In short, New York Airport Service which I used to get from Manhattan to LGA or JFK has deteriorated in its service quality to the point where I would not recommend anybody to use it.
In the past two years, whenever I had to fly out of LGA or JFK, I used NY Airport Service (NYAS) from Grand Central. For about $20 you can get to JFK in about 40 minutes (depending on when you fly out, of course). The buses were not the cleanest, but they ran on schedule and picked up passengers from Grand Central (corner of 42nd street and Park Avenue). I never had to wait for more than 10 minutes – as soon as particular bus arrives, they would let you load your luggage into the bus and take a seat. Tickets are collected quickly, and off you go.
Recently, I had to fly out to Chicago for an interview, and having to fly out of LGA, I followed the established routine – book the shuttle online, take a train to Grand Central and walk over to the corner of 42nd and Park. For some reason the buses looked newer, which I took as a good sign. Alas, my joy was short-lived – apparently the buses I saw belonged to a different shuttle company and I was told to wait inside (there is a small ticket location on Park Avenue side). There I had to wait for 20 minutes before the buses that “are not here yet”, according to a man who was apparently in charge. It should be noted that in the past people who worked for NY Airport Service wore uniform – this gentleman wore regular suit and tie. 25 minutes later, the buses were still not there, at which point people waiting in line started expressing their concern, to which one of the NYAS staff replied with simple “they are not here yet, do you want your money back?”. Not exactly the communication you’d hope for.
Another 5 minutes passed by and we were told that the bus is here and we can board. Strangely enough, the boarding was not on Park Avenue sidewalk, but “there behind the corner”, on 41st street. When the crowd, which was already wondering if it should have spent extra and just get a cab, made it to the said location, lo and behold, there was no bus and not even a uniformed staff to direct us. Another 5 minutes later waiting while periodically running back to the ticket booth, and we finally here that the “bus” is here. A small side-track here – if you go to NYAS website, in the center of the page you see a picture of Motor Coach Industries Detroit Diesel series 60 bus – and up until recent times, those are exactly the buses they were running. What we saw, unfortunately was a van. Granted, it was newer, but still it had just enough space for us.
Once we loaded up into the van, we were puzzled to hear the driver of the van argue with staff member as to where he is going. According to the driver he WANTED to go to JFK, despite the fact that passengers that were already loaded were going to LGA. Eventually, the driver was convinced that he needs to go to LGA, at which point we started started moving and collecting the tickets. in the process it became clear that out of 7 passengers, 5 were going to LGA and 2 were going to JFK!
One of the passengers told us that apparently NYAS’ contract expired (not certain which contract it is) and now they use vans instead of buses and pick people up in a different location.
I’m sad to see a good service go down the drain, but it is obvious that NYAS dropped the ball. I don’t think I’ll use their service anymore.