Last weekend I went up to Seattle and then on to Port Angeles for a cousins weekend: lots of gabbing and giggling and way too much eating! I was super excited to go hang out with my cousins who I do not see nearly enough, but I was not very excited about driving up to Seattle. I was thinking about riding the train up, but then I remembered someone had mentioned the Bolt Bus when I was up at a conference in Seattle, so I thought I’d check it out. Turned out Bolt was both cheaper and faster than the train!
The fares on Bolt are extremely reasonable. I paid $17.00 to go up to Seattle and $21.00 to come home. The fare is based on availability, so the better planner you are, the cheaper you can go. They typically have their trips posted 4-6 weeks in advance. And if you’re really lucky, you might get one of those $1.00 fares they sometimes have! You can also join the Bolt Rewards program and get rewards for traveling: every 8th paid ticket earns you a free one. You also get in the A group for all tickets — board the bus and choose your seat first! I have also heard that if you purchase multiple tickets you get more of a discount. So if three friends are going up, for example, one person should buy all three tickets. That’s assuming your friends will either pay you back or buy your drinks at your destination, of course!
The buses I traveled on were both very clean, had great (free!) wi-fi connections, had outlets for each seat (except the front seats), and had working (and not smelly) restrooms. The seats were comfy with armrests and even reclined. The drivers were super courteous and friendly. There was plenty of room for everyone’s luggage, including bicycles (no extra charge!). They both left on time (well, the one on the way up to Seattle was actually pulling out on time when some yahoo came running up to the bus — the driver was nicer than I probably would have been and stopped to let him on!) and arrived early, both in just under three hours. Between Portland and Seattle, the bus doesn’t make any stops, so it’s fast. Bolt goes from Seattle to Bellingham and on to Vancouver, BC as well. Our driver said that in the fall they’re adding Portland to Eugene and possibly Portland to San Francisco, too.
There are Bolt buses on both the east and west coasts, and based on my experience, I am giving the Bolt bus two thumbs up! Our friends who’ve ridden Bolt buses on the east coast thought they were great as well. If you’re looking for a budget way to travel, see if there’s a Bolt bus running in your area!
What’s your favorite mode of budget transportation?
Enjoy your week or your weekend!
I’ve never heard of this–but now I want to try it. I’m from Seattle and I have to say: I’m so sick of pounding up I-5 in my car. And the train isn’t cheap. Nice to know there’s another alternative to try.
You will love it. So much better than driving!
Erin, nice post! Hey, do you know what the departure times are out of PDX…like every three hours starting at 6am or something? Was the bus hanging out in Seattle for a while before heading north or is it a pretty quick turn-around?
Thanks for the info–I’m intrigued!
Times out of Portland are something I should have included! 6:30AM, 8:30AM, 12:30PM, 2:30PM, 6:30PM. The bus didn’t seem to hang out too long, but I wasn’t paying very good attention on that.
EFB, you’re the best blogger ever! NO bias here!! Seriously, I love the casualness of your writing, i.e. the non-smelly bathrooms and late yahoo. YOU ROCK CUZ!!!
Thanks, Cousin. It’s good to have unbiased fans 😉
Karen — I think she’s the best, too. 😉
Hey, just signed up for Bolt Rewards, and yes, both legs switched from B to A boarding group, AND the price dropped from $30 PDX to Vancouver, BC & $24 return per person (so, $108 for two) to $98 round trip for two. Looking at early July departure on a Sat and return a week later on a Sun. Just thought I’d share.
Nice, I wish I would have known about the Bolt Rewards myself before I went, but I’m glad you took advantage of it. Will be interested to hear about the journey up to BC. I love that city. Have a great time.