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Your opinion on Chinatown buses?

Montevideo, Uruguay
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Your opinion on Chinatown buses?

Hi there! We are 5 adults going to NYC from Sept 5-15 and then DC from Sept 15-18.

Amtrak tickets from NYC to DC are quite expensive and trains with checked baggage have very inconvenient schedules (3am and 7am). For this reason, we have decided to get there by bus.

Someone I know who lived in NYC has recommended we try the Chinatown bus which costs $20 and has frequent departures. However, I would really like to know what your opinion is on this.

Also, I have some doubts as to whether they admit large suitcases and if we should buy our tickets online or not.

Thanks!

Cristina

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Portland, Maine
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1. Re: Your opinion on Chinatown buses?

You can take bags on all Amtrak trains. You don't need checked baggage service. There's ample storage space in each car. No checked baggage just means you carry on your bags.

Actually, if you wish, you can check the bags and they'll go on a different train, but there's really no reason to do that.

Chinatown buses have a poor reputation for safety.

You can check Amtrak fares on one screen for any city pair at:

http://biketrain.net/amsnag/amSnag.php

Use NYP as the code for New York and WAS as the code for Washington. Looking at fares for Sept. 15th I still see a few trains with the low fare, which is $49.00. You'd need to book these right away since they're sure to increase.

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NYC/Israel
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2. Re: Your opinion on Chinatown buses?

First of all, ALL Amtrack trains allow luggage. They just all don't have checked luggage. So there is no problem traveling via Amtrack with your luggage.

I don't recommend Chinatown buses. They mostly have an horrendous safety record and over the years there have been some very very bad traffic accidents involving them. There have also been questions ( governmental, not here) as to the training and proper licensing of some of the drivers.

BTW I just looked at Amtrack reservations. You can get tickets for 5 adults for $49 a ticket. That is not that much! If anyone in your party is over 62 or under 12, it will be even less. Another advantage of Amtrack is that it is not stuck in traffic jams.

edited to add: I was researching while Auden posted BUT we both saw the same thing and are saying the same thing!

Edited: 10 August 2014, 19:37
Astoria, New York
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3. Re: Your opinion on Chinatown buses?

For Amtrak you have a choice of the Northeast Regional or the (more expensive, slightly faster) Acela.

When looking at fares be sure to search by your dates, prices go up closer to travel dates. Make your purchase soon to get the best price.

http://www.amtrak.com/home

if you have a lot of luggage a Red Cap (porter) can assist you and get you down to the train platform to get your stuff stowed. (Be sure to tip them.)

Edited: 10 August 2014, 19:52
Montevideo, Uruguay
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4. Re: Your opinion on Chinatown buses?

Oh, I didn't know that. Thing is some of us will be traveling with one full size suitcase each and others (my mother for sure) will be traveling with 2. Is the storage space safe enough? Are you sure there are no baggage size restrictions or anything?

Thank you so much for your help!

Flushing, New York
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5. Re: Your opinion on Chinatown buses?

There are also Megabus and Boltbus that are less expensive than Amtrak, but do not have the bad reputations as those bus lines that leave from Chinatown.

http://us.megabus.com/default.aspx

https://www.boltbus.com/

Edited: 10 August 2014, 20:02
Whitestone, New York
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6. Re: Your opinion on Chinatown buses?

The official Amtrak website says this:

"Each passenger can have a total of 2 carry-on bags, each not to exceed 50 lbs. (23 kg), 28 x 22 x 14 inches (700 x 550 x 350 millimeters)." While those dimensions are already pretty big, no one measures or weighs the bags as you bring them on board, and unless the bags are so extremely big that they attract attention, no one will say anything -- so if you can carry your bags yourself, there won't be any problem. Also be aware that the limit only refers to luggage; purses, laptop computers, and small bags under 12 inches by 12 inches do not count toward the total.

There is an empty space at the end of the car where you can store luggage, and in addition there is a very large luggage rack above the seats which is much bigger than the bins you find on planes, and where all but the very largest bags will be able to fit..

New York City, New...
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7. Re: Your opinion on Chinatown buses?

Agree with what's been said but if you prefer a bus, there are options otherthan Chinatown buses that are cheaper than Amtrak and safer than Chinatown buses.

washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/…

Btw, if you use Amtrak, pay for a RedCap (porter) who will help you onto the train with your luggage and should be able to get you seats together since they're not reserved.

Portland, Maine
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8. Re: Your opinion on Chinatown buses?

Just to clarify about "reserved seats" on Amtrak trains. Timetables shown trains as "all-reserved." This just means that they don't sell more tickets than there are seats. Individual seats are not reserved, which is why nywhiz' advice about getting a Red Cap for a group of your size makes sense.

I'd have no concerns about space or safety of your luggage on Amtrak. I would have a concern about luggage space availability on the buses if you've got a lot.

Montevideo, Uruguay
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9. Re: Your opinion on Chinatown buses?

I think we'll go by train then.

Thank you guys for all your help! This forum is awesome.

10. Re: Your opinion on Chinatown buses?

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