Monday, October 11, 2010

HuffPo chooses bus over rail

Liberals love to spend YOUR money on trains, but when it comes time to spend their own money, they invariably choose buses instead.

Liberal columnist Arianna Huffington didn't want Jon Stewart to embarass himself with an empty "Rally to Restore Sanity." So she offered to transport participants from New York City to Washington, DC.

So far she has arranged 100 motor coaches at a cost of about $250,000. Each bus seats an average of 50 people, making the complimentary round trip fare worth about $50 a head.

Rail service is plentiful between NYC and DC. The northeast corridor carries 1/3 of all rail passengers in the whole country. Why not take the train? For a round trip bewtween Penn Station & Union Station departing 10/29/10 and retunring 10/31/10, Amtrak's cheapest fare is about $100. That's regular snail rail, which takes about 3-1/2 hours each way, not the 80MPH (average speed) Acela, which is $270 round trip.

But the important thing to remember is that, at those fares, the bus company is MAKING money, while Amtrak is LOSING money.

When planning your travel, make the the fiscally responsible choice, like Arianna did. Ditch the rail and look for a bus. Or if you're fortunate enough to still have a job, and can't spare the time away for a travel day, drive.


  1. Once again, COAST is only giving cherry picked information. Conservatives LOVE to say how Amtrak loses money, while rail investment is funded by less than 1% of the DOT budget. So, they LOVE to use your money for roads, and pretend like it doesn't cost you anything. Somehow, roads just happened to get built at 100 to 1 investment. Hmmmm... could it have anything to do with COAST ventures being supported by the Koch Brothers? They are a privately held oil company.

    Yeah, you're right COAST, rail costs money, but all those roads are free, just like the military is free, and farm subsidies are free, etc. etc. etc.

  2. ^For the first 50 years of the highway program it was fully funded solely by the people who used it. Then transit parasites began siphoning off money to pay for rail boondoggles. No surprise that it eventually it went into deficit.

    When left alone, highways pay their own way. When rail tries to stand on its own, it bankrupts everything it touches.

    You got a name and number for this Koch outfit? As long as we're ripping on rail anyway, we might as well help out a business that actually contributes to the economy.

  3. The cost effectiveness of COAST's driving scenario collapses if parking costs in Manhattan and Washington, DC are considered. Or should people be able to park their vehicles on the Mall for free?

    The buses will be leaving from 560 Broadway in Manhattan. There is zero parking there or anywhere else on the island, meaning virtually everyone who gets on a bus will have ridden the subway to get there. Moreover, Amtrak passenger trains cannot be chartered on short notice, and if 5,000 people are in fact bused to Washington, at least five trains would be necessary to move that many people. It is doubtful that Amtrak has five spare trains available for that one day, or that five trains could be fit into the extremely tight Northeast Corridor timetable, or that there is space for five trains to sit idle in Washington DC's Union Station for the afternoon.

    Yet another disastrous post by COAST.

  4. ^Gotta call B.S. on you Jake. Amtrak routinely runs half empty. And with seven trains a day between NYC and DC (not including the Acela Boondoggle), they should be able to absorb 5,000 extra passengers with no special scheduling at all.

  5. Got to call your B.S. Most cars on the road are 75% empty, yet no complaint from COAST about spending $3 billion -- the same as six pro football stadiums -- to build a new Brent Spence Bridge that will be free to drive across. Why not encourage car pooling and save the coast of this new bridge?

    The rally in Washington is at 12 noon. According to Amtrak's website, there are six trains to Washington that arrive by 11:30am. They leave at 3:00am, 5:45am, 6:45am, 7:05am, 8:00am, and 8:05am. The Acela's have a seating capacity of 303, the Northeast Regional's have a seating capacity of 600-700 on average. One of the trains is an overnight train, probably with a capacity of 500 or less.

    So including the 3am train and the other train with sleeper cars, there is a total seating capacity on Saturday October 30 of less than 4,000. COAST loses again at simple math. A chartered train could carry almost 1,000 people by switching out the dining car and baggage car for coaches, but again, I doubt that five or six spare trains physically exist in the Northeast Corridor. The symphony orchestras of the East Coast cities charter trains to play in neighboring cities, but they obviously fit on just one train.

    >Then transit parasites began siphoning off money

    Why is COAST so opposed to highways paying their own way? Why aren't state and federal gasoline taxes raised automatically with inflation instead of Congress silently bailing out the highway trust fund with treasury bills?

    When transit companies were private, they paid federal gasoline tax for several years before the Interstate Highways were built. But the highways themselves often destroyed high density urban neighborhoods, dispersing the population. I-75 destroyed Cincinnati's West End and destroyed the finances of the Cincinnati Transit Company. For seven years they paid federal gasoline tax only to have that tax fund the bulldozing of their most profitable ridership area. Just ask Tom Luken.

  6. ^Been holding our breath for ages waiting for one of you trolley-types to put together an anti-bridgedoggle petition. We'll commit to gathering a couple hundred signatures.

    Why are you so hung-up on chartering a train? Amtrak can't hold to normal schedules. This kind of massive last minute disruption would sink them. That's why we posited a 1 day travel window either side of the event. That fits how crowds travel and has the advantage that even Amtrak could actually pull it off with their usual schedule.

    COAST loves nothing more than transportation that pays its own way. Gas taxes aren't indexed because inflation was historically a non-issue. Now that it is, folks don't want their gas taxes raised to subsidize trains they won't use. Use gas taxes for gas transport, and we're fine with indexing (see our mission statement).

    Sorry about the West End, but if interstates had bypassed cities as originally planned, urban demise would have been much worse. Folks don't like living all scrunched together. When technologies came along that allowed them to affordably spread out, they took the opportunity. No one held a gun to their heads, they chose it. Mass transit became a casualty of individual mobility. That's progress; more people going wherever they want, whenever they want. It's a good thing.

  7. Mayor Mallory told me these allegations are false. Of course any group of liberals traveling from NY to DC would use public transportation if it was available. What do you think we are, hypocrites? Our fellow liberals are only using buses because there is no rail to use. You COAST people are horrible!

  8. Koch Brothers= Americans for Prosperity
    sound familiar?
    It has been touted on your website, you might want to look and see who you are actually joining forces with.

  9. transit freak BS detectorOctober 12, 2010 at 10:32 PM

    Anon -
    COAST's campaign finances are a matter of public record. Anyone with half a brain and 15 minutes of spare time can pull their campaign finance reports. If you did so, you would see that neither the Koch brothers or Americans for Prosperity have given one single solitary dime to COAST. Once again, you fail at simple math. I call bs on you.


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