Transit Adventures

An Evening Fung Wah Ride Back from Boston, Just 22 minutes slower!

I then have to decide how I’m getting back. I have two options, the Cheapest presently all rail option, the Commuter Rail ‘Local’: MBTA Commuter Rail to Providence ($10) to a quick Regional jaunt ($21 current fare) to Shore Line East ($8.50) to Metro-North ($11.50) to Fordham: $51, $2 more than the Amtrak discount (14 day advance purchase) BOS-NYP $49 fare. The other is the Chinatown Buses Fung Wah or Lucky Star, both with $15 walk up fares (because December 19 is a busy travel day there no cheeper tickets avalible on MegaBus or BoltBus). These run hourly I go up to the bus station and buy my $15 Fung Wah ticket that is bilingual Maderin (I assume)/English valid for 7 days. Departures are first come first serve and run hourly.

I could have hopped on a bus right then at 5:00pm but want to check out the ClubAcela and stretch my legs. My first stop is the ClubAcela, its on what was once a mezzanine and has a nice view of the separate ticketing area below plus an ornate ceiling. I ring the doorbell to get buzzed in. The agent’s slightly odd and on her cell phone, clearly a personal call. I flash my ticket, which she enters into the computer to confirm it isn’t a fake, and explain I’m waiting for a bus when I’m asked which train I’m waiting for. I grab some pretzels and a cinnamon roll (that and some other disgusting pastry plus pretzels is the only real food) and also some tastes not fresh decaf coffee. The lounge is nearly empty with maybe two other people. There is less solitude than I like from the TV blaring (and old CRT), plus some music faintly playing from the employing manning the entrance. I find a New York Times to read as I eat my slightly disgusting but filling snack that will keep me full all the way home. I cosy up at a chair overlooking the ticketing area of the main concourse. Although the lounge is nearly empty I don’t feel any solitude from a radio and TV softly playing with unwelcome noise.

After 20 minutes its time for a walk from all my sitting on trains and in the lounge. Leaving the station I find a bunch of LIRR timetables randomly at the end of the rack on the edge of an information booth. I go out on the dark but busy streets of Boston and walk all the way to State Street and Boston Common and back, I’ve forgotten just how small Boston is. I return to South Station at 6:35 for my 7:00pm bus.I check the departure monitors that list the departures of all buses in the terminal (and even arrivals) and find my gate where another LED sign lists my bus (most Greyhound terminals just use paper signs, this would be so useful at the Port Authority)
I immediately pass a long line of people waiting to board MegaBus to New York City, at the Fung Wah gate there is an entry area to a waiting area with about 10 seats. There about 4 people waiting. I sit and read about
At 6:49 two Chinese men in red coats that say Fung Wah on the back, one sitting right next to me and didn’t even notice he was an employee stand up and one goes out the door. We now form a relatively short line. I’m at the front, at about 6:55 we all board and I hand over my paper date stamped ticket, I grab a seat in the second row on the right, my favorite seat, not the first row because then I feel I’m taking away a seat from the disabled.

The bus is perfectly fine, the usual minimal legroom but footrests and cloth seats. One unique feature are redbags lining the asile for trash, a unique Fung Wah touch. Soon the bus fills up with I believe a seat in every row taken with one doubling-up in the first row. One of the red coat agents board, counts and soon a younger man dressed in blue (although I don’t notice any Fung Wah markings) boards with headphones on and sits down in the driver seat, it must be the driver.
At 7:01 we join the line of buses onto the mass Pike. Much more efficient than dealing with MegaBuses boarding numbers.
I put my headphones in to my iPhone and zone out. I have trouble reading on buses, plus even with the reading lights on, the bus is quite dark. Cell phones are lond with the lady in front of me on her cell phone. Kept hearing the driver on his phone too!

The ride is uneventful without traffic as we head down the Mass Pike and get on I-84. Here we reach a traffic jam at roughly the state line. Two lanes are closed because of construction but the driver is quite aggressive. He borderline (via and on ramps and then off ramp) drives in the shoulder until leaving the standstill of traffic and cutting through truck parking lot (that was had quite a few long distance truckers clearly sleeping) We leave the rest area, quickly merge into the one open left lane, so one truck can fix something on an overpass and continue zooming through the night. The odd detour wasn’t scary, I never felt like my live was in danger just interesting. Fung Wah drivers are definitely more aggressive than most bus companies.
In Harford we merge onto I-91 and are going through New Haven at 9:20 and head onto I-95, the Connecticut Turnpike.

Soon the lights have turned on and we get off the highway to go to the Milford Service Plaza arriving 9:39. The driver screams “10 minutes, 10 minutes” doesn’t say anything over a PA system (does the bus have one). I go inside and find a water frountain, I’m still full my Acela riders, the food options are McDonalds or Ducken Donuts. I can’t believe the buses one rest stop is this close to New York.

This driver does count us and we leave at 9:53. Soon the bus starts receiving that ‘wonderful’ stinking aroma of McDonalds.
10:10 — Pass the Stamford train station which has neat nighttime neon lights.
10:17 — Enter new York state
10:30 — Cross the hutchinson river into the Bronx
10:41 — Over the bronx portion of the Triborough in view of the Hell Gate bridge. We go into Queens and will loop over the Manhattan Bridge via the BQE to get to Fung Wah’s New York Stop at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge.
We get off the BQE, go through the first 4 traffic lights of the trip and then over the lower level of the Manhattan Bridge.

At 10:58, three hours and 58 minutes after leaving Boston, including the rest stop, we get off the Brooklyn Bridge and arrive, the driver screaming “Last Stop, Last Stop.” We are in front of a closed storefront with a Fung Wah awning.
I walk over to the subway at Grand Street and a work train comes by with a crane car, ah the smell of diesel.
At 11:16 finally the D train shows up.
The train reaches Herald square at 11:20 I switch to the A (the uptown running express also along CPW because of track work) and get home at exactly midnight, five hours after leaving Boston.