After that very brief vacation, we bid adieu to Montreal, lugged our one carryon trolley and individual backpacks, and metroed it Centreville Bus Station.
Hotel De Ville in Old Montreal
Owing to the early departure time, we decided to have a quick breakfast at the bus stop, after checking their opening time the day prior. By coincidence we got a table at the cafe with a view of the no. 17 gate. The screen said Plattsburgh but it was a Greyhound bus. I double-checked with the bus driver since we purchased Adirondack tickets. The buses must be operating similar to how airlines do code shares since he checked our tickets and said, yep, we’re on his bus. 30 minutes before the gate opened, the French speaking guy announced he would be scanning and stamping tickets. 15 minutes after, the driver opened the gate and took the tickets before we stepped into the bus.
The difference between the Canadian Customs and the US Customs was apparent at the border. A US CBP officer boarded the bus and told us:
No bags inside the building;
Bring passport and cash (cellphones were permitted);
Show return ticket and be ready with the address where you’ll be staying in the US; and
Wait in the waiting area until told to board the bus
Unlike the small office of the Canadian border, the US Customes office was small but official looking. There was no doubt travelers were on US soil. CBP officers sat behind cubicles with the camera and finger print scanners ready. While it appeared intimidating, the officer who interviewed us was friendly and even joked with us.
We didn’t get finger scanned or photographed, which was strange, since we were always asked to at the Boston Logan International Airport. Others were so we’re not sure what the protocol was. We were given yellow bus pass, which we then surrendered to the CBP officer when we exited the building. The wait wasn’t long, probably less than 30 minutes, when one of the officers said we could board the bus. The bus driver did tell us that the day before, on Labor Day, the wait was horrendous since people were going back to the US. Tip: Avoid traveling to the US on the same day that masses of people are traveling back.
Since there were no major delays at the customs, we arrived at the bus stop early, the same Dunkin Donut/A&W/Grocery store. As luck would have it, the same taxi saw our bus and followed. He didn’t even plan on going to the bus stop and was simply driving at the highway. How’s that for great timing? Fare was the same at $15 plus tips.
When we checked in around 9:45 am, the staff said security wasn’t open yet so I plugged in my charger at one of the wall sockets and started typing.
There were no chairs and technologically dependent travelers sat on the floor, plugged in their chargers, and buried their noses in their devices until Security waved people over.
It was a rainy and slightly turbulent flight back to Boston via Pen Air but we were grateful we didn’t get delayed. The procedure was the same, we left our carry on bags at the steps before we walked up to the plane and collected it at the bottom of the stairs when we arrived in Boston.