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Austruck

Port Charlotte, FL, Thruway Bus "station"?

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Hi, guys! I took the Pennsylvanian and then the Meteor down south to Orlando, then a bus to Tampa for the holidays. But I return by Thruway bus first from Port Charlotte to Orlando -- NOT where I got off in Tampa -- and then north on the Meteor again, then the Pennsylvanian.

The pictures of this pickup spot in Port Charlotte on Google Maps looks like it's just outside a Dunkin' Donuts or something. Is there an actual station here for me to wait on Saturday morning? The bus leaves around 7:40 a.m. and I'd really like to know what I'm getting into at this small city's pickup location for the Thruway bus.

If we have to take a drive out there with my MIL's car sometime in the next few days to check it out in person, we will. But I thought perhaps someone here might know something that would help us out. 

Thanks!

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29 minutes ago, AmtrakBlue said:

Address: Shell Gas Station/Dunkin Donuts, 900 Kings Hwy, Port Charlotte, FL 33980

https://www.amtrak.com/stations/pch

Port Charlotte, Florida

Shell gas station
900 Kings Highway
Port Charlotte, FL 33980-4248
Bus Stop - Curbside Bus Stop only (no shelter)

Thanks. That last line was the crucial part. I'm going to find out if that Dunkin' Donuts is open and then I could at least grab some coffee and perhaps sit inside. I assume that, like the Thruway Bus from Orlando to Tampa, they'll know I'm getting on here. Yes?

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Many of the smaller stops are either street side or the parking lots of.businesses.

Examples are Gainesville, FL is just streetside. King City, CA is the parking lot of McDonalds. In fact, all but 1 stop in San Francisco are streetside.

Yes, if you have a reservation they know. I was on an overnight Thruway from SBA to EMY that picked up somebody streetside at 4 am.

Edited by the_traveler

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Last question (probably)! 

How early should one arrive for a streetside loading like this? At other, regular stations, I tend to arrive about an hour ahead of time (if only because I hate dashing right onto a bus, plane, or train as soon as I show up). 

Would I need a full hour in advance? I would assume I might not, but figured I'd ask while I have a few people's attention here.  :) 

BTW, I was surprised at how nice the Thruway  bus was from Orlando to Tampa last week. Very comfy ride, for a bus!

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13 hours ago, the_traveler said:

I liked that bus. I’ve taken it from Tampa to Orlando a few times.

I took it from Orlando to Tampa on the 15th. But I'm headed back from Port Charlotte, so I'll be on the bus a few hours longer this time. It was comfy, though! 

I hadn't noticed on the shorter Orlando/Tampa trip whether there is a bathroom at the back of the bus or not. With a five-hour trip, I kinda hope so! :D 

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If I recall, the bus coming up from the South changes to a different bus at Tampa for the trip to Orlando. But it’s the same type of bus.

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59 minutes ago, the_traveler said:

If I recall, the bus coming up from the South changes to a different bus at Tampa for the trip to Orlando. But it’s the same type of bus.

Meaning bathroom facilities at the back, or no? (Inquiring middle-aged female minds need to know.)  :D 

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1 hour ago, the_traveler said:

If I recall, the bus coming up from the South changes to a different bus at Tampa for the trip to Orlando. But it’s the same type of bus.

Dave, actually it's the same bus.

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Every time I’ve taken it, I boarded at Tampa Union Station. There was the bus I boarded and we have had to wait for the bus from the south to arrive. That bus pulled in ahead of our bus, the passengers and baggage was transferred to our bus, and then we could depart for Orlando.

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Maybe I'm having A Senior Moment,Again!:hi:My Home Station is St pete/ Clearwater, the stop just before Tampa on the way to Orlando to catch the Meteor!

Either way the buses are nice,big,comfy,with WiFi & restroom!!!

Edited by Rail Freak

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16 hours ago, AmtrakBlue said:

Check the link I provided. I think I saw “arrive 30 mins before departure”

Of course, the bus driver has no way of knowing how far in advance you've arrived at the curbside stop. But in some cases, the driver may decide to leave early if all ticketed passengers are on board and there is some sort of traffic problem lurking up ahead...leaving a few minutes early may keep the bus on-time further down the line. This should be the exception rather than the rule, however.

But assuming the bus has left previous stops on time, or close to on time, there is a hypothetical limit to how early the bus will show up. If you are comfortable with your knowledge of the location, there's really no reason to show up more than 15 minutes in advance, but allowing 30 minutes is probably a good rule of thumb. Time to get coffee, use the facilities, etc.

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Of course, the bus driver has no way of knowing how far in advance you've arrived at the curbside stop. But in some cases, the driver may decide to leave early if all ticketed passengers are on board and there is some sort of traffic problem lurking up ahead...leaving a few minutes early may keep the bus on-time further down the line. This should be the exception rather than the rule, however.

But assuming the bus has left previous stops on time, or close to on time, there is a hypothetical limit to how early the bus will show up. If you are comfortable with your knowledge of the location, there's really no reason to show up more than 15 minutes in advance, but allowing 30 minutes is probably a good rule of thumb. Time to get coffee, use the facilities, etc.

I would be extremely surprised if a bus left early, even if all ticketed passengers were on board. Perhaps if there's no option for walk-on ticketing, it's possible, but most ground transportation companies I'm aware of won't leave early just in case there's a last minute walk on passenger.

 

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Can't seem to find on the Amtrak site specific info on this: May I bring coffee and a breakfast sandwich onto a Thruway bus? It picks me up right at a Dunkin' Donuts at 7:40 AM and it'd be nice to just grab a breakfast sandwich and coffee before boarding, without having to worry about gulping it all down before getting on the bus.

 

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26 minutes ago, Austruck said:

Can't seem to find on the Amtrak site specific info on this: May I bring coffee and a breakfast sandwich onto a Thruway bus? It picks me up right at a Dunkin' Donuts at 7:40 AM and it'd be nice to just grab a breakfast sandwich and coffee before boarding, without having to worry about gulping it all down before getting on the bus.

 

Yes

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Yay! I think I'm all set for my return trip tomorrow morning then! Thanks! I love this group.  :)

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17 hours ago, jebr said:

I would be extremely surprised if a bus left early, even if all ticketed passengers were on board. Perhaps if there's no option for walk-on ticketing, it's possible, but most ground transportation companies I'm aware of won't leave early just in case there's a last minute walk on passenger.

 

I hear you, but I think overall bus companies don't follow the same "code" as railroads do when it comes to adhering to timetables. No need to worry about hitting a slot correctly in order to pass the bus coming in the other direction, for instance.

Given that the bus in this case is all-reserved and that there is no station agent from which to purchase a ticket, you'd have to be literally standing at the door of the bus making a ticket purchase with phone in hand in order to be a walk on passenger.

That said, Port Charlotte is the second stop on a nearly 300-mile bus route, so I doubt a driver would leave early, as there is probably plenty of padding built into the schedule further up the line. The situation I was thinking of would be the penultimate stop on a bus headed inbound into a large city, where traffic congestion may slow an inbound bus to the point of someone missing a connection to the train. In that case, the driver may do a "load and go." In this case, you're right that it's unlikely they would leave early. Which really makes the "arrive 30-minutes in advance" suggestion kind of silly.

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Remember that this bus route is technically Amtrak, not someone like Greyhound

I agree with you on the “30 minutes in advance”. Likewise the “Arrive to the station 60-90 minutes prior to yout train’s departure” doesn’t make sense for Mystic, CT, Deming, NM or Malta, MT.

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Found the stop just fine. There was a large sign on the side of the convenience store/Dunkin Donuts that went with the gas station in question. It was also a Greyhound stop. The bus showed up exactly on time, and my arrival 30 minutes in advance gave me time to grab a coffee and breakfast sandwich, which I ate on the bus, sitting at one of the two tables on board.

20181229_074621.thumb.jpg.6ca9a76ffd63de1911ba50966b9f41e2.jpg

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Found the stop just fine. There was a large sign on the side of the convenience store/Dunkin Donuts that went with the gas station in question. It was also a Greyhound stop. The bus showed up exactly on time, and my arrival 30 minutes in advance gave me time to grab a coffee and breakfast sandwich, which I ate on the bus, sitting at one of the two tables on board.
20181229_074621.thumb.jpg.6ca9a76ffd63de1911ba50966b9f41e2.jpg

Wow, a table on board the bus. Who knew?

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6 minutes ago, Chatter163 said:


Wow, a table on board the bus. Who knew?

Megabus actually has tables on the lower level of many busses. It's really not all that rare.

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