BELLINGHAM - This isn't your grandfather's Greyhound.
The old long-distance bus company will add Bellingham to its express line called BoltBus starting Thursday, Oct. 4. The bus from Vancouver, B.C., to Portland, Ore., currently only stops in Seattle.
Maybe the most nontraditional of the new line's features is its flexible pricing. Fares are as low as $1 (plus a $1 booking fee) and increase according to demand.
Anything much more specific than that is a trade secret, said Greyhound spokesman Timothy Stokes.
"We don't give out averages for the ticket prices," he said. "There is at least one dollar fare on every BoltBus that operates."
At noon Monday, Oct. 1, $6 fares for the two-hour ride from Bellingham to Seattle were available on all five trips leaving Thursday, from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The BoltBus offers four trips each direction Monday through Wednesday and five trips Thursday through Sunday. It stops in Bellingham at Whatcom Transportation Authority's Cordata Station, at Cordata Parkway and Westerly Road.
WTA General Manager Richard Walsh told the transit agency's board of directors last month that the private express bus should boost business for the dozen WTA routes that use the station. Greyhound leases its use of the station for $200 a month.
BoltBus passengers can leave their vehicles at the Cordata park-and-ride for up to three days - longer with a pass provided by BoltBus.
What distinguishes BoltBus most from the familiar Greyhound buses are the express service and the amenities, Stokes said. Riders get free Wi-Fi, power outlets, and leather seats with extra legroom.
The line is considered express because it makes limited stops on its Northwest run. Greyhound chose Bellingham as its fourth stop over larger cities such as Tacoma because it was a good fit for its customers and the company, Stokes said.
Greyhound tracks service requests on social media for BoltBus, which has a Twitter feed and a Facebook page.
"We always do evaluate the market and see where we are being asked for more demand," Stokes said.
BoltBus has been in the area since May. It also operates buses in the Washington, D.C.-Boston corridor.
For more information and trip reservations, see BoltBus.com.
Reach RALPH SCHWARTZ at email@example.com or call 715-2289.