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Old Jul 26, 10, 10:41 am   #1
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Concord Bus to Portland: from BOS or South Station?

I'll be flying into BOS and heading to Portland by bus.

I see from the Concord Bus schedule, that the bus I would take first goes to South Station where passengers get off the bus to buy tickets. Has anyone done this before? I'm just curious if we can keep our seats while we buy the tickets or do those waiting on line in South Station with tickets already purchased get first dibs. If that's the case, and my flight arrives from LGA with plenty of time to spare, should I just take the subway to South Station directly. I always like sitting up front....imagine that.

Thanks.
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Old Jul 26, 10, 2:46 pm   #2
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Why not just take Amtrak from North Station to Portland? Should be more comfortable than the bus -- but I don't think the engineer will let you sit up front.
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Old Jul 26, 10, 3:02 pm   #3
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
Why not just take Amtrak from North Station to Portland? Should be more comfortable than the bus -- but I don't think the engineer will let you sit up front.
1. The bus operates with much greater frequency.

2. The bus picks up at Logan, thus eliminating the need to make a transfer at North Station (a $20 cab ride or a 3-seat ride on public transportation).
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Old Jul 26, 10, 3:09 pm   #4
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Originally Posted by Analise View Post
If that's the case, and my flight arrives from LGA with plenty of time to spare, should I just take the subway to South Station directly. I always like sitting up front....imagine that.
I don't know how the ticket purchase works, but here's what I would do:

When you arrive, go down to the baggage claim area and out to the curb where the buses pick up. At the far end of the platform (to the right as you exit the terminal) is where the MBTA's silver line bus picks up, which takes you directly to South Station. Before you get to the silver line stop, you'll see the concrete columns with the blue signs for the bus.

I would wait half way between the two. You'll be able to see the buses coming, and I would take whichever comes first. (Or, if you know you've got plenty of time before the next Concord Coach bus, just go straight for the silver line.)

If you do take the silver line bus, you use the same Charlie Card or Charlie Ticket you would use for the subway. Take the bus to the last stop -- South Station. When you get to South Station, you'll need to walk through the train section of South Station to the bus terminal section, which is on the other side of the station.

If you're hungry, there are a couple of decent food options at the food court at South Station, principally Regina's Pizza (not nearly as good as the original North End location, and almost certainly not as good as your favorite NYC spot, but decent for a slice nonetheless) and Rosie's, for cookies, brownies and other baked goods.
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Old Jul 26, 10, 3:38 pm   #5
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Originally Posted by Blumie View Post
1. The bus operates with much greater frequency.
No disputing that.

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Originally Posted by Blumie View Post
2. The bus picks up at Logan, thus eliminating the need to make a transfer at North Station (a $20 cab ride or a 3-seat ride on public transportation).
Depending on how many are in Analise's party, and when they are traveling, the available discounts on Amtrak may pay for the cab ride to North Station:

http://www.railserve.com/amtrak_coupons.html
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Old Jul 26, 10, 4:15 pm   #6
 
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Originally Posted by Analise View Post
should I just take the subway to South Station directly.
As Blumie alludes to, the Silver Line is not a subway, but a bus. (It does run in some dedicated lanes for the trip.)

Regarding the purchase of tickets at South Station, the boyfriend says:

everyone empties out at South Station at a designated unloading spot -- unless they already have a ticket (such as when I have purchased a return ticket) in which case they can stay on the bus. The bus then goes over to the loading spot, where there is already a sizable line of people waiting to board.

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Old Jul 27, 10, 7:08 pm   #7
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
Why not just take Amtrak from North Station to Portland? Should be more comfortable than the bus -- but I don't think the engineer will let you sit up front.
I've actually taken that train twice northbound. I actually liked the bus better because it was quicker believe it or not because the train goes very slowly between a few of the towns in NH.

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Depending on how many are in Analise's party, and when they are traveling, the available discounts on Amtrak may pay for the cab ride to North Station:
Just me.

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Originally Posted by Blumie
If you do take the silver line bus, you use the same Charlie Card or Charlie Ticket you would use for the subway. Take the bus to the last stop -- South Station. When you get to South Station, you'll need to walk through the train section of South Station to the bus terminal section, which is on the other side of the station.

If you're hungry, there are a couple of decent food options at the food court at South Station, principally Regina's Pizza (not nearly as good as the original North End location, and almost certainly not as good as your favorite NYC spot, but decent for a slice nonetheless) and Rosie's, for cookies, brownies and other baked goods.
I need to find my Charlie Card! I know there is a bus to the Blue Line. That I remember. Thanks for the snack info. If there's an Au Bon Pain, I'll be happy. I know BOS has one. Oh wait....there IS an Au Bon Pain where the train departures are.

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Originally Posted by wcj1
everyone empties out at South Station at a designated unloading spot -- unless they already have a ticket (such as when I have purchased a return ticket) in which case they can stay on the bus. The bus then goes over to the loading spot, where there is already a sizable line of people waiting to board.
That is what I thought. There IS a huge line already and I'll have to get off the bus because Concord doesn't sell tickets at BOS.

Now the question remains....how long will it take to get to South Station from Terminal A?
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Old Jul 27, 10, 7:35 pm   #8
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Hmmm, maybe I will take the train. I'll see what comes first to South Station. It is a bit cheaper than the bus. I don't remember...how close is the train station to the Concord Bus station in Portland?
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Old Jul 27, 10, 7:51 pm   #9
 
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Now the question remains....how long will it take to get to South Station from Terminal A?
~20 minutes depending on how long you have to wait for the silver line.
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Old Jul 27, 10, 8:07 pm   #10
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Ok....that works. Thanks to the Amtrak discount page guv1976 provided, the cost for a ticket is just $18. Why not do that! If time is tight, I can print the ticket in advance at Penn Station here in NYC so I have it in advance.
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Old Jul 27, 10, 8:08 pm   #11
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Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry8703e/4.1.0 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/104)

Amtrak and the Concord Bus use the same terminal in Portland, but different terminals in Boston. If you are thinking that you might use Amtrak in either or both directions and want to take advantage of the available discounts, you will need to purchase the tickets in advance (online or by phone). As long as you do not actually print the paper ticket, however, you can cancel for a full refund anytime before departure.

It looks like the Concord bus is a few dollars cheaper if boarded from South Station than from Logan.

If you take Amtrak, the Downeaster is a "special" route, which requires only 1,000 Amtrak Guest Rewards points for a one-way redemption in coach.
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Old Jul 28, 10, 6:41 am   #12
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
Amtrak and the Concord Bus use the same terminal in Portland, but different terminals in Boston. If you are thinking that you might use Amtrak in either or both directions and want to take advantage of the available discounts, you will need to purchase the tickets in advance (online or by phone). As long as you do not actually print the paper ticket, however, you can cancel for a full refund anytime before departure.
I will only need a one-way ticket. Taking the subway to North Station seems as easy as taking it to South Station. Interesting, I just applied the 25% discount code to a fare I priced for tomorrow morning (under 24 hours from now) and the discount was taken! Has the 3 day in advance purchase requirement vanished? Not complaining at all.

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It looks like the Concord bus is a few dollars cheaper if boarded from South Station than from Logan.
$5 cheaper. I just called Concord. So for that $5 expense, pax still have to exit the bus at South Station with their carry ons and lose their seats once they reboard with everyone else. A bit odd.

Just found my Charlie Card!
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Old Jul 28, 10, 12:34 pm   #13
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So now you need to get to North Station! You can take either the Massport Shuttle Bus to the Blue Line (I think you're familiar with that), or the Silver Line to the Red Line, and then transfer from the Blue Line or the Red Line (as the case may be) to the Orange Line or the Green Line to North Station. That's a lot of choices!

As between the Massport/Blue Line option or the Silver Line/Red Line option, I would take whichever comes first. As I described above, I wait between the bus pickup area and the Silver Line pickup area, and when I see the first coming, I go to that area.

As between the Orange Line and the Green Line, I prefer taking the Green Line; the transfers to the Orange Line always seem to require walking down long corridors and up and down different staircases.
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Old Jul 28, 10, 1:18 pm   #14
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So now you need to get to North Station!
That certainly wasn't what I was thinking initially! But FTers often provide alternatives one has not thought of previously. That's why I love FT.

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You can take either the Massport Shuttle Bus to the Blue Line (I think you're familiar with that), or the Silver Line to the Red Line, and then transfer from the Blue Line or the Red Line (as the case may be) to the Orange Line or the Green Line to North Station. That's a lot of choices!
Just from reading the MBTA map, it seems easier to take the Massport Shuttle to the blue to the green. I will avoid the Orange as per your advice as I will have luggage.

Do you think I'd be able to print my ticket in advance here in New York or because it's a Downeast train, I may not be able to do it?
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Old Jul 28, 10, 1:51 pm   #15
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Just from reading the MBTA map, it seems easier to take the Massport Shuttle to the blue to the green. I will avoid the Orange as per your advice as I will have luggage.
I don't think one is easier than the other, but if you're experienced with the shuttle bus to the Blue Line, maybe stick with that. It's probably marginally faster, too. Take the Blue Line to Government Center, then follow the signs upstairs to the Green Line. When you come upstairs, you can take any train marked North Station or Lechmere.

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Do you think I'd be able to print my ticket in advance here in New York or because it's a Downeast train, I may not be able to do it?
I've never tried it, but my understanding is that the kiosks can print any ticket if you have the confirmation number. Even if there's a problem, though, the lines for the ticket counter at North Station are nothing like the lines at Penn Station.
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