For most travelers, a city-to-city bus journey is the lowest option on the transportation ladder. Buses are usually dirty and crowded, get stuck in traffic, bump and sway, and are slow. They’re for those on a budget, only—but that may be quickly changing, thanks to sleeper buses.
Greyhound and MegaBus express options have long serviced much of the country with low, advance-purchase fares that are sometimes faster, and typically much cheaper, than Amtrak—although both set an admittedly low bar. Most trips offer onboard bathrooms, Wi-Fi, seating in pairs, electrical outlets, and little legroom or seat width to work with.
But not all buses are like that now. New bus lines operating luxury or lie-flat sleeper buses offer accommodations and services far beyond what Amtrak, airlines, or other bus lines can.
A new service called Cabin is offering lie-flat sleeper buses overnight between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Trips in either direction leave at 11:00 p.m. and arrive at about 7:00 a.m., give or take traffic. Cabin’s sleeper buses feature cubicles on each side of an aisle, stacked two high and equipped with full foam mattresses and bedding. Cubicles are 75 inches long, 25 inches high, and 26 to 31 inches wide, with individually controlled air conditioning, electrical outlets, privacy light shades, and USB ports. Vertical space is so limited that all you can do in one is lie back and maybe read a little or work on a computer or tablet. If you want to be more vertical, Cabin’s buses also have small lounge areas for use before/after sleeping. Cabin buses, which it calls “moving hotels,” also provide onboard snacks, a restroom, and Wi-Fi. The fare is $115 each way.
A contributor to the blog The Points Guy tried Cabin, and found everything to be shipshape and as advertised. He also found, however, that sleeping wasn’t easy due to constant highway curves and bumps.
When a sleeper bus is worth it
Paying $115 for a trip you can make on Southwest for less than $50 doesn’t initially sound like an attractive value proposition. But the $115 bus fare covers an overnight accommodation that would likely…