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Old 06-07-2013, 03:08 PM
 
Location: Decatur, GA
7,216 posts, read 5,821,073 times
Reputation: 4956

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If Amtrak is sooooo expensive and driving soooo much cheaper, then why is Amtrak showing record ridership with sold-out trains? That's cross-country too, not just the corridors.
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Old 06-07-2013, 03:18 PM
 
10,974 posts, read 9,847,454 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
So, if I have the foresight to book a train ticket two weeks out, I can pay....

$200 roundtrip (me and the wife) but only if I leave DC at 3am; or

$70 on gas + $50 in tolls (less with EZ Pass) = $120 to drive; or

$32 roundtrip on Bolt for the same dates (for two people).

In a straight cost-to-cost comparison, the train only beats driving, and that's only if I'm by myself. If I have my wife and a couple of friends, there's clearly more financial incentive for us all to just pile into my car.

The only way I'm taking Amtrak is if my firm pays for it. The $80 to $168 I save by either driving or taking the Bolt is worth more than saving the environment to me. And the train is not saving time anyway since the cheap tickets are not express trains, but rather the regional connectors. If you want the Acela on the 26th, you're paying $199.

So I don't see any reason to take Amtrak unless someone else is footing the bill. It makes sense for business travel. But it makes little sense from a personal perspective unless you really just enjoy trains that much.
This is a good example of the flawed math that happens with cars. People just calculate gas (and tolls in this case). The total cost of travel in a car is more like 55 cents a mile.
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Old 06-07-2013, 03:28 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
30,714 posts, read 31,946,473 times
Reputation: 13798
Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
I meant 3-6 pm it's $49 each way.
I understood exactly what you meant. I just said that the Acela costs way more money. I also factored in the cost of traveling with a spouse, but I guess you single guys don't have to worry about that, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
The regional connector is still faster, since it's leaving NYC near rush hour (the bus will lose traffic time).
The regional connector will probably save me about 30-45 minutes on average. That 30-45 minutes is not worth $168. Even if it were a whole hour faster, it still wouldn't be worth it given the price disparity. Is that 30-45 mins worth $168 to you?

Now if I'm being sent down there and my firm is going to pay for the ticket, then yeah, I'd love to take the train. But I'm not coming out of my $98 when I can take the Bolt Bus for $16 roundtrip. That's a waste of money.
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Old 06-07-2013, 03:35 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
30,714 posts, read 31,946,473 times
Reputation: 13798
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsvh View Post
This is a good example of the flawed math that happens with cars. People just calculate gas (and tolls in this case). The total cost of travel in a car is more like 55 cents a mile.
It's not flawed math. It's a reality I have to deal with at least once a month.

For me and my wife to travel to DC on Amtrak, it would cost (at the lowest) $196 roundtrip (assuming we can wake up at the butt crack of dawn or leave work in the middle of the day).

We could take the Bolt for $32 roundtrip.

And we could drive for about $120 roundtrip.

Given those three choices, which one would you choose if you were me? We have to pay rent, a mortgage (in DC), cell phone bills, Time Warner, a car payment, ConEdison, student loans, etc., etc. Am I supposed to fork over extra money for the love of the choo choo train?
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Old 06-07-2013, 03:55 PM
 
Location: Decatur, GA
7,216 posts, read 5,821,073 times
Reputation: 4956
Amtrak, because I don't have all day to be wasting around on some slow bus. Regionals take 3:24, Acelas take 2:45, that bus takes 4:15, and I doubt it has food service.
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Old 06-07-2013, 03:59 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
30,714 posts, read 31,946,473 times
Reputation: 13798
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattCW View Post
If Amtrak is sooooo expensive and driving soooo much cheaper, then why is Amtrak showing record ridership with sold-out trains? That's cross-country too, not just the corridors.
You're acting like I made that up or something. It is cheaper to drive. The cost of driving between Atlanta and Charlotte is approximately $66. If I were to use the same dates that nei used, the trip would cost you $174. A roundtrip ticket next week would cost you $112. How is driving not cheaper? That's what people are going to look at when making the decision to drive or take some other mode of transit.

Would you still take the train despite the fact driving would be at least $56 less? Would you take a wife? Wife and two kids? Would you be willing to pay $448 to take your family to Charlotte when you could have made the same trip for $66?

As air travel goes up in price, it's not surprising that train ridership is going up. But that doesn't mean that every single metro in America deserves HSR, does it? Of the 25 busiest Amtrak stations in the United States, none of them are located in the South.

List of busiest Amtrak stations - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Last edited by BajanYankee; 06-07-2013 at 04:08 PM..
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Old 06-07-2013, 04:07 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
30,714 posts, read 31,946,473 times
Reputation: 13798
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattCW View Post
Amtrak, because I don't have all day to be wasting around on some slow bus. Regionals take 3:24, Acelas take 2:45, that bus takes 4:15, and I doubt it has food service.
Well, you're clearly making more money than me (and more important too!). I'd rather keep the $168 in my pocket and take that extra 45 minutes to reorganize an iTunes playlist. The regional connector can sometimes take as long as the bus anyway.
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Old 06-07-2013, 06:33 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
30,714 posts, read 31,946,473 times
Reputation: 13798
I didn't know there was a highly documented connection between a fascination with trains and autism.

Trains and Autism | Autism Key
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Old 06-07-2013, 07:05 PM
 
1,697 posts, read 2,086,542 times
Reputation: 1337
Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
I didn't know there was a highly documented connection between a fascination with trains and autism.

Trains and Autism | Autism Key
Why is this posted here?
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Old 06-07-2013, 07:09 PM
 
93 posts, read 101,975 times
Reputation: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
I didn't know there was a highly documented connection between a fascination with trains and autism.

Trains and Autism | Autism Key
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