Thursday, February 11, 2010

Trains vs. Planes

China's two largest airlines claim that they are losing business because of the emergence of the high-speed rail network. It seems that short flights are being replaced by the train service because it doesn't take any longer to travel by train in such instances. This argument makes a lot of sense when considering that airports in China are in the outskirts of cities and require more time to check in and go through security. The trains are usually more centrally located and don't require as much time at security checks. Also, the trains cost less than plane tickets.

In contrast, the US train network still sucks. We have one high-speed rail line between Boston and Washington, D.C. And it's not a cheap ride. We've been promised more high-speed rail lines across the nation, but progress is painfully slow. Even the other train lines aren't worth using. Back in July, I wanted to take the train from northern New Jersey to Pittsburgh (or towns nearby). The train ride would have taken almost twice as long and cost three times as much as driving. It would have cost about the same to fly to Pittsburgh.

If the US ever builds a decent high-speed rail network, we may finally stop hearing about United's horrible customer service because they'll go out of business instead of filing for bankruptcy again.

1 comment:

Dorothy Rimson said...

China people..Are they getting ahead of us in technology?