Port Charlotte, FL, Thruway Bus "station"?

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Austruck, Dec 27, 2018.

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  1. Dec 27, 2018 #1

    Austruck

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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!
     
  2. Dec 27, 2018 #2

    AmtrakBlue

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    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)
     
  3. Dec 27, 2018 #3

    Austruck

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    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?
     
  4. Dec 27, 2018 #4

    the_traveler

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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.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 27, 2018
  5. Dec 27, 2018 #5

    Austruck

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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!
     
  6. Dec 27, 2018 #6

    AmtrakBlue

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    Check the link I provided. I think I saw “arrive 30 mins before departure”
     
  7. Dec 27, 2018 #7

    the_traveler

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    I liked that bus. I’ve taken it from Tampa to Orlando a few times.
     
  8. Dec 27, 2018 #8

    Austruck

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    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  
     
  9. Dec 27, 2018 #9

    the_traveler

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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.
     
  10. Dec 27, 2018 #10

    Austruck

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    Meaning bathroom facilities at the back, or no? (Inquiring middle-aged female minds need to know.)  :D  
     
  11. Dec 27, 2018 #11

    Rail Freak

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    Dave, actually it's the same bus.
     
  12. Dec 27, 2018 #12

    the_traveler

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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.
     
  13. Dec 27, 2018 #13

    Rail Freak

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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!!!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 27, 2018
  14. Dec 27, 2018 #14

    fairviewroad

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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.
     
  15. Dec 28, 2018 #15

    jebr

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    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.
     
  16. Dec 28, 2018 #16

    Austruck

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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.
     
  17. Dec 28, 2018 #17

    the_traveler

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    No problem.

    Unless you have to go thru “Security” at the airport first! :giggle:
     
  18. Dec 28, 2018 #18

    Rail Freak

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    Yes
     
  19. Dec 28, 2018 #19

    railiner

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    Food and beverages are allowed on board Thruway buses...just no alcoholic drinks....
     
  20. Dec 28, 2018 #20

    Austruck

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    Yay! I think I'm all set for my return trip tomorrow morning then! Thanks! I love this group.  :)
     
  21. Dec 28, 2018 #21

    fairviewroad

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    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.
     
  22. Dec 28, 2018 #22

    the_traveler

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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.
     
  23. Jan 8, 2019 #23

    Austruck

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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.jpg
     
  24. Jan 8, 2019 #24

    Chatter163

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    Wow, a table on board the bus. Who knew?
     
  25. Jan 8, 2019 #25

    cpotisch

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

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