Forget the Hamptons, New Yorkers can now take OurBus to the Jersey Shore instead
If you're in the New York Metro area and are looking for an easy-to-reach, sun-kissed beach destination this summer, take note: there's a new high-speed bus option to whisk you to your destination. And no, it's not the Hampton Jitney.
In fact, you won't be headed to the Hamptons or even New York for that matter. Instead, you're about to discover the wonders of the Jersey Shore thanks to a new bus route from OurBus.
The OurBus option to the southern Jersey Shore from midtown Manhattan will begin this week on May 19 and continues through Columbus Day in October with service available Thursday through Monday. The company says that the route’s travel time will be "the fastest for beach-bound travelers," and while I'm not sure how they can promise that with Jersey traffic being what it is, touches such as complimentary bottled water, free Wi-Fi and USB ports at each seat will certainly make the time go faster.
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As a born and raised Jersey girl, I've spent a large portion of my life heading "down the shore" (the correct way to say you're going to the beach in Jersey-ese), and I find this news to be particularly exciting for several reasons.
First, although NJ Transit trains provide service to some North Jersey beaches including hip Asbury Park and a ferry route operates between New York City and the northernmost beach point at Sandy Hook, there's never been a regular vacation-style bus route between NYC and the southern Jersey Shore points. And while there are casino buses to Atlantic City, these are by no means considered luxury (although I have taken these from my home in northern New Jersey and did appreciate the coupons for the buffet).
I've also tried to fly from the New York area down to the Atlantic City area to meet up with family on vacation. The result? United, citing maintenance issues on my aircraft, put the entire plane on a ... bus, and didn't offer to refund my high airfare. (I did successfully argue for a partial refund, since three hours on a bus for the same price as an airline ticket was not a great return on investment.)
A better transit option
I'm evidently not the only one who's been hoping for a better transit option. “New Yorkers have been waiting for a clean, fast, and economical way to travel to their favorite beach towns in the southern Garden State – and OurBus offers them a new, customer-friendly option,” says Numaan Akram, CEO of Rally OurBus. “We look forward to providing visitors and homeowners with superb service that will make their summer travels easier, more relaxing, and more convenient.”
If you want to explore the joys of the southern Jersey Shore this summer, the NYC midtown pickup is at 51st Street and Broadway. From there the bus will go directly to Galloway, New Jersey, which is located just south of Long Beach Island and northwest of Atlantic City -- about a 2.5 hour ride from Manhattan.
Related: Finding luxury at the Jersey Shore: My stay at the Asbury Ocean Club Hotel
Passengers will then switch to a luxury SUV or sprinter van to reach favorite vacation spots along the Atlantic Coast in Absecon, Margate and Ventnor City, New Jersey (an additional 30 minutes) or to a minibus shuttle to the rides and fried foods of the boardwalk-centric spots of Ocean City and Wildwood, New Jersey (about an hour's drive from Galloway). One way fares are $59 for prime summer weekends, with lower prices available on weekdays and for service that terminates in Galloway or Atlantic City.
While this new service isn't perfect -- the change of vehicles for the last portion of the journey certainly isn't ideal -- being able to roll into swanky Margate or explore the wide boardwalks and beaches of Wildwood without a car (or having to spend gas money) while someone else does the driving is definitely worth trying out for a summer beach break.