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Gas Busters Bus Battles Round 1: Boston to New York

In the face of rising gas prices, MainStreet is on the look out for travel bargains. Beantown to Big Apple commuters take note!

The route from Boston to New York can be traveled by plane, train or automobile. But for those on a budget, the bus is the cheapest ticket.

And while the $65, or so, that Peter Pan charges for roundtrip travel, is about half of what Amtrak's Acela express train will cost you for one way, there are some options that are even cheaper.

For $15 each way travelers can avoid the tolls and

high cost of gas

. The only trade-off is taking a leap of faith with the inconsistent safety records of the two Chinatown-based bus lines that are offering this cheap-o rate.

The rival bus lines - Fung Wah Bus Transportation, Inc. and Lucky Star Travel Pack - are no secret to folks traveling on a tight budget. Fung Wah arrived first in 1998 to connect the Chinatowns in New York and Boston. Lucky Star came along in August of 2005, initially offering Boston/New York riders a $10 deal.

To some, prize is worth the price: On the website - a site where people can rate products ranging from restaurants to bus lines - user "Wren R." put her decision in simple terms: "Boston and back for $30? Sold. I don't care how rickety the bus is, how off-putting the employees can be, or how much random stuff happens. It's 30-freaking-dollars!"

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Cheap or no, safety has been an issue for both lines. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Fung Wah's 2007 driver safety rating was 95. The rating system is based on a 100 point scale, in which 100 points is the worst rating. (Lucky Star's rating in 2007 was 63.)

Still, at the far end of the South Station Bus Terminal in Boston, the rival bus lines slugging it out every day. From opposite counters, rival representatives cry, ''Ticket to New York!" And now there is a new bus on the block - the Greyhound-owned BoltBus.

For an extra $2.50, riders on BoltBus, which began its route from Boston to New York on March 27th, enjoy more leg-room, a cleaner atmosphere, and wireless internet access. So far, so good reports user Ben C.: "I hate buses and BoltBus practically takes the bus out of bus, if you know what I mean. Much cheaper alternative if you typically take Amtrak like I do ... or did."

Will BoltBus make life more difficult for the two Chinatown bus lines? Only time will tell.

Click here

and read the tale of the tape so far.

This article was written by a staff member of