The East Coast bus wars just found their Switzerland: BusJunction.com, a new website that combs through discount fares on a dozen of the big bus lines that ply the major routes between Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston (as well as further west in hubs like Cleveland, Buffalo, Chicago). As founder Matthew Keller told us in an email, "We think it's a lot like Kayak.com, but for bus tickets." Well put, and like Kayak.com, its secret lies in its simplicity. Plug in your desired route and date, and the results page outputs your options in a cleanly designed interface that lists price, departure time, journey duration, and whether or not the bus has add-ons like WiFi or power outlets. As a test, we plugged in a last-minute escape to NYC from D.C. for tonight and got a fare on MegaBus for $19; you can search further out (up to six weeks) and score fares for as little as $5. The site launched on April 8 and is still in beta mode but we like what we see so far (it would be nice to be able to search on round trips instead of just the existing one-way option, but we suspect that's in the pipeline). Of course, while we can vouch for the middleman, we won't speak to the variable quality of service on some of those bus lines once you hit the road. Note that bookings are made on the bus lines' websites, so no worries there regarding credit-card security or ticket authenticity.
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