China's bus lines are dream-budget travelers

Guide to the Chinese Bus

The word is out – the cheapest way to get from one big American city to another is "Chinatown bus". In recent years, this option has become the option of travel for travelers in New York, Washington DC and Boston and recently on the West Coast. Students, backpackers and many other savvy travelers have long loved the low-mile prices offered by these bus companies. Despite the popularity of these bus lines, it is still difficult to find information on bus transportation in Chinatown.
What exactly is "Chinatown Bus"? Read and you'll have an inside footprint about this great budget travel choice.

Chinese bus history began in the late 1990s when a businessman in Chinatown, New York, began operating a daily bus service from Chinatown in New York City to Boston's Chinatown. The service was aimed at Asian immigrants who wanted to buy or visit relatives in both cities and needed cheap and convenient transportation. The service was bare bones – no advertising, customer service or bus station. Customers simply arrived at the bus stop, waited for the bus (or van) and paid the driver on board. For those who want to do without frills, they offered the same service as traditional bus companies at a considerably lower price. The word has long spread and all people started to use the service. This has become particularly popular with students traveling in the budget, or people for what the service was simply more convenient.

Soon more bus companies duplicated this model and began offering services in other cities. You will now find this type of bus transport in Philadelphia, Virginia, Baltimore Washington DC, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco. At this point, the term "Chinese bus" is used freely to describe this type of low / low-floor service. Many, if not most, do not have Chinatown as their main place and do not even deal with the immigrant population at all. These operators are sometimes also referred to as "curbside" operators.

How can tickets be so cheap?

$ 15 Between New York and Boston? $ 25 from Las Vegas to Los Angeles? It seems difficult to understand. Chinese bus companies are able to maintain low prices because they operate fundamentally different from traditional carriers. Especially the service is very basic. There is little in the way of customers or equipment. Most of these operators do not have a formal station, instead they get on buses. Avoid traditional advertising in favor of the oral word. In addition, many operators play a very practical role in the operation – you can not see idle executables at a small, independent bus company. Finally, these operators will make sure they fill their buses. This is why Chinese bus operators usually operate only on heavily traded routes. In fact, some companies run only buses at peak times.

Are they safe?

When these companies first started to work, concerns were raised about safety standards. There is still a controversy in the bus industry as to whether these new adherents follow the same rules as traditional companies. However, a federal government working group on security issues has found that Chinese bus companies have failed to perform better or worse than other types of bus companies (ie all US bus companies have to be subject to the same control standards and have to comply with the same rules. there are probably a number of qualities among Chinese buses Some night flight operators are trying to speed up while others are legitimate entrepreneurs who want to grow and run long-term business

What you should wait for

  • No free time service – the driver can be a ticket collector Not many customer services
  • Convenient buses Since low-cost buses are usually very nice, most buses are comparable to Greyhound and many are actually more luxurious
  • Communication in Drivers are obliged to speak English in sufficient numbers to help passengers in case of emergency, in fact, they often run relatively loosely. At least expect your driver to have an accent.
  • Maybe a delay. Many of these bus lines are on heavily congested roads. When the roads are busy, expect a delay.
  • Afternoon stops. Buses will have a toilet on board, but usually there is a 10 or 15-minute break for 4-hour excursions. Do not forget to go back to the bus, the driver does not count before leaving in the specified time.
  • Full buses. Buses are definitely sold at peak times (weekends and evenings). Book ahead or go early if you want to make room.
  • Plastic bags. The special little spell on Chinatown buses is that each aisle's saddle usually has a plastic bag that is tied to the shoulder. I think it's the best way to keep the buses clean.

How Do I Find Chinatown Bus?

Again, "Chinatown bus" is a term used to describe the type of operator and not a separate bus company. This category includes many bus companies that are not registered. Since most buses in Chinatown do not spend money on advertising, it may be difficult to find out details of timetables and bus stops. Many of the carriers are becoming smart on the internet and relatively few websites with information. Usually by searching the internet, you can get links to the bus to your destination. There are also several directories such as that contain links for most bus companies in Chinatown and the author's employer,, is a centralized reservation site that has schedules and sells tickets online for most of China's bus companies .

A Chinese bus is not for everyone. If you want a US style customer order system, you would probably have to keep traditional carriers. However, if you know what to expect and come prepared with adventure and humor, you should enjoy a trip in the cool. You will also enjoy the money you will save!