My Experience Taking A Greyhound From NYC To Plattsburgh

My Experience Taking A Greyhound From NYC To Plattsburgh

Port Authority Bus Terminal : Photo by Brian Kachejian

On December 16, 2023, I boarded a Greyhound Bus out of the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan, New York, for a seven-hour drive to Plattsburgh, New York. This was a ride that stretched, for the most part, the entire eastern shoreline of New York State via the New York Thruway and Northway. Henry Husdon would have been proud. He also had probably a more comfortable trip up the river. Nonetheless, for those looking for a review on what it’s like riding a Greyhound through New York State, fasten your seat belt.

Buying Tickets

I booked my ticket online a few months ahead of time. I’m always worried that seats may sell out. By booking online, I could choose the exact seat location on the bus. This is something that can’t be done when taking the Amtrack train to Plattsburgh. (more on that later). The single seat cost around seventy-five dollars, including one carry-on bag and one stored bag. I thought it was a fair price considering the cost of gas and tolls, which would cost one even more to drive from New York City to Plattsburgh. What jumped out at me while booking the ticket was the opportunity to also book the seat next to me for half price at thirty-seven dollars.

Greyhound calls it “Travel-Neighbor Free.” I immediately took Greyhound up on this offer and would recommend to anyone traveling alone to purchase this extra ticket if your budget allows it. Nothing is worse than having to spend seven hours or more sitting next to somebody who might not be the type of person you want to sit next to for such a long time.

Since I live on Long Island, I had to take the Long Island Railroad, basically the train to the bus. I took the 6:15 and arrived at Penn Station at 7:30. I came out on 8th Avenue and 34th Street and walked about eight blocks up 8th Avenue to the Port Authority Bus Terminal between 41st and 42nd Street on 8th Avenue. I walked into the bus terminal, went to the information booth, and asked where to find the bus. They told me terminal 81 downstairs. I walked a few flights downstairs, found the terminal number, which was just a door with a number on it along a long hallway, and began my wait.

The Port Authority Bus Terminal

I would love to say that this terminal is very clean and modern, but it’s pretty much entirely the opposite. I don’t think this terminal has been updated since the 1960s. I’m not sure about that, but it had that ’60s vibe that I grew up with in Manhattan. There are also many homeless people sleeping in the terminal. It’s pretty dirty, smells, and is not the place I would want any of my kids going on their own to take a bus out of town.

There was a New York City police officer waking up one of the homeless people who got up for a second and then, when the officer walked away, just went back down to sleep. This was about 8:30 in the morning. As I stood by the doorway at Terminal 81, I noticed that down the hallway at Terminal 79, my bus number went up above the door. The information booth had given me the wrong terminal number. Nonetheless, it wasn’t too far of a walk, and I was able to show the bus driver my ticket and get on the bus.

The Bus Seats

As I boarded the bus and found my seat numbers, I breathed a sigh of relief that I had brought the extra ticket because those seats were small. There is not a lot of legroom. Even the bottom of the seat is small. The seats were also very close to each other. This would have been very uncomfortable if I had to sit with another person.  I could see dread on some other passenger’s faces as they sat down and watched the person about to sit down right next to them. It’s pretty apparent why Greyhound allows people to buy the extra seat; they probably have had a lot of complaints over the years. Even if you’re sitting with somebody that you know it’s still going to be an uncomfortable ride because it’s just so tight. Only very skinny marathon runners can be comfortable in such small seats. I’ve eaten too much pizza in my life.

There is no such thing as a window seat on a Greyhound bus because you can’t see out of the windows. At least the one I was on. The windows are lined with a design that forces the passengers to look through skinny lines in between the paint on the windows. It’s actually easier to see out of the windows on the opposite side of the bus the way it’s designed. There are no USB ports on the bus. However, they do have AC outlets. So if you’re going on a long ride make sure that you bring your AC charger with you.

The Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan is very close to the Lincoln Tunnel, so it is a pretty quick escape out of Manhattan, which is a saying a lot. We drove through New Jersey for a while and then eventually made our way back into New York. The ride was comfortable. The bus driver was friendly and drove the bus very well.

The Ride

There were only a few stops along the way. When we arrived in Albany, all passengers were told to get off the bus for about a 25 to 30-minute layover. They had to take the bus away to refuel. We all went inside a small Albany bus terminal with bathrooms and vending machines. Once again, not the cleanest place, but how many bus terminals in the U.S. look like 4-star hotels? I was happy to get off the bus for a while and just walk around. We all got back on the bus after about 30 minutes and headed north. The bus stopped at Saratoga and Glenn Falls before finally reaching my destination of Plattsburgh. However, that was not the last stop for many people on the bus as the final stop would be Montreal.

The Greyhound

The Greyhound I was on stopped at Albany

I took an Amtrak Train from Manhattan to Plattsburgh a few months ago. While Amtrak does not offer seat selections, their seats are much bigger and more comfortable than the bus. There are more stops, but it’s about the same trip length between the bus and the train. The train is just a few dollars more expensive. There is also a food car on the train, and the bathrooms are much bigger and much more comfortable than on the bus. If you have to make a choice, the train wins easily. Nonetheless, if you wind up having to take the bus, it’s not that bad as long as you get that extra seat.

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