Having a car in college is a luxury that not all of us can afford. When the holiday season rolls around, lots of college students rack their brains trying to figure out how to get home. Sure, there are ride-sharing pages on Facebook and Uber is an option for some, but does anyone really want to drown out hours of awkward silence and small talk with the questionable music taste of a stranger?
Despite the weariness and apprehension surrounding public transportation, buses are extremely convenient ways for college students to travel. In Tallahassee, there are numerous bus services, but two are prominently used by students: RedCoach and Greyhound. I’ve been a passenger of both services and have mapped out what you should consider about each line when looking for a ride home.
Not having a way to travel is the problem in the first place, so the location of the bus station is important. Greyhound and RedCoach both depart from locations within minutes from Florida State University. Greyhound buses depart and arrive at stations with a check-in desk, benches and vending machines. Greyhound also frequents more locations throughout the state of Florida than RedCoach does. However, RedCoach buses leave from the parking lots of universities, which benefits a lot of students seeking “safer” ways to go home. At FSU, students wait for the vibrant red bus outside DeGraff Hall rather than in a station and can get dropped off at FGCU, UF, UCF and USF.
Tickets and Prices
The price of a ticket will vary with both lines depending on a few variables such as where you are going, the date you want to leave and what ticket class type you want to purchase.
Greyhound offers three ticket types, Economy, Economy Extra and Flexible, ranging in price from $25 to $90. The price of the tickets are not always fixed rates and inflate closer towards the Holidays. The average price when planning a trip from Tallahassee two weeks in advance during the month of December is around $40.
RedCoach offers three ticket types as well, Web Fare, Standard Fare and Flexible Fair, along with two classes, Business and First Class. RedCoach is the more expensive option as it is branded as a luxury line and sells out faster. Tickets for the month of December leaving from Tallahassee range from $50-$80 depending on the departure time of the trip.
Seating and Comfort
The old saying, “you get what you pay for,” holds true to RedCoach and Greyhound. Greyhound and RedCoach offer similar amenities such as free WiFi, reclining seats and charging ports, but RedCoach is more passenger geared. As far as buses go, RedCoach is one of the most comfortable. It feels spacious, there is enough leg and arm room and when you purchase a ticket, you pick the exact seat you want to sit in. On the Greyhound, you’re buying a general ticket, not a seat number, which makes boarding time-consuming. RedCoach eliminates the awkward game of figuring out who you should sit next to that happens on the Greyhound.
Ultimately, Greyhound is a more affordable bus service that spans all over the state of Florida while RedCoach is a service geared towards the convenience and comfort of passengers. Personally, as a college student on a budget, I think that the feeling of safety a person feels on RedCoach is worth the splurge. If possible, gift yourself a ticket.