A Mass Transit New England Ramble

Sep 6th, 2010 | By | Category: High Speed Rail, Mass Transit, New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Line, Top Story, Transportation

The biggest problem with American public transportation is that it lacks a critical mass. The infrequent service is more of a problem than the slow speeds, which could be padded over with comfortable seats, wifi, and better coffee. Amtrak has only one train a day north of Springfield, which in turn has one train to Boston and spotty bus service. Little wonder everyone drives.

Why throw money at high-speed rail when Amtrak runs on such dilatory schedules? Spend the money, instead, on more traditional rail cars and engines, which are in short supply, or hire some Swiss conductors and engineers to keep to the schedules.

Leaving out the $80 cost of the rental car, my travels cost less than $125. And although I loved being on trains and ferries, there is something shabby about public transportation, as though it’s headed for obscurity, rather than for the President’s brave, new high-speed world.

Back home, the question on my mind was: If you had $8 billion, would you let Amtrak manage it?

Matthew Stevenson is the author of Remembering the Twentieth Century Limited, winner of Foreword’s bronze award for best travel essays at this year’s BEA. He is also editor of Rules of the Game: The Best Sports Writing from Harper’s Magazine. He lives in Switzerland.

via A Mass Transit New England Ramble | Newgeography.com.

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One Comment to “A Mass Transit New England Ramble”

  1. On Sept. 4, I took Amtrak from Croton – Harmon, NY, on the Hudson River, up
    to Westport NY on the NYC-to-Montreal line. There were two National Park
    Service VOLUNTEERS in the café car giving a terrific lecture about the
    French & Indian War, the Adirondack region, the Champlain Canal and lots
    more. It was a beautiful and informative trip, and I hope to go again in the
    winter, seeing the scenery from the glass dome car (a vintage piece of
    equipment from the ’40s) that is another feature of this trip on certain
    days. Rail is the way to go whenever possible. Let’s demonstrate our
    support.

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