I considered taking a Greyhound bus trip a few years back, but a friend warned me, “You wouldn’t like it.” I didn’t ask questions–just drove myself fourteen hours by car–but I remained curious about what it might be like to travel by bus. Naturally, I jumped at the chance when Greyhound offered me an exclusive ride last weekend on their new Lucky Streak line that travels from New York’s Port Authority directly to your choice of eight casinos. The trip also included a round-trip bus ticket for my guest, lovely accommodations overlooking the boardwalk and beach at the Hilton Casino Resort, a wine reception at the top of the Tropicana Casino & Resort, complimentary spa treatments at Bally’s, shopping certificates for any of the Tropicana’s upscale shops and restaurants, and free slot play vouchers for the Hilton and the Tropicana.
Greyhound’s biggest competitor is the automobile, but anyone driving a car to Atlantic City has no idea what they’re missing out on. Forget navigating, pumping gas, and parking; the biggest draw of public transportation for me is not having to pay any attention to where I’m going, so I loved being able to board the bus in NYC and spend the next two hours doing whatever I wanted, even if what I wanted was to nap. With service right to the casinos, you don’t even need to worry about grabbing a cab once you arrive in Atlantic City.
I don’t own a car, but I’m a frequent airplane passenger and find myself more annoyed with airlines every time I fly. Even before we left Port Authority, I noticed several reasons why I might choose Greyhound over an airline:
+ I didn’t have to arrive at my departure gate hours early just to sit around. There’s no ridiculous security line where you have to remove your shoes, put your laptop in a separate container, and empty your pockets of the dime you didn’t even know was in there. I walked in, walked right up to my gate, and boarded the bus.
+ Once on the bus, I was free to use electronic devices at my leisure. No one told me to turn off my cellphone for takeoff one minute only to inform me that we were actually going to be waiting on the runway for another hour the next.
+ Because there’s no single runway as with planes, buses can leave when they’re supposed to without regard to the schedules of other buses.
+ My luggage was with me through the entire trip. Carry-ons fit beneath the seat and overhead, while bigger bags are stored underneath the coach, so there’s no chance of my suitcase disappearing behind a check-in counter and ending up in Los Angeles when I’m in Boston.
The new fleet of Greyhound buses features free wi-fi and an electrical outlet at the base of the seat in front of you, so it’s easy for the entire trip to slip away as you tweet about how much you’re enjoying the supple leather seats and the smooth ride. The CEO and COO of Greyhound–David Leach and Bill Blankenship, respectively–rode the bus to Atlantic City with us in order to speak with each blogger personally, and I was impressed with their knowledge and passion, especially when it came to the reduced-emission design of their new buses. Truly, now more than ever, taking Greyhound instead of a plane or a car is a great way to lessen your carbon footprint.
The negative aspects to taking a bus are the ones you’ve no doubt heard a million times: it’s slower than other forms of transportation, and the lack of security inspections–while a real pleasure with a group of like-minded bloggers–could be worrisome otherwise.
Fortunately, now’s the perfect time for you to decide for yourself by taking advantage of Greyhound’s Lucky Streak $1 promotion. For a dollar, you can ride round trip between NYC and Atlantic City, and all Lucky Streak schedules have open returns, which means you can stay until your money runs out. Each of the eight casinos Greyhound services are offering a bonus to all Lucky Streak riders, so you’ll be awarded between $25 and $30 to play at the slots. I’m already planning my return.