Friday, November 13, 2009

Not Really What It's For?

I know I live in that alternative universe known as the Northeast Corridor where we have good if not perfect passenger rail and, depending on the city, passable if far from awesome local public transit, but I'm always a bit struck by people who fail to comprehend the point and strengths of rail travel.

I looked up a ticket on Amtrak from Miami to DC and it was almost $400. I could have hopped a cheap commuter airline for half that. Until passenger rail is cheaper than air travel, its hopes for becoming popular are doomed.

It's over a thousand miles from Miami to DC. Even if there was a real 200 MPH top speed SUPERTRAIN it would still be, at best, a 7 hour trip given intermediate stops. That's a trip some people might take for various reasons (aversion to flying, sightseeing, potential greater reliability in bad weather seasons), but it wouldn't really directly compete with air travel.