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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

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Review: The Jet New York to Washington


The Jet is a relatively new luxury bus that launched in early 2021, presently operating between New York City and Washington DC.

On a recent trip between the two cities, I was invited to try out this new motorcoach product. As someone who’s always been intrigued by innovative forms of transportation, I was excited to give The Jet a go.

As I’d find out, The Jet turns what would normally be a rather uninspiring short-haul flight between these two metropolises into a smooth, restful, and overall quite enjoyable journey.

The Jet – Booking

The Jet currently has a fleet of two Prevost buses that shuttle passengers on a direct route between New York and Washington DC twice per day. It takes approximately four hours to complete the journey.

For my trip, I booked an 11am departure from New York, which would have me arriving in DC at around 3pm.

You can snag a seat on this premium motorcoach for $99 (USD), but prices can rise to $199 (USD) per seat as the cabin begins to fill up, in a typical airline-style fare bucket model.

In my case, I was invited by The Jet to sample the product, so I paid only the $8 (USD) surcharge for booking one of the premium solo seats on the right-hand side. 

The bus currently offers just one pickup and drop-off location in each city, but has plans to expand in the future.

If you’re departing from New York City, you’ll board at 565 W 33rd Street between Hudson Boulevard & 11th Avenue in the Hudson Yards campus.

The Jet – Boarding location in New York

For those looking to board in DC, the bus departs from 565 13th Street NW at F Street, just outside the Metro Centre.

The Jet – Boarding location in Washington D.C.

The Jet – Cabin

I arrived at the bus station with about 20 minutes to spare before departure. Prior to boarding, I stowed my carry-on luggage in the hold underneath the bus.

The Jet – Exterior
The Jet – Exterior
The Jet – Cargo hold

This new interpretation of a luxury motorcoach has 14 seats, and includes premium services such as Wi-Fi, snacks, drinks, and a restroom onboard.

The seats are arranged in a staggered 2-1 configuration across five rows, with Row 5 having just one seat.

The Jet – Interior
The Jet – Interior
The Jet – Driver’s seat

If you’re travelling as a couple, selecting one of the sets of two seats on the left-hand side would likely be the best choice.

The Jet – Double seats
The Jet – Double seats
The Jet – Double seats

If you’re travelling solo, you can pay $8 (USD) extra for one of the premium solo seats on the right-hand side, or simply take Seat 5C in the back row for no additional charge.

The Jet – Solo seat

It’s worth noting that Seat 5C is close to the galley and the restroom, which may be bothersome as passengers and the bus attendants frequently move in and out of the area.

Seat 1A at the very front is arguably the best seat in the house, as it’s not only a solo seat but also has front-facing views to enjoy along the ride. Even those travelling as a duo might also prefer to snag a spot closer to the front for the better views.

Since I had booked relatively last-minute, I could only pick Seat 4A in the fourth row – still a premium seat ideal for a solo traveller.

The Jet – Seat 4A
The Jet – Seat 4A

The exterior of The Jet is sleek and classy with a matte black finish, black tinted windows, and “The Jet” distinctively overlayed on the sides and back of the bus.

The Jet – Logo

Meanwhile, the interiors are also pleasing to the eye, consisting of faux hardwood floors, luxurious jet-black leather seats, and large windows.

The Jet – Faux hardwood floors

In keeping with the rest of the bus, the galley and restroom are decked out in a stylish black.

The galley is mostly for the bus attendant to grab snacks and prepare drinks when servicing passengers. There is also a sideways-facing seat for the bus attendant to sit on when not assisting passengers.

The Jet – Galley
The Jet – Fridge in galley

The Jet – Seat

At first glance, The Jet’s leather “HoverSeats” appear no different than your average high-end bus seat. However, upon sitting down, you’ll quickly take note of its many distinguishing high-tech features.

First and foremost, the seats here on The Jet use motion-cancelling technology to counteract the bumps and movements along the journey for a smoother ride. You can actually notice the seats moving up and down while the bus is in motion, always keeping the occupants in a stable position.

Furthermore, the seats have a gel-foam base and a memory-foam back, which combine to create a very cushy seated experience.

Since there are just 14 seats, each one comes with substantial legroom. There is more than enough space to stretch out and even store some of your personal items within reach, if you wish.

The Jet – Legroom
The Jet – Legroom
The Jet – Legroom

The abundance of legroom certainly makes this bus ride more comfortable than your typical coach journey. Moreover, the high-tech seats and much-appreciated space create the ideal environment for both resting and working, as I’d discover along the four-hour journey.

Below the solo seats, near your feet, you’ll find charging ports mounted to the wall. For the sets of two seats, charging ports can be found between the seats by your legs.

Whether in a solo seat or a set of two seats, you’ve got three types charging ports: a standard power outlet, USB-A, and USB-C.

The Jet – Solo seat power outlet & USB ports
The Jet – Double seat power outlet & USB ports

A set of seat controls reside on the left side of the seat near the seat belt. Here, you can adjust the back support, use a lever to recline the seat into a 45-degree recline, and pull a knob to pop the leg rest up.

The Jet – Seat controls
The Jet – Seat in reclined position

The tray table folds out from the seat’s armrest, which is large enough for a snack and drink or placing your laptop. There’s also a drink holder available by your side.

The Jet – Tray table
The Jet – Tray table
The Jet – Drink holder

Lastly, you can find individual reading lights and air nozzles above each seat.

The Jet – Lights & air nozzles

When it comes to storage, there’s enough overhead bin room for personal items, such as backpacks. Here, you’ll also find railings to hold onto and stabilize yourself when leaving your seat and walking in the cabin while the bus is in motion.

The Jet – Overhead bin

The Jet – Snack Service

At 11am, our journey began from Hudson Yards onto Highway I-95, where we’d spend most of our trip for the next four hours.

I mostly spent my time relaxing, using the Wi-Fi on my phone, working on my laptop, and then napping intermittently.

30 minutes into the journey, the bus attendant came by to hand out complimentary refreshments. Currently, The Jet only offers snacks and drinks, although they hope to introduce hot meals in the coming months.

The Jet – Snack selection

I wouldn’t exactly anticipate the current early-stage pricing model, in which all onboard amenities are complimentary, to stick around in the future. I’d expect that passengers would eventually be asked to pay separately for hot meals or alcoholic drinks.

I helped myself to a few snacks from the basket, including some Cheez-It crackers and a satisfying cappuccino made from the Illy espresso machine onboard in the back.

The Jet – Cheez-It crackers
The Jet – Illy espresso machine
The Jet – Cappuccino

It’s worth noting that the attendant had to physically stabilize herself with the overhead handrail as she served each passenger. It can be a bit awkward at times when it’s bumpy and the attendant is almost falling over you, but that’s how things go when on a bus.

I then helped myself to some La Croix sparkling water and some more snacks along the journey. Complimentary beer and wine are also available onboard; however, I decided not to indulge since it was still relatively early in the day.

The Jet – Drink selection
The Jet – La Croix sparkling water

The Jet – Restrooms

The restrooms here on The Jet are quite impressive for a motorcoac product, with a stylish, black-and-white palette, clean hex tiling on the floor, and even a patterned white brick accent wall.

The Jet – Restroom entrance
The Jet – Restroom

Furthermore, the restroom features a built-in LED mirror and high-tech motion sensors for a touchless sink and soap dispenser, further contributing to the luxurious feel.

The Jet – LED mirror & vanity
The Jet – Vanity

Here on The Jet, the restrooms are more like a hotel room rather than a motorcoach, making it one of the nicest bus bathrooms you’ll likely encounter when travelling by bus.

Unfortunately, however, it does get quite bumpy in here as you’re using the toilet, as there’s no “HoverSeat” technology on this particular seat after all. 

The Jet – Wi-Fi

The Jet’s onboard Wi-Fi was not only free, but very fast. I connected to the “Hi-Fi Wi-Fi” service while I worked for the latter half of the journey, and the excellent high-speed connection made it easy to stay productive onboard.

The journey continued smoothly, mostly with views of the highway, except when passing the occasional greenway or river.

The Jet – Highway view
The Jet – River view

As we approached the outskirts of Washington DC, we found ourselves stuck in some traffic. Despite the elevated bus experience, this is of course something to keep in mind when comparing the bus ride against taking a short-haul flight or the train.

Despite the traffic, we still managed to arrive at our destination at 2:58pm, two minutes ahead of schedule.

The Jet – Arrival in Washington DC

Conclusion

The Jet is certainly an innovative motorcoach experience, and makes for a welcome new transportation option between New York and Washington DC.

The sleek aesthetic, elevated comfort, and complimentary amenities are a compelling substitution for taking a flight or train between the US East Coast metropolises, especially for those who appreciate a balance of convenience and comfort.

At $99–199 (USD) per ticket, the price point is comparable to what you’d expect to pay when booking a plane or train for the same journey, factoring in all extra costs like getting to and from the airports. 

Moreover, the HoverSeat technology is certainly a game changer for bus travel. It’ll be interesting to see if it’s enough to persuade people away from taking a train or flying, especially as bus travel arguably carries less of a premium factor compared to air and rail travel. 

I’m quite curious to see what future services The Jet will offer, which new cities they’ll offer regular service to, and any new onboard amenities they’ll be offering.

As a budding startup, the business model is likely to be reworked a few times, and I look forward to keeping up with their progress on future journeys up and down the US East Coast. 





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