The “Knight Bus” from Harry Potter goes Amish?

Local bus companies operating “line runs” to Florida in the winter for Amish snowbirds?  Old news.  Everyone knows the Amish from Lancaster County (who normally don’t fly on planes) take long-haul bus rides to sunny Sarasota to escape the colder months.  Or, just visit any Amtrak station in south-central PA in the winter and you’ll see Amish waiting for their southbound sunny express.  

However, one local Lancaster County bus company raised a few eyebrows when they established a line run of a completely different sort.  Enter “Mexico Connections.”  Melard Coach, out of Ephrata PA, took one of their 56-passenger motorcoaches and modified it to accommodate passengers on a Pennsylvania to Mexico journey.  However, this line run is not for vacationers, snowbirds, or spring breakers.  

The Mexico line run is for medical trips.  The Amish have long since gone to Mexico for certain medical procedures.  Being all-cash healthcare customers, they’d found thrift in seeking medical care in Tijuana and other Mexican border towns where their dollar goes much further in the healthcare market.  Simply put some complex procedures in the US can be purchased much cheaper in Mexico, even when factoring in the cost of traveling there and back, hotel stays while there, etc.  The reasons most Americans would not risk it don’t seem to faze the Amish.

The “Mexico Connections” motorcoach reminds me a little of the “Knight Bus” from the fantastical Harry Potter universe, what with bunks for weary travelers to sleep a wink, though the bunks are securely fastened to the floor on this real-world vehicle.  The motor coach will carry 24 passengers maximum, with bunks for 12.  In other words, there are not enough bunks for everyone to lay down at the same time, so travelers are encouraged to work out shifts where they each take turns sleeping.  

Additionally, there’s a couch, two tables, a coffee pot, a refrigerator, and a microwave.  Perhaps more importantly, in order for the motorcoach to be able to legally make such a long journey in only 48 hours, there are two drivers, who alternate driving responsibilities within maximum on-duty limitations. 

— Clinton Martin