Mostly lovely LimoLiner

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

2 thoughts on “Mostly lovely LimoLiner”

  1. If you want unreliable transportation…feel free to take the risk. I was scheduled for 6:15pm bus back on Monday and there was no communication from limoliner that the bus was not running at the time. The only reason why I found out that there was no 6:15pm bus was during my conversation with an attendant on duty on Sunday who told me that 6:15pm on Monday was no longer running and for me to check with the office Monday morning. By the way- this is my 3rd time taking the limoliner and the attendants on the bus are always very nice and friendly so at least i give them credit.

    When I called the office in the morning, customer service had no real helpful solutions for me but to take an earlier bus, get a refund or take the next day service at 11:00am. I then requested to speak to the manager and the manager suggested that I take the train home….

    Needless to say, I had to rush through my afternoon meetings to take the earlier bus (to return back to NY again at a later time because I could not finish everything in time). It turns out-Gary Messina who is the VP of sales called me to let me know that limoliner forgot to call people about cancellation due to superbowl game distraction (“which is shitty” quote on quote by Gary)and informed me that there was a bunch of people waiting for the bus on Monday night at 6:15pm in NY. I am rather lucky that I was able to find out about the cancellation on my own and make it home…I could have been one of the people standing in the rain waiting for the 6:15pm bus to arrive…

    What did the management team suggest as their excellent level of service? 25% off the trip…woohoo~ no consideration for cancellation of my afternoon meetings and causing me inconvenience of rushing through work and feeling stressed that I may not make it home that day. I should have taken acela for the same price and less stress! I don’t recommend limoliner for business travel at all. Now, i have to go back to NY for follow up meeting and that’s a waste of another full day for me because of limoliner’s mistake! I guess that’s the price i have to pay for being stupid enough to rely on limoliner’s management team.

  2. Hal Miller-Jacobs Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    May 11th, 2009 at 11:19 am
    Unfortunately my LimonLiner experience was quite different.
    When we got on the bus the attendant said the bathroom was broken and we would stop in Hartford. “Is this usual”, I asked. She said it never happened before. Turns out it was her maiden voyage as well.
    When the bus broke down in New Rochelle, the driver was not sure what to do – he was new as well. We were on a railroad overpass with a very small breakdown lane, with the bus shaking every time a truck drove passed.
    Three of us were able to call a cab, get out of the danger and continue our journey to Manhattan. LimonLiner has refused to reimburse us claiming that another bus arrived shortly to transport the stranded passengers.

    Very poor customer service. I will never use the service again

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