We had a very favorable experience taking PolskiBus from Gdansk to Warsaw. Our trip from Warsaw to Wroclaw was also a positive one although we quickly found out the ice cream is not served on every PolskiBus journey. Nevertheless, the experience was very good; the bus was clean, the seats were comfortable and the bus ran on time.
Our Experience with LinkBus
Unfortunately, PolskiBus did not offer service between Wroclaw and Krakow, so we were forced to find an alternative. Again our research indicated that the bus was the quickest and most affordable mode of transportation. We found a line called LinkBus and booked tickets online. Overall the experience on LinkBus was good, but it did not quite measure up to trips we made on PolskiBus. Booking tickets online was not as easy, the bus was not quite as nice or as clean. However, it was still a comfortable, clean, safe, and efficient ride between the two cities.
Our Experience with Orange Ways
On our final bus trip in Poland we confirmed that not all bus lines are created equal. We needed to get to Budapest. Two bus lines, Orange Ways and EuroLines, have periodic service between Krakow and Budapest. Service is only available on select days, so we had to base our decision on which company fit best with our itinerary. Orange Ways aligned best with our schedule so we booked online from a shaky website.
The Orange Ways bus arrived into the station about 20 minutes prior to the scheduled departure. First of all, it was difficult to identify the bus as it was a plain white bus with no branding. A sheet of paper in the front window was the only indication of the bus’ route. Other bus lines have the destination in lights across the front of a bus.
We showed our tickets to the gentleman loading the luggage under the bus but he didn’t really seem to care. He took our bag and we made our way onto the bus. There was no formal ticket check and the bus had a funky smell. Others noticed it too…we heard an Aussie proclaim, “Eww. It stinks in here!” while boarding.
The bus pulled out of the station and we were off, but without any sort of announcement from the driver. Our other long distance bus trips always started with some type of announcement that typically included the destination name. We soon realized the bus did not have a restroom on board which was surprising considering that trip was seven hours. We definitely noticed people getting restless a couple hours into the trip! At one point, an older man came from the back and tried to get into a closet for 2-3 minutes before giving up. Luckily, the bus did eventually make a 20 minute stop at the halfway point in a small town.
The bus was definitely older and not terribly clean. Additionally, Kevin found the seats to be pretty uncomfortable for such a long journey. Our arrival into Budapest was also a bit strange. The bus pulled up to a corner (near the train station and metro), opened the doors and the driver got out and started unloading bags. No one was quite prepared for the abrupt stop. Unfamiliar with the area, it seemed odd. However, as we made our way to the Metro, the signage did indicate that our drop-off point was indeed the location of the buses.
Based on our experience, we still think that bus transportation is a very good option for traveling in eastern Europe. However, we now appreciate the higher end brands like PolskiBus. The experience on the various lines can vary greatly.