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Train and Bus Travel

Amtrak estimates that no more than 5,100 children per year travel unaccompanied on its trains. Greyhound estimates far fewer unaccompanied children on its bus routes. In part this low number reflects the fact that most long-distance travel is done by plane, but it also has to do with strict train and bus regulations.

Amtrak will not allow children under the age of 8 to travel unaccompanied, subject to the following restrictions:

  • All trips must be scheduled for daylight hours
  • Unaccompanied children cannot transfer to another train or to a bus
  • Children must depart from and arrive at fully staffed stations; an Amtrak stop with only a ticketing machine is off limits
  • Whoever takes the child to the train must fill out a form authorizing Amtrak to let the child travel alone
  • The Amtrak agent who makes the arrangements must ask the child who is meeting him or her
  • Children traveling unaccompanied pay the full adult fare

Greyhound’s requirements are similar, with the following additional restrictions:

  • The child’s trip cannot be for more than 250 miles
  • The child must sit in the first two rows of the bus and must get the driver’s permission to get off the bus at rest stops

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