Last Updated on January 28, 2020 by Laurice Wardini
Bolt Bus is a bus service that offers inexpensive rides (sometimes just $1) between two destination cities. They advertise a number of amenities such as wifi, outlets, extra legroom, and even bathrooms! Since reviews are mixed, we decided to try out Bolt Bus for ourselves. We will be evaluating the service based on Bolt Bus reviews, our own experiences, cost, amenities, and other factors. Let’s dive in!
What is the Bolt Bus?
Owned by Greyhound, Bolt Bus is an affordable bus service that typically runs between two long-distance stops such as Portland to Seattle, Washington DC to Philadelphia, and others. Most trips take 1 to 5 hours (cities must be somewhat nearby, they don’t offer trips across the country). They offer cities on both the west and east coast, as well as one city in Canada.
Bolt Bus doesn’t offer airport transportation or pick you up at your doorstep, although it can definitely be a cheap way to travel to a city that your flight is in. They have established drop-off and pick-up points in their cities.
In addition, Bolt Bus advertises plenty of amenities to make the ride more comfortable (however, some Bolt Bus reviews have had negative experiences with the amenities). They offer free wifi on all bus routes, individual power outlets, restrooms, air conditioning, and extra legroom. They also have an app that makes purchasing and tracking the Bolt Bus schedule even more convenient. You can also sign up for their loyalty program when you buy tickets. You will accumulate rewards points and, after you take 8 one-way trips, you receive a free one-way ticket of your choice.
How Much Does Bolt Bus Cost?
You can purchase both one-way and round-trip tickets. Although prices vary depending on the cities and dates, tickets are typically under $20 each way. While they are generally cheap, some cities get up to $40 each way. All tickets are non-refundable.
A unique feature that many BoltBus reviews rave about is their $1 tickets. Each schedule they release will have at least one $1 ticket, which will be sold at random and is generally sold right away. The earlier you book your seat, the more likely you will get the $1 ticket.
Your ticket comes with one larger bag to store under coach and two small carry-on bags that can fit in overhead bins. Additionally, children under two are free with a full fare passenger (they have to sit in the parent’s lap). It will cost extra if you want them to have their own seat.
Which Cities Does BoltBus Service?
- Albany, OR
- Baltimore, MD
- Bellingham, WA
- Bostom, MA
- Cherry Hill Mall, NJ
- Corvallis, OR
- Eugene, OR
- Everett, WA
- Greenbelt, MD
- New Haven, CT
- New York, NY
- Newark, NJ
- Philidelphia, PA
- Portland, OR
- Salem, OR
- Seattle, WA
- Tacoma, WA
- Vancouver, BC
- Washington, DC
- Wilmington, DE
Bolt Bus vs. Alternatives
There are a few different bus services like Bolt Bus that offer trips between various cities. A few examples are Greyhound, Megabus, and Peter Pan bus are some top options. Overall, these are all pretty similar with small differences. As you might discover from Megabus reviews, they use double-decker buses, which many people believe are more cramped than BoltBus. Wifi is free for all of them, but it can be spotty depending on how many people are on the bus and where you’re traveling.
One downfall listed in many Bolt Bus reviews is the lack of cities. However, Megabus and Greyhound offer service to more cities than BoltBus (including Las Vegas, San Francisco, other cities in California, and many others). If you don’t see your preferred city on BoltBus, check other options! They often have great deals on tickets as well.
FAQ – Bolt Bus Review
Yes, you can consume food and beverages on any BoltBus.
BoltBus doesn’t make stops on trips that are less than four hours. However, there will typically be one 10-minute stop on trips over three hours for people to get out and stretch their legs.
Yes, every bus should come with free wifi. However, they do state that amenities will occasionally be unavailable if they need to use a substitute bus. This is a fairly rare occurrence. In addition, many Bolt Bus reviews state the free wi fi didn’t work or was spotty.
Yes, buses typically have bathrooms (without sinks). They probably won’t be the nicest or cleanest bathroom you’ve used, but it’s a great option just in case.
Yes, Seattle is one of the top cities that Bolt Bus services. You can travel to Vancouver, BC or a number of other cities in Oregon and Washington.
Although their tickets are non-refundable, you can ride standby on a same-day (later or earlier) bus that from your ticket origin to your ticket destination. Most of their buses aren’t full, so you still have a good chance of getting a ride.
Although we’re sure drivers would appreciate tips, it’s not common to tip bus drivers.
To sum up these Bolt Bus reviews, we’ve found that it’s a cheap and convenient option to travel between cities. The bus we got was comfortable with plenty of legroom and working outlets. Wifi was a little spotty, but we’re not complaining – it was only around $30 for a round-trip bus ticket. If you’re looking for airport transportation shuttles, however, Bolt Bus isn’t a great choice unless you need to travel 1+ hours to a different city for your flight. Check out Shuttlefare for a variety of inexpensive airport shuttle options!