, and what better way to get there than the Go Bus? Apart from the fact that it departs from Alewife Station in Cambridge, a brisk eight-minute or so walk from my house, it was $35 round-trip and boasted free WiFi.

I left for the station on a Sunday morning. The ticket advised me to get there 15 minutes before departure. As usual, I was late, arriving for a 9:00 departure at 8:53. This turned out to be okay, as there was no sign of the Go Bus. One of the members of a friendly group standing near me said loudly that the Go Bus was not known for its on-time departure. Finally, the bus pulled up, and at around 9:03, we took off.

I had a nice, comfortable, blue sort of plush seat (not really plush, but it was nicer than a regular bus seat) to myself. There were probably 23 of us on the bus, and I was looking forward to settling in and getting some work done on the free WiFi once the bus was in motion. First, though, we had to stop in Newton at Riverside Station, where panic, seventeen more people were waiting to get on. Please don’t sit next to me, please don’t sit next to me, I kept saying in my head, even though I could not bring myself to stick a backpack or jacket on the seat next to me, as some people were. Miracle of miracles, the seventeen people got on the bus, nobody sat next to me, and we were on our way.

Other than the free WiFi not working at all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable ride. The other passengers mostly slept, and other than one stop at a highway fast food chain, the pace was steady. We actually pulled into Penn Station a half-hour earlier than expected, which gave me time to check into my hotel before heading off to the theater.

To take the Go Bus back, you have to wait outside on West 31st between 7th and 8th, and can I just say, the line was daunting. Once again, I was late, and as I stood in the cold with mostly students, all I could think about was getting my own seat. 35 people on the bus later, I did. Again, the ride was nearly flawless, except for a 12-minute-late departure, the free WiFi not working and the bombastic viejo sitting across from me, who decided to have a cellphone conversation at the top of his lungs. In the middle of his monologue about how he practically invented the Internet, he was tapped politely on the shoulder by a well-dressed gentleman from the front of the bus, who told him he was too loud. I was impressed with the gentleman’s candor, as all I could do was roll my eyes and write nasty things in my journal. This worked for about five minutes, and then the viejo started up again. I think the person on the other end of the line must have wearied of the drone, for the conversation ended shortly afterwards. Other than a stop to two fast food restaurants under one roof, we were home on schedule.

Pros: The convenience, comfort, and price! I would do it again.

Cons: In the past, they used to give out free bottled water, but neither leg of the journey featured this. Also, the free WiFi never worked. But I suppose a few hours without internet and e-mail is a good thing, especially with a window to look out of, right?"

Thanks, Michele!


The Go Bus at Alewife.
From: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/go-buses-cambridge?select=8R1VcMTaH6RSceDn3Isq3A#8R1VcMTaH6RSceDn3Isq3A

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