Thruway Buses?

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by rms492, Mar 24, 2009.

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  1. Mar 24, 2009 #1

    rms492

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    rms492

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    Hello, I have been taking Amtrak trains for over 20 years, and can you believe it that I have never been on a Thruway bus.

    This weekend I have to take one, can anyone tell me about the buses (sorry, meant "motorcoach")

    How much luggage can I carry-on?

    Do they have overhead bins?

    I am bringing two carry-on size suitcases.

    Do they have a restroom on board?

    Why do they seem to take so long (schedule-wise) to travel?

    Are the drivers safe?

    Are the drivers Amtrak employees?

    Are they rude drivers?

    Do they expect a tip?

    Are these guaranteed connections? If the bus is late, will the train wait? Vice-versa, if the train is late, will the bus wait?

    Thanks for any and all information!

    :rolleyes:
     
  2. Mar 24, 2009 #2

    Rail Freak

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    I've taken the thruway to/from St Pete to Orlando & from Galesburg,IL to Toledo (CZ runnin 3 1/2 hrs. late). The buses ARE motor coaches, very comfortable. I'll let more experienced Rail Travelers answer the other questions!

    On the Toledo trip the driver pulled into a very busy rest area. Couldn't find a parking spot & ended up going the wrong way where other vehicles were coming off the freeway, :eek: ! What a show that was!!! :lol: :rolleyes: :p , should have tipped the guy! I sat directly behind the driver, he was a good old boy & was a great tour guide!
     
  3. Mar 24, 2009 #3

    TampAGS

    TampAGS

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    I was on one yesterday, due to the Silver Star's track maintenance, from Tampa to Winter Haven. For a bus/motorcoach/whatever, the one I was on was generally pretty nice. The same was true of my previous Thruway travels.

     

    The Thruway service is contracted out by Amtrak to different providers in different regions of the country, so our Thruway experience in Florida may differ widely from how the service is elsewhere. Martz Trailways provides all Thruway services in Florida (with the exception of the DeLand-Daytona Beach service, which is actually just a taxi cab).

     

    The Martz vehicles have generally been very clean and comfortable, though the seats are not as big as Amtrak coach, nor do they provide anywhere close to the amount of leg-room. I think there are overhead bins, though they may not be very large. I can't recall as I only had a backpack which fit in the seat next to me. There are lots of empty seats usually, so room for carry-on baggage is not a problem. Plus there is ample room in the luggage holds for checked bags, as well as any larger carry-ons which may be too cumbersome to bring aboard. IF you have checked bags, I would definitely recommend you make certain that the bags make it both on your particular bus, and then to any connecting train. The ONE time I checked a bag for a Thruway journey, the bag got left at the station and they had to send it on the train later in the day then deliver the bag to me by Thruway taxi (from Deland to Daytona on Christmas Eve, no less). It was no extra expense to me, but it seemed no less ridiculous and unfortunate that due to a dim-witted agent's mistake, Amtrak had to hire a cabbie to make a 40-minute trip to bring me my checked luggage.

     

    The schedules are padded to allow ample time in anticipation of any traffic delays, and they will usually allow ample time during any station stops en route. The drivers are Martz employees, as far as I know. This, again, may differ from the provider in your locale. I have never noticed tipping of the drivers on the trips I have taken.
     
  4. Mar 24, 2009 #4

    amtrakwolverine

    amtrakwolverine

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    the last time i was on a thruway bus was from flagstaff to phoenix AZ and it was a greyhound bus.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 24, 2009
  5. Mar 24, 2009 #5

    jackal

    jackal

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    As TampAGS indicated, the Thruway services are different in different regions. Where are you going to be taking the bus?

    I've only ridden Thruway services in California, where (as far as I know) the buses are Amtrak- (or perhaps Amtrak California-) owned and operated, and the drivers are Amtrak (or Amtrak California) employees. The buses are relatively comfortable motorcoaches (probably similar to the ones TampAGS described)--seats are narrower and legroom is less than on a train, but it's not uncomfortable (unless you're well over 6' or have extremely long legs).

    In other parts of the country, things aren't so nice--as KISS_ALIVE mentioned, sometimes Amtrak just gives you a ticket to ride on Greyhound (and many have posted horror stories about Greyhound buses being full and them being left stranded to wait until the next bus).
     
  6. Mar 25, 2009 #6

    sechs

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    Actually, a number of buses in California are not run by Amtrak California, such as Yosemite (run by YARTS), Monterrey (run by MST), and Santa Cruz (run by Santa Cruz Metro).

    Nationally, most thruways are run by commercial intercity bus services. Sometimes this is done under specific contract, but often Amtrak is simply adding passengers to an existing route.
     
  7. Mar 25, 2009 #7

    tp49

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    I don't know about ownership of the busses themselves but in Emeryville and in Sacramento the operators are contract employees and work for a bus company (Compass Transportation) that contracts their services to CalTrans. In retrospect I think Compass owns the busses as well but they're painted in Amtrak California colors.
     
  8. Mar 25, 2009 #8

    p&sr

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    Other busses are not painted in Amtrak California colors, but belong to one or another charter company. Even on the same route, some busses may say "Amtrak", others not. Inside, though, they all seem pretty comparable.
     
  9. Mar 25, 2009 #9

    George Harris

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    George Harris

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    Having just deposited someone at the Ferry Building stop yesterday morning, which stop by the way is about one block south of the Ferry Building clock tower, the bus to Emeryville was not painted in Amtrak Calif colors, but was white with Compass Transportation in large letters on the side.
     

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