The greater New York area has one of the best train networks in the country. However, there are some major gaps in this network. West of the Hudson, these gaps are filled by an extensive bus network. It's not as convenient as the train, but most towns from Point Pleasant Beach to Albany have daily bus service, with routes stretching deep into the Poconos and Catskills. These are relatively new, clean, comfortable buses, and most of northern New Jersey has hourly service or better. Much of it is provided by private operators at a profit.
Now let's look east of the Hudson. There are three major private companies, which stick to established routes: Bonanza up the Hudson and Housatonic valleys; Bonanza, Peter Pan and Greyhound along the shore and up the Connecticut River valley.
The State of Connecticut and the New York counties of Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess run subsidized bus systems, much of which is the infrequent, indirect "charity bus" service familiar to transit advocates from other parts of the country. Of these public systems, only one, the Westchester Bee-Line, brings passengers to the city, and only one Bee-Line route, the BxM4C, goes to Manhattan. (Judging by the name, I'm guessing that this route is a relic of the express bus routes formerly operated by Liberty Lines, which runs the Bee-Line system under contract to the county. The BxM4A and B, which did not go into Westchester, are now operated by the MTA Bus Company.)
On Long Island, there's one major private bus company, Hampton Jitney, which offers near-hourly service from Manhattan to and from the South Fork, and less-frequent service to the North Fork and Westhampton. Intercity carriers New York Trailways and Coachusa each offer three runs a day from their core areas in the Catskills and Adirondacks through Nanuet, White Plains and Queens Village to Hempstead and other major towns on Long Island. I'm pretty sure that Greyhound offers at least one run a day, but I don't have more details.
Local bus service in Nassau County is provided by Long Island Bus, which is under the MTA umbrella. There is very frequent service on some lines (for example, Hempstead Turnpike sees buses every few minutes at some times), and others not so much. The Town of Huntington is served by Huntington Area Rapid Transit, and the rest of Suffolk County by Suffolk Transit, and both of those are charity bus services.
Coming up, I'll talk about how this dichotomy affects commuting patterns, and what it means for future transit development.