The Gold Bus, a new luxury Prevost coach, features “two-and-one” leather seating, free Wi-Fi, and an oversized restroom as it takes passengers daily between Washington, D.C. and New York.
BETHESDA, Md. — VAMOOSE BUS, a New York City-based, family-owned, intercity bus company that moves more than 5,000 travelers a week between midtown Manhattan and Bethesda, Md. and Arlington, Va., inaugurated its scheduled, first-class Gold Bus service last week.
The Gold Bus features wide-body, “two-and-one” leather seating with extra arm- and legroom, free Wi-Fi, 110-volt AC electric outlets and an oversized restroom. The Gold Bus’ new luxury Prevost coach carries 36 passengers and now offers a scheduled 9 a.m. daily departure from Arlington with a single pick-up stop in Bethesda at 9:30 a.m., and an estimated 1:30 p.m. arrival near Penn Station, New York.
The Gold Bus also has a scheduled daily departure at 3 p.m. from New York at West 31st Street and Seventh Ave., just across from New York’s Penn Station.
One-way tickets are $50, with a free one-way ride offered for every four paid trips, so frequent travelers can ride the Gold Bus for an average of $40 per trip.
Vamoose assigns an experienced, responsible ground crew to departure and arrival points to help passengers with their baggage and ticketing. Vamoose imposes no travel blackout periods, either. If a traveler has a reservation or a free rewards ticket, it can be transferred to any travel day — even Thanksgiving weekend — without charge.
Company founder Sam Bluzenstein, and his friend, Sol Wollner, who were both bus drivers, started the business in 2004. They wanted to offer a higher quality, personalized transportation service.
“Right from the start they had what they call their ground crews, which meet every bus, [for] departures and arrivals, and handle the baggage for the passengers. The passengers really liked that and started giving feedback,” said Richard Edmonds, senior vice president at Linden Alschuler & Kaplan, Inc., a public relations firm hired by Vamoose.
Passenger said they would be willing to pay more for a “first class bus” along with the personalized service. “Their original clientele were businesspeople and mature adults. They…decided that it would be worth it to experiment with a pilot, what they would call the ‘Gold Bus,’” Edmonds said.
Vamoose discovered that one of its main vendors, D.C. Trails, had a brand new Prevost bus, which they agreed to outfit with two-and-one seating. They put the bus into regular rotation on the Washington, D.C. to New York route. They kept the ticket prices the same as the other buses. Travelers caught on, and increasingly were asking for the bus. Many said they would pay more to ride it if it ran on a regular schedule. The pilot, conducted earlier this year, only lasted for a couple of months, Edmonds said.
— Nicole Schlosser, LCT Magazine