How To Get To Reading, PA
February 6, 2014 3:32 PM   Subscribe

I need to attend a wedding in the Reading, PA area this June. I would like to travel there from Boston, MA, without renting a car. Is this reasonably possible?

I do not need a car once I arrive in Reading. I need to be there for dinner Friday night and all day Saturday for said wedding.

Possibilities I would consider, but do not seem like obvious solutions:

* Flight or train to Philadelphia, find transport to Reading from there.

* Travel to Albany, where I could meet up with my parents who will be driving down from the Burlington, VT area (so asking them to pick me up in Boston is rather out of the way AND makes it harder to avoid NYC traffic. Unfortunately, that also puts Philadelphia south of their route.)

* Travel to elsewhere that doesn't require a great detour from the Burlington, VT-Reading, PA drive my parents will be taking.

It's not that I mind driving - it just seems silly to pay for the rental car when I'll be spending the whole weekend with my parents (and their car) anyway.
posted by maryr to Travel & Transportation around Reading, PA (15 answers total)
Beiber runs a bus that connects Reading and Philly, and you could pretty easily take a Megabus from Boston down to Philly. I'm betting that would end up being a pretty darn long trip.

If meeting up with your folks in Albany is doable, I'd probably take a train from Boston out to Albany and hitch a ride with them.
posted by thebigdeadwaltz at 3:46 PM on February 6, 2014

You could take Greyhound from Boston to Burlington, but it takes five-ish hours. Megabus is four hours.

You can also take Greyhound from Philadelphia to Reading, which is a bit over two hours, for what Google Maps says is a bit over an hour drive.

Greyhound to Albany looks like it usually involves a transfer and is 4-ish hours. Amtrak is also an option for Albany, I think.
posted by hoyland at 3:51 PM on February 6, 2014

Looks like Bieber also goes from NYC to Reading, in about 3 hours.
posted by sepviva at 4:27 PM on February 6, 2014

The Lake Shore Limited train will take from noon to 5:35 pm to get you to Albany, but you should be in Pittsfield, MA by 3:36 pm; if your parents take US 7 from Burlington that wouldn't be a huge detour.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 4:55 PM on February 6, 2014

How about flying to Allentown (ABE)? My parents live near Reading and I've flown there before when it was cheaper than Philly. It's a tiny airport, but you could likely get a cab or have someone pick you up there. It's about 30 miles from Reading.
posted by cabingirl at 5:12 PM on February 6, 2014

Yeah, I was going to suggest that you meet up in Pittsfield, MA as well. (I live about a half-hour north of Pittsfield, so it sprang to mind.) It's not a "cute New England town" by any stretch, but there are a few caf├ęs & interesting shops downtown where you or your parents could while away some time if you had to wait. Parking is easy; the transportation center where the trains arrive has a garage below street level.

Note that it's 4.5 hours from Pittsfield to Reading (says Google Maps), so if you went this route you'd be arriving in Reading at 8 PM at the earliest. (Later if your train is delayed; according to this site, over the last five days the train has been 24 minutes late on average.) This might mean that you'd have to travel on Thursday instead of Friday if you need to be there for Friday dinner. Similarly, coming back you'd have to leave Reading around 11:30 AM to safely catch your train back to Boston.
posted by Johnny Assay at 5:19 PM on February 6, 2014

Amtrak runs from NY/Philly to Reading on the Keystone line. It's just over an hour from Philly to Reading. The link includes an updated schedule.
posted by mochapickle at 6:11 PM on February 6, 2014

Amtrak runs from NY/Philly to Reading on the Keystone line.

Amtrak's Keystone Service doesn't get closer than about 30 miles from Reading. It doesn't look like there's been any passenger service to Reading since 1981.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:24 PM on February 6, 2014

Peter Pan bus also runs Boston - Albany with at least some runs with no transfers. They start at 7:25am.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 7:04 PM on February 6, 2014

The cheapest option would be to take a train or bus into NYC then take the Bieber bus from NYC to Reading. I've done both and it's a pretty straightforward, though long, experience.
posted by greenland at 8:58 PM on February 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Fly to ABE and have your parents pick you up there. ABE to Reading is a short, easy drive.
posted by 26.2 at 11:19 PM on February 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think there's a fallacy in your thinking on this one. Renting a car would probably be the cheapest and fastest way to get to Reading. With flying being a close second.

Enterprise and other off-airport rental agencies have weekend deals. Just a cursory check reveals a $45 per day charge, so about $150 for three days. A bit more for gas and insurance.

Greyhound shows a 10 hour transit time and $100 in each direction!

I'd MUCH rather drive and be able to stop when I want, and not have to deal with others.

Another option is USAirways. They have a flight for $231 from Boston to Allentown. Nicer because you don't have to drive it, but about the same time in transit.

If you do the bus, you'll spend about 12 hours in each direction, and frankly THAT's worth a few bucks to me not to do.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:30 AM on February 7, 2014

All of those sound like horrible options. They're all theoretically possible if you couldn't drive, but if you can rent, just do that. Long-distance travel in this region isn't really fun on public transit, unless Amtrak has a direct route. Even then, plan on being 8+ hours late into your schedule. They have late trains all the time.

I'd way rather control over my own schedule rather than be at the mercy of Greyhound and Peter Pan schedules. Load up some music (new and old favorites) and podcasts, pick out a few places you might like to stop along the way, get a phone charger so you can call some friends if you feel like catching up, and enjoy the ride.
posted by barnone at 10:11 AM on February 7, 2014

ABE airport is on the route from Burlington.
posted by czytm at 1:22 PM on February 7, 2014

It's a 5 1/2 hour drive from Boston to Reading. Why would you even consider taking a flight or a bus or a train? It's less than 350 miles.
posted by JohnE at 2:45 PM on February 7, 2014

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