Yes, it is reliable. You are smart to buy tickets early. Here is why- they sell tickets at first (in advance) at a cheap fare then later raise the price. It's good that you don't mind less leg space because you will be crammed in with others like sardines in a can. The seats are VERY close together. On the other hand, on most of them, your seat can recline a bit (often leather seats) and even to the side. Use a restroom before leaving- the bus toilets will induce claustrophobia. Teeny tiny. On the plus side, the buses have heat and air conditioning. They tend to be noisy with people using electronics and making a racket. If you are getting on at the beginning of the bus' route, be there early. Loading might begin a half hour or more before the bus leaves. Personally after trying it, we decided the train was better. We like space. Traffic will determine when the bus gets to stops. It sounds like you are getting on at the beginning of the route so you can just sit and relax.