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admin 14.10.2013

I just returned from an overnight train trip on Amtrak a couple of days ago, riding the Crescent from Meridian, Mississippi, into Penn Station, after completing the southbound trip a week earlier. We, as advocates of good ground transportation, have been segregated into the slums of public policy with a bunch of pass-riding sentimental blowhards that reflect nothing of the people on the trains.
When I took Amtrak from Buffalo to San Francisco a dozen years ago, and again from San Francisco to NYC a year later, it WAS cheaper than flying. And use their Guest Rewards program to get traveler miles to use for free trips in the future. I don’t know if anyone has noticed or not but the airlines are all bankrupt and their farebox recovery rates are really not much higher than AMTRAKs. We have produced many, many airplanes since the 50s and eliminated lots of track in the same period. Apparently there used to be passenger rail service, and I’m wondering if there could be plans with so much talk about rail in other parts of the country.


Anyway, thanks again for the shoutout and for alllowing me to participate in the conversation. Word On The Street “The entire area around the Botanical Garden is a pedestrian nightmare, and unfortunately, the institution has shown no interest in improving safety. It's a route I've traveled before, one of dozens of long-distance hauls I've made on Amtrak over the last 20 or so years. Amtrak’s customer base includes students, business people (even in the middle of America), minorities, and women with their families.…I think an Internet community can more easily reach out to people of different age groups and backgrounds and include them in the national discussion. Now, the airlines are selling seats at below cost and charging it to (1) business customers and (2) the government (in the form of going bankrupt).
In order to enjoy passenger rail service, I need to board a bus, head north on I-17 to Flagstaff OR head south on I-10 to a smaller town on the outskirts of the Valley. Inconsistent bike transit policies made it impossible for me to bring my bike on my journey (some trains require box, some prohibit box, bus depends on driver mood).


And while it may be wishful thinking, I felt like there was an improved mood on the train this time, among both crew and passengers.
Amtrak supplements rail service with a long bus route up the coast from Oakland, a long, windy, mountainous (and spectacular) route. I heard several hopeful conversations in the dining car about the future of intercity rail travel in this country.



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