Rochester to Washington DC, via New York on Greyhound: Part-2

May 14, 2017:
I was walking around like a zombie, trying hard to understand what was happening. The time was just past 0200hrs. It took me some time to realise that I had to find the gate for my next bus. The Greyhound counter near the arrivals gate was not manned. I tried searching around if there is a board nearby. There was a board at Gate 64 that "Express" departures to Washington DC would depart from there. I wanted to confirm, and I took the escalator to the upper floor in the hope of finding a gate display. I did find a display board there, and it updated that my bus #1051 to Richmond, VA, via Baltimore and Washington would depart from Gate 74. Armed with this information, I returned to the lower floor, and headed towards Gate 74.
My ticket. Gate #74 in the background

That is Gate 74. Sometime around 0215hrs!

Other gates..

Interestingly, two people had already formed the gate, a good one and an half hour before departure! After a while, we too joined the queue - there weren't any seats to rest anyway, and since were already standing, it made more sense to stand in the queue instead. We were fourth in the queue. It was a very tiring and boring experience being in the queue. I was quite excited to see a MCI 102-DL3 parked at the gate. I wanted to try this one atleast once, and this was the opportunity. I was hoping the same bus works my schedule.

Boarding commenced at 0336, 9 minutes to go for departure. Since we were at the front, we had the opportunity to pick a seat towards the front. I picked a seat on the third row and settled down. Boarding happened quickly, and we seemed to be full. We backed out of the gate at 0348hrs - three minutes behind schedule. The bus made a quick exit from the Port Authority bus station and made a quick dash to Lincoln tunnel. This was my first ride in an MCI coach. MCI, or Motor Coach Industries, a subsidiary of New Flyer Industries, is a North American coach builder. The 102-DL3, now known as the D4500/4505 is one of their flagship products. The framed window design was quite unique, and resembled trains. I found the seats to be more comfortable as well. The interiors showed its age, and appeared quite tired.
Inside the bus..

I was awake until about an hour in to the ride. I had a nice sleep after that, and woke up just as the bus exited the freeway to enter Baltimore, which, interestingly, is located just off Interstate Route 95. The bus entered the Greyhound Terminal in Baltimore at 0705hrs, and parked at Gate 6. The driver announced that we were 20 minutes early, and this would be rest stop for all passengers continuing to Washington or Richmond. We got off the bus. The terminal building - actually, my first visit to a Greyhound owned terminal - was quite well kept. A Greyhound food service outlet was available, this outlet served food products at decent rates. The restrooms were very clean as well. We picked our breakfast from the food outlet, sat there to have them as well. We were back at our bus a little past 0745hrs. Passengers mostly opted to remain outside the bus. The ground agents at the bus terminus ensured that no passengers remained in the ground, which could be a safety risk since buses come in quite fast.
My bus @ Gate 6

That is my bus: #6973

A Greyhound Commuter bus..

The terminal appeared a little busy - there were two more buses to Washington, and even a Greyhound Commuter bus. The driver returned a little before 0800hrs, and requested all passengers to return to the bus. He took a quick headcount, and then took additional passengers. We finally started off at 0801hrs - one minute behind schedule. As we pulled out, the driver updated that it shouldn't take more than an hour to reach Washington, traffic allowing. Traffic on the road was on the higher side. There were no traffic snarls, but there were too too many vehicles on road. I was surprised to see that traffic on a Sunday morning. We were on Interstate 95 itself. Later we took Route 495, and then exited to an interior road. I was quite excited to see a tram running along the road - I wanted to try that, but couldn't. We finally entered Washington DC Union Station North parking garage, which doubles up as a bus station as well, at 0854, 11 minutes before scheduled time.
Waiting @ Baltimore. Notice the additional step to help passengers get off the bus.

Notes: The bus, #6973, was a 2000 model MCI 102-DL3 coach. The bus appeared fairly well kept. Although 17 years old, the bus didn't seem that old - I am guessing they were refurbished not so long ago. The ride quality was good. The interiors looked aged and tired. The WiFi worked really well, all through the journey (at least all the time I was awake). The Greyhound food service joint had fairly good options and they were not so pricey. Vegetarian options were low - we settled for a Muffin and Coffee (which was a good option, to be honest). Overall a good journey. 

Amenities:
Blanket: No
Water: No
Snacks: No, Stopped for rest break
Charging Point: Available, Worked.
Entertainment: Available, Not used.
WiFi: Yes, Worked throughout

Ratings:
Bus Quality: 4.5/5 (Fairly well kept, but showed age)
Maintenance: 5/5
Cleanliness: 5/5
Amenities: 5/5 (all promised amenities were present, and worked)
Driving: 5/5
Crew behaviour: 5/5
Punctuality: 5/5

Overall: 4.85/5
Good one!

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