Getting to Atlanta on the Chinatown bus
December 20, 2009 7:11 AM   Subscribe

Please tell me about your experience on the Chinatown bus from NYC to the southeast. Should I put my friend on it so she can get home?

I have had a friend visiting me in NYC this weekend whose flight to Atlanta today got canceled. All the flights that the airline can reschedule her for will make her miss her Christmas plans.

So I looked up buses at and found a bus that leaves Chinatown run by Horse Run Tour. I am assuming this is the Chinatown bus, as it's the only bus leaving from Chinatown that I could find.

I have read previous threads about the Chinatown bus but they either seemed like they were from people who hadn't necessarily taken one or by people taking a different route (i.e. possibly run by a different carrier).

For what it's worth, we have already looks at tons of other options, and they are either too expensive or won't put her in Atlanta on the day she needs. Also, this trip says 14 hours to Greyhound's 23, so we figured it would be better.

Could you tell me if this bus is reasonably safe and reliable or any other experiences you have had?
posted by greta simone to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
There are many Chinatown buses (the one I used to take was Fung Wah). I stopped taking Chinatown buses when they became regularly late and overcrowded, and once one burst into flames between Boston and New York.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:37 AM on December 20, 2009

chinatown buses- people take them all of the time, and sometimes have strange stories to tell afterwards. I would personally do it (young female) but during daylight hours especially if unfamiliar with the route. i would do something at night if i knew where i was arriving was a good area (sometimes it isn't) and if i was familiar with the area.
posted by saraindc at 7:39 AM on December 20, 2009

Fung Wah! Heck Yes! I use to take the Chinatown bus between Boston and NYC all the time. Yes, strange things happen - break downs, etc - once, in fact, after waiting for an hour past the ostensible departure time of the Fung Wah, instead of a bus showing up a van showed up - a van which needed to hold a bus load of people. Some people cursed and left - us diehards rode with people and luggage on our laps.

It can be sketchy. They've actually improved it, a I understand it, in recent years because of some legal shit or something (like the chinatown bus now leaves from South Station in Boston - which is close to Chinatown...but, you know).

I say do it! She'll either have an uneventful journey or she'll have some good stories to tell later. It'll be a great adventure.
posted by Lutoslawski at 8:25 AM on December 20, 2009

I went with Double Happiness and have no complaints and no stories interesting enough to post here.
posted by Obscure Reference at 8:49 AM on December 20, 2009

I would peruse safety data for the company.

When I've taken a Chinatown bus from NYC (I don't remember the companies I've used, though), sometimes the drivers drove very fast and perhaps a little recklessly (I don't want to be alarmist with that). I'd be worried about that sort of thing in bad weather. I guess a Greyhound driver might do the same, though.
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:55 AM on December 20, 2009

Go down there, find a bus, talk to the ticket-taker or go into the office, buy ticket.

Get on bus, wait. More people board. Maybe bus drives up to Times Square for
more passengers. Finally, through the tunnel and the trip south begins.

If it's night, or rainy the windows may fog up -- either way, not much to see.

Eventually, Philly, Baltimore, and DC Chinatown, where I get off.

I've done it twice, no problem, and the price is right - $20.

Didn't know any of these bus lines went as far south as Atlanta, however. And if the snow's bad anything like a schedule probably disappears.
posted by Rash at 9:05 AM on December 20, 2009

Um, what about Amtrak? The Crescent line goes from NYC to Atlanta. Unless there are major delays like those that I experienced yesterday coming up from NC (had to stop every so often to manually move the rail switches due to snow), it should take about 16 hours. The train leaves NYC at 2:15pm and arrives in Atlanta at 8am the next morning.
posted by bengarland at 1:44 PM on December 20, 2009

Forget the chinatown buses. Bolt Bus and Megabus are much more reliable and leave from midtown.
posted by micawber at 9:05 PM on December 20, 2009

Response by poster: Bengarland- Amtrak was all booked.

Micawber- Those buses don't go to Atlanta.

Anyway, we were able to schedule a flight out for her today, so didn't need the bus.
posted by greta simone at 1:40 PM on December 21, 2009

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