The New Yorker: Bus Advisor

If I decide to make my trip by bus, what time should I get to Port Authority?

The first rule of long-distance bus travel is this: your bus ticket is for a chance at a seat on the bus, not a seat itself. If you arrive fifteen or twenty minutes in advance of your departure—the way you might, say, for a journey by train—the bus will already be full, as buses are routinely oversold, and you will need to wait two or three hours for the next bus. You’ll do best to arrive at Port Authority three to four hours in advance, so you can be at the head of the line at the gate.

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