What is the optimal, swiftest, and most affordable method of transportation between Boston and New York?
There are various options to choose from: Go Buses, Megabus, Bolt Bus, Greyhound, and “Chinatown” buses provide bus services. Amtrak offers the express Acela and slightly slower Northeast Regional trains. Additionally, there are cheap flights, such as the Delta shuttle, provided by other airlines.
However, it is important to note that when considering door-to-door travel time, there may not be a significant difference depending on your specific circumstances.
Nonetheless, there might be notable variations in terms of cost, convenience, and comfort.
So, which option is the best? Here is a comprehensive overview of the different choices available in the highly competitive transportation corridor between Boston and NYC. We will discuss a variety of buses, Amtrak’s Northeast Regional trains, Acela, cheap shuttle flights, and more. We will outline the pros and cons of each to help you determine the best option for your needs.
Bus Options & Comparisons for Boston to New York Travel
The intense competition among bus companies operating between Boston and New York offers many affordable options. Go Buses, with services from Cambridge and Newton, provides additional choices.
For travel from NYC to Boston, bus fares almost always cost significantly less, often much less, compared to Amtrak Acela train tickets or even the cheapest flights to New York. These bus services also provide free WiFi and luxury extras.
While all five reviewed bus options on this page offer transportation between Boston and New York, the amenities provided vary from comfortable to no-frills. Unfortunately, the luxury bus service from Boston to New York is no longer available, but you can still find plenty of choices with cheap-to-affordable tickets.
Most buses have on-board restrooms. The travel time mentioned on this page is based on the estimates provided by the bus companies. However, in reality, traffic conditions may add an additional 1 to 1.5 hours each way. It is typically recommended to arrive at your bus departure point around 30 minutes before boarding.
Please note that the fares mentioned are for one-way tickets, and in some cases, round trip tickets may cost less.
Go Buses – Travel between Cambridge, Newton, and NYC near Penn Station
Facilities: Go Buses, a subsidiary of Academy Bus, offers an array of amenities on its 55-passenger coaches. Passengers can enjoy complimentary WiFi, power outlets, free bottled water, and comfortable high-back seats. This service is particularly advantageous for students attending prestigious educational institutions such as Harvard, MIT, and Boston College in Cambridge and Newton. Additionally, travelers are allowed a generous baggage allowance of 50 pounds.
Arrival/Departure Points: Departures from Cambridge are conveniently located at the Alewife MBTA station, the final stop on the T’s Red Line. For Newton, the Riverside MBTA station at 335 Grove Street serves as the endpoint for the subway’s Green Line D branch. In New York City, buses arrive and depart from 9th Avenue and 30th Street, near Penn Station. Generally, there are four departures in each direction on a daily basis.
Parking at Boston T Stations: Commuters have the option to park their vehicles for a duration of up to 7 nights at both the Alewife and Riverside MBTA stations.
Bicycles & Instruments on Board: Passengers are welcome to bring their bicycles and musical instruments on board the buses.
Travel Time from Cambridge to NYC: The journey from Cambridge to New York City typically takes approximately 4 hours and 40 minutes.
Average One-Way Fare: The usual one-way fare ranges from $24 to $33, but occasionally special promotions offer fares as low as $5.
Other Destinations from New York: In addition to Cambridge and Newton, Go Buses also provides service to Providence, Hartford, New Haven, Providence, Washington DC, and Northern Virginia.
Booking Tickets: www.gobuses.com.
Greyhound Express – Travel from Boston’s South Station to New York’s Port Authority
Facilities: Greyhound offers complimentary WiFi, power outlets, and select buses feature comfortable leather seats. All seats are either window or aisle, eliminating the need for middle seats. Additionally, there are overhead compartments for storing luggage.
Arrival/Departure: Depart from Boston’s South Station located at 700 Atlantic Ave. For inquiries and bookings, contact 1-800-231-2222. Arrive at New York Port Authority situated at 625 8th Ave. For further assistance, call 1-800-231-2222.
Travel Duration to NYC: Estimated travel time ranges from 4.5 to 6+ hours.
Typical One-Way Online Fare: When booking online, expect fares between $12 and $38.
Ticket Reservations: To purchase tickets, visit www.greyhound.com.
Additional Grayhound Destinations: Greyhound serves over 2,400 cities across the United States, Mexico, and Canada.
Bolt Bus – Journey from Boston’s South Station to NYC’s Penn Station
Facilities: Bolt Bus offers complimentary WiFi and power outlets on select buses. Passengers can also enjoy the convenience of reserved seating, and there are occasional fares as low as $1.
Stations: Depart from Boston’s South Station and arrive near NYC’s Penn Station. Please refer to the website for precise station details. There is also a curbside stop located on 1st Avenue, between E. 38th and E. 39th streets, near the United Nations.
Travel Duration to NYC: The estimated travel time is approximately 4 hours and 15 minutes.
Typical One-Way Fare: One-way fares usually range from approximately $13 to $36. Please note that ticket costs tend to increase as the departure date approaches.
Guaranteed Seating: If you book your ticket online and arrive at the boarding point at least 15 minutes prior to departure, you are guaranteed a seat.
Other Cities in the Boston – Washington DC Corridor: Along the Boston – Washington DC route, Bolt Bus also serves Philadelphia, Newark, Baltimore, Cherry Hill, New Haven, Wilmington, and Washington DC.
Ticket Reservations: Online ticket purchases can be made up to 2 hours before departure.]
Loyalty Program: Bolt Bus offers a loyalty program where you can earn a complimentary one-way trip after completing 8 full-fare trips valued at greater than $1.
Megabus Service from Boston’s South Station to New York
Amenities: Megabus offers free WiFi, individual power outlets on some buses, reclining seats, reserved seating, and onboard restrooms. They are known for their low-cost fares.
Stations: Boston – South Station; NYC – departures are about 3 blocks from Penn Station, and arrivals are at the intersection of 7th Avenue and 27th Street (check the website for the exact location).
Travel time to NYC: Approximately 4 hours and 15 minutes.
Typical one-way fare: About $10 to $39, with ticket costs increasing closer to the departure date. Reserving your tickets as early as possible will help you save, and occasionally, $1 tickets are available.
Other service areas from Boston: Burlington, Vermont, and Portland, Maine (via Concord Coach Lines).
Lucky Star Bus – Boston’s South Station to NYC Chinatown
Amenities: Lucky Star Bus provides free WiFi on some buses, but there are no restrooms on board.
Arrival/Departure: Boston – South Station (near Chinatown); New York Chinatown – 145 Canal Street.
Check-in: If you have an e-ticket, you need to check in at the ticket counter 30 minutes prior to departure. In Boston, the ticket counter is next to the newsstand on the 3rd floor of South Station, while in New York, the ticket counter is at 145 Canal Street.
Travel time to NYC: Approximately 4.5 to 5 hours (including a 15-minute fast food/restroom stop).
Typical one-way fare: For non-refundable, non-changeable discount tickets, the fare ranges from $5 to $20. Full fare tickets, which cost more, are also non-refundable but can be changed. Please refer to the website for details.
Other cities from Boston: None.
Book tickets: Visit www.luckstarbus.com.
LimoLiner from Boston to New York – CLOSED
Update: LimoLiner has ceased operations due to financial difficulties. The absence of its spacious leather seats will be missed by commuters traveling between Boston and NYC.
Boston Insider Tip: Reserve Your Bus Seat in Advance!
Boston has a large student population, and they compete with business and leisure travelers for seats on buses between Boston and New York. It is common for all buses to be fully booked, especially around weekends, and obtaining reservations during certain holidays, such as Thanksgiving, can be extremely challenging.
The best tip is to book early and ensure that your seat is confirmed.
Boston – New York by Bus: Pros & Cons
Pros – Why choose the bus:
Cost: It is the most economical option. If you make reservations well in advance, a bus trip between Boston and New York can be as cheap as $5 (or even $1, although these fares are difficult to obtain).
Convenience: With five bus lines offering services to various locations, you have the freedom to choose the option that suits you best. Go Buses, which provide services from Newton and Cambridge, are particularly popular among students at Boston College, Harvard, MIT, Tufts, Wellesley, Brandeis, and other universities located to the west of Boston. In New York City, buses arrive and depart from a range of locations.
Cons – Why not choose the bus:
Speed: On paper, the transit time between the two cities is only slightly longer than traveling by Amtrak’s Northeast Regional train. However, traffic is a significant factor. If you get stuck in heavy congestion, you will likely wish you were on an Amtrak train gliding along the tracks. Is the potential 5-6 hour or longer journey in heavy traffic worth the savings of the lowest possible fare? This is something you will need to consider.
Boston – New York City on Amtrak – Acela & Northeast Regional
Amtrak runs many trains every day between Boston’s South Station and New York’s Penn Station. Both stations are in the middle of their cities, with subway and train links to other parts of each city. Amtrak’s Acela Express and Northeast Regional trains also stop at Back Bay Station in Boston and the I-95/Westwood station near Boston.
Amtrak offers three types of service:
Acela Nonstop: This is the fastest train service between Boston and NYC, with a travel time of 2 hours and 35 minutes. The lowest fare for a 21-day advance booking is approximately $130 one way.
Acela Express: The travel time for this service is 2 hours and 55 minutes. The lowest fare for a 21-day advance booking is around $130 one way.
Northeast Regional: The travel time for this service is 3 hours and 30 minutes. The lowest fare for a 21-day advance booking is approximately $53 one way.
The seats on Amtrak trains are spacious and comfortable. They offer foldout workspaces for laptops, and food and beverages are available for purchase. However, both Penn Station and South Station provide better food options than what you’ll find on board the train, so arriving a few minutes early to grab something before departure is advisable.
Unlike the Boston – New York bus services, Amtrak trains are not affected by heavy traffic on highways. Additionally, trains are less likely to be disrupted by winter weather conditions, which is a consideration in New England, unlike flights or bus transportation. Amtrak provides convenience, comfort, reliability, and a pleasant journey through the New England countryside, making it a top choice.
During certain times of the day, there may be little difference in travel time between regular service and the Acela. Seating on the Acela is slightly more spacious, particularly in first class, where complimentary meals are served at your seat. However, there is not a significant difference in comparison to seating in regular service trains. All Acela seats are either Business Class or First Class.
Amtrak departs and arrives from South Station and Back Bay Station in Boston, with a stop on Route 128 in Westwood. In New York, the train arrives and departs from Penn Station.
Boston – New York by Train: Pros & Cons
Pros – Why choose the train:
Cost: The Regional Express (comparable to Economy seats on flights) is slightly cheaper than flying. If you book 21+ days in advance, the price is not much higher than taking the bus (unless you manage to secure one of the deeply discounted bus fares).
Speed: Faster than traveling by bus. On the Northeast Regional, it is comparable to flying, and on the Acela, it is somewhat faster than flying, taking into account security procedures and time spent on the runway, among other factors.
Convenience: The train stations in Boston and New York are centrally located, unlike the airports in NYC, which are situated outside of Manhattan. If your departure or arrival points are in central locations, the train will be much more convenient.
Comfort: Even standard seats on the Northeast Regional are significantly more comfortable and spacious compared to traveling by bus or plane. If you need to work on your laptop during the trip, you’ll have ample room, as well as access to power outlets and WiFi connectivity (although using your own roaming service for WiFi is recommended for better speed and security). The comfort level is even greater on the Acela, where the baseline seats are in the Business Class. If you require more privacy, you can book a first-class Acela seat.
Cons – Why not choose the train:
Cost: If you are looking for the cheapest transportation between Boston and New York, you can usually save a few dollars by taking the bus, especially if you book your tickets more than three weeks in advance.
Boston – NYC on the Delta Shuttle & Other Cheap Flights
Typically, non-stop flights between Boston and New York cost around $60 to $100+ for a one-way ticket, assuming you make the booking at least three weeks in advance.
While the Delta Shuttle used to offer the most frequent and fastest air transportation between the two cities, JetBlue and United now also provide frequent non-stop services with multiple flights each day. Other airlines, such as Spirit, American, and various carriers, also service this route, although with fewer flights.
The airports in the New York area used by airlines offering the most flights to/from Boston are:
- Delta – JFK, LaGuardia
- JetBlue – JFK
- United – LaGuardia, Newark
The actual flight time in the air ranges from 35 to 45 minutes, with additional time spent on the runway for takeoff and landing, as well as check-in and security procedures. Consequently, the total time between arriving at the airport and departing for your destination averages around 3 to 3.5 hours.
However, here’s the catch: While flying may take approximately the same time or even be slightly faster than the Acela, considering when you arrive at the airport or station and when you leave, any time saved may be consumed by ground transportation time and expenses, especially if your destination is in most areas of Manhattan.
A shared airport shuttle with a fixed rate to Manhattan is usually the cheapest option, particularly for solo travelers, but it might take longer, especially during rush hour. It is important to note that shuttle prices are per person.
Comparatively, a taxi or town car service will likely be faster and may cost less per person if you are traveling with one or more individuals. Taxis are generally cheaper than town cars, except during rush hour. Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are slightly cheaper than taxis but may have surge pricing during heavy traffic.
If you are traveling during rush hour, it is advisable to reserve a fixed-price town car to avoid potentially skyrocketing taxi/Uber/Lyft fares, or consider opting for the fixed-rate shuttle service.
Below are estimates of distance, travel time, and costs (shuttle estimates are for round-trip tickets, while taxi and town car estimates are for one-way only) from each NYC airport to Manhattan:
LaGuardia Airport LGA (Queens) – 8 miles (13 km), 20-35 minutes; airport shuttle costs around $28; taxi (including tolls and tip) costs between $60 and $130; town car costs between $88 and $122.
John F. Kennedy International Airport JFK (also in Queens, but farther from Manhattan than LaGuardia) – 15 miles (25 km), 45-60 minutes; airport shuttle costs around $34; taxi (including tolls and tip) costs between $130 and $138; town car costs between $116 and $132.
Newark Airport EWR (Newark, New Jersey) – 14 miles (20 km), 35-50 minutes; airport shuttle costs around $36; taxi (including tolls and tip) costs between $172 and $238; town car costs between $132 and $180.
Please note: These costs are approximate and provided for comparison purposes only. They are subject to change at any time. Refer to the NYC Insider Guide for details and updates.
The cost of transportation between Boston’s central business sector and Logan International Airport is not too high.
Taking a water taxi to Long Wharf and then walking the remaining three to five minutes to the downtown business center is the quickest way to go from the airport to downtown, taking less than ten minutes. If you choose another option and are able to manage your bags on your own, you can take the subway (Blue Line) from Logan to State or another downtown station.
If you have more luggage than you can manage on your own, you will need to take a taxi, ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft, or a private car service. These options will usually take longer due to traffic and cost more than the water taxi or subway, but they are still cheaper than their counterparts in New York.
Boston – New York by Plane: Pros & Cons
Pros – Why choose to fly between Boston and NYC:
Location: If the airports in NYC (LaGuardia in Queens, JFK on Long Island, and Newark in New Jersey) are closer to your final destination or departure point than Manhattan, flying may save you time and local transit costs.
Speed: Faster than traveling by bus.
Cons – Why not choose to fly:
Cost: Generally speaking, air travel is more expensive than bus passes or Amtrak’s Northeast Regional service. Additionally, if your place of departure or arrival is in Manhattan, local transit expenses can be much higher. In Boston, getting to South Station (the train station) is typically easier and a little less expensive than getting to Logan Airport.
Location: If the NYC airports are not closer to your final destination or departure point than Manhattan, flying will be less convenient.
Convenience & Productivity: Getting to and from the airports in New York can be inconvenient if your departure or destination point is not nearby. Airport security procedures can also be time-consuming, even with expedited services like TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. Seating on planes can be cramped, making it challenging to work on a laptop. Furthermore, tray tables cannot be used during takeoff and landing, limiting your working time.