In 2003 LimoLiner launched a high-end bus service between Boston and New York. It sounded great to me: onboard internet access, electrical outlets, luxurious seats, food and beverage service at a low price relatively to the plane and quite comparable to the Acela train. However the first two times I tried to take LimoLiner didn’t work out. Once it was canceled because the computer system crashed. Luckily they told me about that in advance. Another time the bus was broken so they sent an old, nasty bus with none of the amenities. That was really bad.
Meanwhile I have continued to hear generally good things about the service from others, so maybe I was just unlucky.
I took the LimoLiner from Boston to New York yesterday morning and overall I was satisfied. I would give it an A-. Here’s how it worked for me compared to my usual options of plane or train:
- The fare is lower. I paid $79 one-way compared to $80 to $140 for Amtrak’s Acela and anywhere from $150 to $350 for the Shuttle
- It was cheaper and faster to get to the pickup point and to my meeting in NY. It was only a $12 cab from my house to the pickup v. $20 to the train and $35 to the airport. The bus brought me to midtown, two blocks from my meeting vs. a $30 cab ride from the airport or a quick subway ride from Penn Station
- Check-in was a breeze. They start boarding 10 minutes before departure. You just show your ID and they compare it with their manifest. No boarding passes, no standing in line, no X-ray or metal detector, and if you need to check bags you just store them under the bus when you get on. It’s much easier than the airport and easier than the train
- Seats are closer to the Acela experience but nicer. There are leg rests and foot rests. Seats are leather. They recline farther than airplane or Acela seats. The seats are a little narrower than Acela but that only matters to regular-sized people because it means the tray table is a little bit small, though still big enough for a laptop
- Electronic amenities are good: wireless internet service (a little slow and spotty but not bad), 110V electrical outlet at each seat (like Acela), and DC power outlet (like in a car). They hand out headphones if you want and there is satellite radio and a movie. You can use your cellphone if you are in the front section (you choose your seat in advance) and the attendant made sure to keep people shushed –in a nice way– if they were being noisy
- Food service is modest but better than the plane. There are complimentary drinks –complete with covers and straws to avoid spills. Breakfast was a croissant and yogurt. Later there were Cheez-It’s.
- There is a nice bathroom. More like a home bathroom than planes’ or Acela’s
- We did have to stop at a weigh station on the Mass Pike –along with a bunch of trucks– and again for a minute or two so the attendant could reset the video. Overall the ride was at least as smooth as Acela or a plane
- The bus left right on time at 6 am and arrived right on time at 10:15 am. That’s not too different from Acela. It’s slower door to door than the Shuttle –at least when it’s on time. But there is a lot less wasted time than with the Shuttle or even Acela. I was able to turn on my computer and get on the internet right when I got on board and work all the way down. No waiting to get to 10,000 feet or anything like that. No restriction on cell phones (except for volume)
- The shuttle has far more frequent departures than LimoLiner. Acela has more, too. If you need to get down to NYC for an early morning meeting the Shuttle is going to be a much better bet.
So all in all the LimoLiner was very good and I recommend it.August 16, 2007