For bargain-seeking traveler, there is no better deal to be had than the Chinatown bus. Alighting from most major East Coast cities, Chinatown buses are a great no-frills way to get around at bargain basement prices. But why would you choose them over Greyhound? Here's what makes Chinatown buses stand out among their competitors...
For the uninitiated, Chinatown buses are simple charter-style buses (with bathrooms, etc.) that pick up passengers at pre-determined points in many major cities. You can buy tickets ahead of time, or from the bus driver (as long as they aren't sold out.) Seating is typically first-come, first serve. There are many different companies that run Chinatown buses, but the experience is fairly consistent. For ticket prices and reservations for many of these bus companies, hop on over to Gotobus.com.
While Greyhound has many more options when it comes from getting from Point A to Point B, Chinatown buses have them beat on price by a long shot. For example, the Lucky Star bus can get you from Boston to NYC for $15 each way; a Greyhound ticket will run you north of $30.
Newer services, such as BoltBus, are giving both Greyhound and Chinatown buses a run for their money. They have newer buses, amenities such as on-bus Wifi, personal power plugs, as well as more legroom than most buses.
My one experience with a Chinatown bus was a few years ago, on a trip between Washington DC and NYC. The bus was clean, the ride was fast, and the price was right. It was nothing special, but it got us to New York for a song.