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New budget Seattle-to-Portland express bus service allows bikes

Getting to Portland with your bike may have just gotten cheaper. New bus service BoltBus boasts fares starting at a dollar (plus a dollar transaction fee, of course) for direct service from King Street Station to Portland (647 SW Salmon Street). Otherwise, tickets could be in the neighborhood of $6-15, still half the price of a ticket on the Amtrak Cascades train.

Most promising, bikes count as “oversize items” and can be brought along at no additional charge so long as space is available. No need to box it up or anything. It simply counts as your allotted piece of large luggage (you can carry two more bags with you).

From BoltBus:


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Can I take a bicycle or golf bag?

We do allow them and consider them to be oversize items as long as space is available in the baggage area. The oversize item will count as your one bag allowed under the coach. You’ll be responsible for placing the item in the baggage bin. We will not charge you an additional fee for oversized item provided it is within your limit of one bag under the coach. BOLTBUS is not responsible for damage to oversize items or items that are not placed in normal luggage or a carrying case.

As a service launch promotion all tickets from May 18-20 are $1, but they seem to be going fast. There are four trips per day (8:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.) and the trip is estimated to take three and a half hours.

BoltBus is operated by Grayhound and originally started in the northeast, where it serves several cities. This is the company’s first west coast route.

What are your thoughts on the BoltBus idea? Will you be using it?


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11 responses to “New budget Seattle-to-Portland express bus service allows bikes”

  1. I think I’m more likely to use it on the rare occasions when I go to Portland without my bike. I don’t like the thought of leaving a bike to slide around in the under coach luggage compartment, and I really don’t like taking the risk that they might just tell me there’s no space. The modest price of an Amtrak ticket is worth paying to be sure I can travel when I plan to.

  2. If there was an earlier bus I would defiantly use it… But I feel the same way about my bike sliding around the baggage compartment and not knowing about space. I would be interested to find out if they are tied down or something. I can’t imagine they would allow a bike to just be placed in with luggage to slide around.

  3. Gary

    The last time I took a bike on a “Greyhound” bus, a century ago, I used a bike box to pack it in. I too would not want my bike piled on top of the luggage. And if it’s a round trip, with bicycle as the primary transportation at the other city, what do you do with the box when you arrive in Portland?

  4. Andres

    Bring your single-speed beater. You’re not going to need a derailleur in Portland, anyways; it really flat (unless you’re going outside of the city). I’ve done this type of thing a number of times between Boston and NYC (with chinatown buses).

  5. Anthony

    Leaving your bike underneath a Greyhound, Bolt, ADO, or any other regular sized bus is not a big deal, at all. Though I prefer Amtrak and will continue to take it to PDX vs. Bolt, don’t be afraid to throw it under there. If you’re really concerned, carry a rag or something to wrap around the rear derailleur, I’ve done this before, and do it EVERY time the bike is boxed and flys on airlines. Just double check everything before your first ride after you bring it back out of the bus.

    As for only needing a single speed in PDX, ouch! I ride through to the West Slope and Beaverton when I visit, so I want low gears! I also suggest trying out Germantown road as a climb/descent sometime, it’s a doozy….

  6. […] Low-cost bus line to Portland on track to compete against Amtrak | Local News | The Seattle Times – More details on BoltBus (see our previous story). […]

  7. […] so don’t expect to hear from me until my train trip to Portland! I’ll be taking the Bolt Bus to PDX and attending UBI Bike School for two weeks! I’ll be staying with some awesome bikey […]

  8. […] took the Bolt Bus down. This was not all it was cracked up to be. They promote their service as a sort of […]

  9. […] and Portland which allow for passengers to easily bring a bike along, Amtrak and Boltbus! After all the hype about Boltbus, I was pretty enthused to enjoy all the features touted on their website and that […]

  10. […] The train connects Vancouver, BC, to Eugene, passing through Bellingham, Seattle and Portland. The fact that the train carries any non-boxed bikes at all is enough to make east coasters drool, and is necessary if the train wants to fend off competition from cheaper intercity transit options like the relatively new Bolt Bus. […]

  11. […] so don’t expect to hear from me until my train trip to Portland! I’ll be taking the Bolt Bus to PDX and attending UBI Bike School for two weeks! I’ll be staying with some awesome bikey […]

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