BoltBus to start service from Suffolk to Manhattan

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BoltBus, the orange passenger coach bus company that moves about 40,000 riders throughout the Northeast each week, will start service between Suffolk County and Manhattan Dec. 10, company officials said Tuesday.

The service operates from three locations -- the Courtyard Marriott in Ronkonkoma, the Long Island Expressway Exit 49 Huntington Park & Ride in Melville, and the Hilton Garden Inn at Riverhead -- to the east side of Midtown Manhattan.

As part of its signature trademark and to celebrate its launch, all seats sold for the first week will be $1, said Mike Schoolman, the company's Long Island spokesman. Tickets went on sale Tuesday at boltbus.com, where fare and schedule information are also available. Tickets can also be purchased from a driver before boarding, at a higher price. All tickets are nonrefundable.

"Our selling point is a one-seat ride to Manhattan's East Side," said Schoolman.

This week, work is being completed on a new, heated passenger lounge -- a converted office building adjacent to the Courtyard Marriott Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma where riders can wait out of the weather. A separate parking lot with more than 300 spaces is available for passengers, and the waiting room entrance is within 10 feet of the bus boarding point on Union Avenue.

In Riverhead, passengers will be able to park at the Hilton Garden Inn parking lot and wait inside the hotel lobby. The bus will pickup opposite the front entrance overhang. At Melville, the bus will collect passengers from an existing shelter at the Park & Ride lot.

Departure points for all service to Long Island from Manhattan are first from 59th Street and Lexington Avenue and then 40th Street and Lexington Avenue. Off-peak runs during the day will make a maximum two stops on the Island.

All Huntington service is nonstop to New York City, with 15 runs to the city and 17 eastbound from the city daily.

Service from Riverhead to Manhattan makes a brief pickup at Ronkonkoma before arriving on the city's East Side. Passengers are set down first at 40th Street and 3rd Avenue and then at 59th Street and 3rd Avenue. Trip durations depend on the time of day -- the Riverhead service's 6:15 a.m. arrives at 40th and 3rd at around 8:20 a.m., said Schoolman. The coach buses can use the HOV lane for the length of the expressway.

A Ronkonkoma trip to Manhattan takes a minimum 90 minutes, from Huntington a trip can be as quick as 70 minutes.

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Ronkonkoma has a total of 14 daily round trips, with nonstop service departing 5 a.m., 6 a.m., 6:50 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. There is nonstop return service to Ronkonkoma from 40th and Lexington at 3:10 p.m., 5:35 p.m., 6:35 p.m., 7:35 p.m. and 9:05 p.m.

In line with company policy, riders who take eight trips are eligible for a free one-way ride.

BoltBus, a division of Greyhound Lines Inc., touts its extra leg room, free WiFi and power outlets. It operates between New York City, Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., and recently began service in the Pacific Northwest between Seattle, Vancouver and Portland.

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