Slog Comments

 

Comments (19) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
1
Yup.

I think it's starting to stick, after nearly thirty years of Rush Limbaugh. Most people are understanding that a well-funded government is needed to run the basics of society.
Posted by floater on January 7, 2013 at 2:00 PM · Report this
2
If car ownership were down, I would agree with your conclusion. Sadly, it's not. But it seems people are using their cars a little less, at least.
Posted by ian on January 7, 2013 at 2:07 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 3
If Amtrak had dedicated rail lines and did not stop at every little town between Seattle and Portland, taking the train back and forth for business and leisure would be attractive. As it stands now it's faster and easier to drive or take the Bolt. I do miss the Green Tortoise.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on January 7, 2013 at 2:07 PM · Report this
4
The shame of it is that nowadays rail travel produces far fewer greenhouse gas emissions and is far safer than car travel (since trains rarely crash), but we've spent close to 100 years funding infrastructure and planning cities around cars.
Posted by sahara29 on January 7, 2013 at 2:07 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 5
I find it amusing and mildly ironic that Ayn Rand's magnum opus is based on a railroad tycoon; meanwhile, back in reality, the only passenger trains now are government funded.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on January 7, 2013 at 2:13 PM · Report this
6
I am a part of that 0.8%. In 2011 I took the train quite regularly to Portland but haven't used it once since BoltBus became an option. It is better in nearly every way.
Posted by wxPDX on January 7, 2013 at 2:49 PM · Report this
7
a one percent increase isn' exactly flat.
Posted by ian on January 7, 2013 at 2:54 PM · Report this
8
It couldn't have anything to do with more people having busted budgets, could it? Recession-time travel trends don't necessarily reveal underlying preferences.
Posted by RonK, Seattle on January 7, 2013 at 2:57 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 9
What's a car?

By the way, a lot of the ads on TV have been for "get this car before it disappears".

Why?

Because the car manufacturers need to replace the sucky 10-30 mpg trucks/cars with 30-60 mpg trucks/cars.

So, either buy a Tata Nano (or another 80-100 mpg gasoline/diesel car), or get a cheap $15,000 60 mpg gas/diesel car (if you have kids), or ditch cars entirely (or share them).

Cause the 50's obsession with cars is going bye bye.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on January 7, 2013 at 3:14 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 10
@3 tied with @8 for the insightful win.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on January 7, 2013 at 3:15 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 11
A balanced transportation system is just that - balanced. I would sooner have the itch than ride a bus to Portland, but I am glad it is there for those who enjoy that sort of thing. (yes, yes, I know - wifi, big seats, etc. But it's still a bus. I have reached a point in my life where I can afford to not ride a bus, so I will not do so.)

Also, you make a common mistake when you talk about trains as being just about the end points. Very few people ride the Empire Builder from Seattle to Chicago, but they do ride it between Seattle and Minot, or Havre and Malta or Minneapolis and Milwaukee, etc. Given the reductions to rural air service and the slow death spiral of Greyhound, these trains become more and more essential to the regions they serve. They are services, well-patronized services (have you ever tried to book a room on the Empire Builder? They are regularly sold out, and they are expensive) not "money-losers" - a term which comes directly from the Heritage Foundation website, I believe.

(BTW, Why doesn't anyone ever talk about the Money Losing War in Afghanistan? OK, That was my hippy-dippy moment for the day)

Besides, if you were to eliminate the long-distance trains, the subsequent reduction in the Amtrak subsidy would be miniscule, but the states as a whole would have very little reason to continue to vote to continue rail service for a handful of mostly NE and western states. Amtrak's big overhead costs are in the NE, where it was handed a big stinking pile of poo in the form of the NE corridor in the early 70's. It's finally getting to a state of good repair, but it had not been well maintained by the private roads that were the predecessor to Amtrak. They were bankrupt because they couldn't make money on passenger service, and they were primarily passenger roads.

As for the Cascades, those small-town stops are vital to those small towns. There is a lot of traffic and tourism generated by almost all of them (with the exception of Kelso/Longview and Stanwood, which were politically driven stops) Those residents pay taxes too, so why not stop there? If you want speed, that's what the hipster bus services or Horizon's shuttles are for.

We can all just get along, transportation-wise, if we stop trying to pit one mode against another. Amtrak serves a purpose, and is a great bargain for the American Taxpayer. Roads and Air transportation are vital to the economy. Why are we even arguing about this?
More...
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay http://www.danlangdon.com on January 7, 2013 at 3:41 PM · Report this
12
I ceased to be interested in Bolt Bus when I saw the "Operated by Greyhound Lines" label on the side. Everyone I know who's ridden Greyhound has had a horrible experience, and I doubt a new paint scheme will help.
Posted by Orv on January 7, 2013 at 3:54 PM · Report this
13
Was doing a city tour of Puerto Vallarta today. They said that 70 percent of the residents used public transit. But that is because the typical wage earner can't afford a car, and even though they produce oil in Mexico, they keep domestic consumption down with high prices.

The streets of Puerto Vallarta look like this in some places:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=…
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on January 7, 2013 at 4:10 PM · Report this
DOUG. 14
@3: Amtrak stops 5 or 6 times between SEA and PDX. That's hardly "every little town".
Posted by DOUG. http://www.dougsvotersguide.com on January 7, 2013 at 4:23 PM · Report this
DOUG. 15
@12: I was forced to ride a Greyhound from Cleveland to Columbus two weeks ago. What sounds like a Circle of Hell was, in fact, quite pleasant.
Posted by DOUG. http://www.dougsvotersguide.com on January 7, 2013 at 4:48 PM · Report this
16
@11, terrific comment. Thanks.
Posted by gloomy gus on January 7, 2013 at 5:09 PM · Report this
Dougsf 17
I took Amtrak between Seattle and Portland a few weeks ago as part of my Holiday rounds. My train, and the train before it, were sold out. I had no idea so many people took them things these days.
Posted by Dougsf on January 7, 2013 at 6:10 PM · Report this
watchout5 18
I'm likely to use this system to travel this summer. The only reason I'd fly is for international visits and I'd regret it even though there's really no other good way to get across the pond. I don't agree with what the TSA does and I don't feel safe on planes with them in operation. It's cheaper, it's got more features, feels silly to fly just to pay for all the things the bus includes in their package. Leave the flying for the rich people, maybe they won't catch on and keep flying in those deathtraps in the sky.
Posted by watchout5 http://www.overclockeddrama.com on January 8, 2013 at 2:22 AM · Report this
Cracker Jack 19
I take Amtrak exclusively when traveling to Boston or DC. It's just such a better experience than airports and airplanes -- especially on Acela! I'm contemplating an NYC - Seattle trip, even though it's three days. The views alone might just be worth it. (If they had high speed and cut it to two days, it'd be a cert!)
Posted by Cracker Jack on January 8, 2013 at 6:19 AM · Report this

Add a comment

Commenting on this item is available only to registered commenters.