Word on the street: Amtrak

June 30, 2008 at 11:28 am Leave a comment

With gas prices soaring, will Amtrak become a more popular method for traveling within the U.S.?  Last year they saw an increase of 12% in riders.  The problems with Amtrak: 

  1. It’s slow.  Really slow.  Driving from Cary, NC to Washington, DC takes about 4.5 hours.  On Amtrak, that’ll be 6.5-7 hrs, depending on which route you catch.
  2. It’s not that cheap.  That trip to DC is $44 one way, looking at one month from today.  The trip is 285 miles according to Google Maps, so, at 30 miles per gallon and $4.20 per gallon, that’s $40 in gas.  Plus, if I were to drive, then I’d have the convenience of having my own car.  I could stop at the Ikea in Woodbridge or swing by Richmond to meet a friend for lunch.
  3. Service areas are limited.  My parents live in Asheville, and I’m in the Triangle.  I hate the drive and would love to just ride the train.  There’s a station in Cary that’s pretty convenient for me, but… I’d have to ride in to Greenville, SC and ask them to come pick me up (a 45 minute drive one way).  Plus, that 3.5 hour drive to Asheville can become a 7 hour train ride for $61.  Ugh!

Amtrak train

I’d love to have train service as they do in Europe, but that doesn’t look likely anytime soon.  Read more about the problems with U.S. train service from Charlie Loecha and Ned Levi at Tripso.


Entry filed under: News, Planes, trains, autos, boats.

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