After purchasing a couple of cheap bus fares from Seattle to Vancouver, Canada I proceeded to read a few reviews of Boltbus and surprisingly saw that they were not very well regarded in some parts of the US.
While some people had good experiences, I have read a lot of bad stuff about Boltbus, so what I was expecting was a pretty shitty experience when our trip did take place.
Not one to back down because of a bad review and because I did not want to spend money on a flight or hiring a car, me and my soon to be wife ventured on down to Vancouver in a Boltbus.
Waiting in line at the stop which is in the International District, they made everyone arrange into boarding groups according to the letter in their confirmation number. Even though the storage part of the bus was open, nobody was allowed to put their luggage into the bus just yet.
You have to load in your own luggage (which is fine) and considering a bus ticket is incredibly cheap, this is to be expected. The bus looked in good condition, not too old and the staff seemed to know what they were doing.
Upon boarding the bus, it looked clean and roomy. Although because seats are not assigned, it was a bit of a struggle finding two spare seats so I could sit with my fiancee. In-fact, we had to sit across each other on opposite sides.
They do not weigh your luggage, so there are no limits. The space in the cabin itself is quite small, so do not expect to even fit a small suitcase inside of the bus. All luggage goes in the luggage compartment outside of the bus. You will probably really be limited to a backpack and a suitcase, but in all honesty, I doubt they will care.
So do not stress, my suitcase was about 42kg because we somehow accumulated a lot of clothing and stuff in our trip so far and it was not a problem for me.
Free Boltbus wifi
This is probably the question on everyones lips: what was the free wifi like? Surprisingly, it was pretty good. Do not expect to be able to download torrents or make a Skype call, but sites like Github and Gmail.com loaded quite fine.
When it comes to free wifi on buses and trains it is generally pretty bad in my experience, which is why the wifi being stable the whole way surprised me. It was not blazingly fast, but it was fast enough and more than I expected considering the fares are so cheap, it feels like you’re getting more than you should.
Free electrical outlets
Not only do you get free wifi, there are electrical outlets on board (one per seat). This means if you want to work on the bus, you can charge your laptop or if you want to play games on your phone and not flatten it, you can charge your phone or other device.
Amenities / Food & Drink
On the Boltbus we went on, it had a toilet (which for a 4 hour bus trip you would expect it to have), however this is where the line stops. There is no water or snacks on board, just a no frills bus service.
It would have been nice to be able to buy a bottle of water or a packet of chips on the bus, but it was not a deal breaker. I think Boltbus could make a bit of money if they sold basic drinks and snacks.
The upside is half way into the trip the bus stopped in Bellingham which was near a Dairy Queen and a Co-op grocery store. The Dairy Queen sells burgers, water, ice-cream and more, I did not realise Dairy Queen had such a large selection of cheap food.
Bolts is a cheap way to get around. The ride was trouble-free, the bus had a toilet, electrical outlets and the wifi was not too bad. The only downside as mentioned was lack of onboard availability of snacks or drinks to purchase.
All in all, I would recommend Boltbus to anyone who wants to get to point A to point B without spending a lot of money to do so.