The skies are friendly; the passengers are not

That didn't take long at all ...

Sat, 2008/06/21 - 22:04 by aargh

Just recently, I predicted that the rise in air fares (driven by a rise in fuel costs) would send travelers running for the trains.

It's happened already: per Times article on the matter Amtrak has experienced a surge of passengers.

(Let me be the first to admit this prediction hardly makes me Nostradamus.)

The article continues to explain that Amtrak, having long been a second-class citizen behind the airline industry, has grown frail and is ill-prepared to take on former air passengers. The rail system is looking for more money to enhance its infrastructure.

That's all fine and good, but let's look beyond meeting today's demand:

My hope is that this renewed interest in rail transit will give birth to a high-speed rail system, the likes of which we see in Europe, to truly compete with the airline industry for a greater share of passengers.

Ticket cost is only one variable in the equation. The other is time.

Amtrak's Portland-Settle run clocks in over three hours. Detroit-Chicago is around five and a half, while Boston-New York is six. Those same journies by plane are all around one hour. If the train system can narrow that gap it could become a more realistic air alternative.

Time will tell.

"Travelers Shift to Rail as Cost of Fuel Rises"