In a press release today, Amtrak announced that it was making a pilot bus service connecting 30th Street Station with Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and White Haven permanent. The Thruway Bus, provided by private bus operator Martz Trailways, added a 30th Street Station stop to Martz’s existing service to the Philadelphia Greyhound Terminal at 10th and Filbert Street.
Amtrak spokesman Craig Schulz said that this partnership would effectively cost Amtrak nothing, making it a cost-free way of improving service for rail riders coming in from Northeast Pennsylvania.
“As more people hear about it [and] realize this connectivity is available, we’re optimistic that it’ll be a fruitful partnership for the bus company and the railroad,” said Schulz.
The Thruway Bus will drop off and pick up passengers from 30th Street Station’s west plaza, under the station’s portico. Other private intercity bus agencies, like Megabus and BoltBus, use JFK Boulevard just west of the station as a de facto bus terminal. Schulz told PlanPhilly that Amtrak used a three-month pilot to ensure that the Thruway Bus did not cause logistical problems picking up and dropping off passengers at the west plaza.
The service will start off with six daily buses – three to Philadelphia and three back to Northeast Pennsylvania. Fares will vary and discounts are available, but a ticket to Scranton from Philadelphia will run about $39. By stopping at 30th Street Station, the bus simplifies transfers onto Amtrak’s popular Northeast regional and Acela trains serving Washington, Boston and points in between.
Passengers can book both bus and train tickets at Amtrak.com or by using Amtrak’s mobile apps.
The Thruway Bus also stops at the Norristown Transportation Center, which is served by SEPTA’s Norristown High Speed Line and the Manayunk/Norristown regional rail line.