Monday, May 20, 2024

Bus service to New York starts Wednesday at Alewife Station, joining red line T service. (Photo: Rachel Ford James)

Service starts Wednesday for World Wide Bus, which will pick up passengers at Alewife and bring them to New York for only $10. (The one-way cost jumps to $15 starting Nov. 18, and $20 on weekends.) There can be as few as four weekday trips, and as many as eight, mainly on weekends.

It’s the first such transportation offered from Alewife and can save residents the trip to South Station in Boston for similarly priced buses to New York — the classic, grungey standard setter being the Fung Wah, although World Wide buses have features competitive with the upscale Bolt Bus. The 30-year-old, Brooklyn-based company says its vehicles have free Wi-Fi and outlets at each seat for users of laptops or other electronic devices, as well as reading lights and more room for luggage.

Fung Wah has been known to promise free Wi-Fi when there is no Wi-Fi on a bus at all.

World Wide is also playing up comfort, touting its high-backed, reclining seats, head- and footrests and “clean lavatories.”

Between Cambridge and Manhattan there is a stop in Newton, but the bus is not meant to be Cambridge-to-Newton transportation.

World Wide estimates a 4.5-hour trip to Penn Station, while Fung Wah says it will take between four and five hours to reach 139 Canal St. and Bolt Bus estimates a straight four hours to 34th Street and Eighth Avenue. (Fung Wahs and competitors such as Lucky Star have a scheduled stop midway, while Bolt Buses go nonstop. Mega Bus is a little too notorious for customer complaints to be included in this survey.) Mapping the drive on Google maps shows the World Wide drive taking three hours and 53 minutes and a Fung Wah trip taking five minutes longer. Bolt Bus seems to have the shortest trip of all at three hours and 51 minutes. And if only Google maps reflected reality.

There’s also travel time to Alewife or South Station to consider, though. Getting to South Station, whether riders want a bare-bones Chinatown bus or the premium Bolt Bus, takes an estimated half-hour via T from Harvard Square, while getting to Alewife for a World Wide Bus should take less than 10. Less traffic, easier parking and a smaller station also gives Alewife the edge on convenience.

Unfortunately, Cambridge-based IvyMedia and its GoToBus ticketing service remains focused on Lucky Star at South Station despite World Wide Bus’ launch less than a mile from its Porter Square offices. BusJunction also hasn’t caught on to the change.