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  1.    #1  
    Just wondering because I was planning a trip and noticed that Amtraks (Coach SEATED) seats were as much or more than taking the plane... Which gets me there in a matter of hours not days. What do you amtrak travellers do to keep prices down? Why are they so expensive in the first place?

    Mike
  2. #2  
    We live in the US. The home of the automobile. Americans don't use trains...how so...European.

    Ah the US. We sure hate our mass transit options, don't we!

    Amtrak is a government subsidized pit. It charges so much because they need to to stay afloat. There just isn't enough demand for it. Which is a shame. It probably doesn't help that most passenger service stations have long been closed for 20-something years now. Amtrak has to become financially self-supportive in a year or two. That will probably mean the end of cross-country passenger rail in this country.

    Amtrak recently debuted their new 'bullet' train out East this past fall. It goes about as fast as european trains of the 60s. It's so great to only be 40 years behind Europe in rail technology!
    We're all naked if you turn us inside out.
    -David Byrne
  3. #3  
    I took the train from Toronto to Kalamazoo, MI once. (yup, i took the train to kalamazoo....Dr. Seuss right?)

    it was pretty fun, the 'bar car' was a great time. if you're not in a hurry, the train is a pretty good time! we met a group of wives from detroit going to chicago on a shopping trip and a bunch of other people heading out west and down to st. louis. it's definately more social than the plane.

    personally, i liked it better!
    wow, it's been awhile.....things have REALLY changed...why is my Visor Edge still in my hand? Will a Treo fit better?
  4.    #4  
    Thanks for the replies it really makes sense. The technology behind our trains is just WAY too far behind. I don't know why they don't jump ahead of our European counterparts.. Actually sounds like our mobile technology situation too.. We're way behind...
  5. #5  
    Mike:

    We (in the US) tend to be a completely free-market society. I don't think that is ideal. Some things, the government should control...to an extent...for the benefit of the people.

    IMHO, I would say health care, communications, and transportation should have more standardized regulations, as all three are really designed to help the average citizen of this country.

    I get SOOO tired of having to deal with insurance companies vs. HMOs, ALL of the idiotic phone companies, and the 'we'll change rates whenever we want to' airlines.

    just my opinion, mind you...

    And if you can afford to take the train, it certainly is a fun time. We used to take it from Upstate New York to Manitoba, CA every year. A great, relaxing way to travel.

    Now, if they would just build a high speed train from Minneapolis to Chicago...
    We're all naked if you turn us inside out.
    -David Byrne
  6. #6  
    Speaking of Manitoba, ask somebody there, or in Japan, or in England about the quality of their healthcare compared to America's, and waiting in line at the doctor in their government subsidized healthcare system.

    As for why Amtrak can't/won't upgrade their rail service, it is all a matter of capital. It would take a huge amount of money to rebuild all railroads and get them up to European standards (read: faster). Amtrak is already in the red, so I am sure they would have a hard time justifying to Congress why they need however many hundreds of billions of dollars to upgrade their already under-used and over-priced service.
  7. #7  
    Originally posted by na2rboy
    As for why Amtrak can't/won't upgrade their rail service, it is all a matter of capital. It would take a huge amount of money to rebuild all railroads and get them up to European standards (read: faster). Amtrak is already in the red, so I am sure they would have a hard time justifying to Congress why they need however many hundreds of billions of dollars to upgrade their already under-used and over-priced service.
    I totally agree. In Europe, there's more usage of the rail system to transport freight, that in the US gets hauled by our friendly neighborhood teamsters (trucks). If the trucking industry had a lesser share of the freight transport in the US, and more items were carried by freight trains, I'd think that we (US) would have a much more enhanced rail system.

    If there were more Corporations footing the bill for national rail maintenance and expansion, we would certainly have a better rail system. The government would most likely foot more of the bill as well. Think of all the subsidized plans there are for truckers right now... (this is in no way a beef with the truckers, who deserve more than they get - Diesel prices have gone thru the roof for them)

    I love the rail system in Europe, and have taken a few trips in the US via rail, for the adventure alone, which was really cool. Come to think of it, I didn't even baulk at the pricing, or compare it to plane fares... It's more rush-rush in the US, so the passenger rail system doesn't get used as must as it really should. It's kind of a shame.
  8. #8  
    Speaking of Manitoba, ask somebody there, or in Japan, or in England about the quality of their healthcare compared to America's, and waiting in line at the doctor in their government subsidized healthcare system.
    Don't we wait in line here in the US, too? I'd much rather wait in line than deal with the insurance vs. HMO industry here.

    Yes, we have excellent health care in this country...for those that can afford it.
    We're all naked if you turn us inside out.
    -David Byrne
  9. #9  
    Ask them about the length of the lines. For example,I have family members who lived in Japan for ten years, and if you get sick, you do not make an appointment. You just go to the doctor and wait until he can see you. My uncle dreaded getting sick because of the waits--3 hours sometimes.
  10. #10  
    Originally posted by na2rboy
    [B...]because of the waits--3 hours sometimes. [/B]
    Three hours is a long time? Sometimes my doctors office can't make you an appointment until the next day. Obviously you don't have to wait outside the office overnight, but even when you get there it can take a good hour until you get seen (if they are busy).

    Your Uncle should have gotten himself a Visor . Would have made the wait a lot easier!
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  11. #11  
    when i was in canada, i made appointments with the family doctor and usually waited about a half to a full hour in the waiting room.

    once i broke my baby toe and went to the emergency room. it was a friday night and pretty busy, however, they were handling patients based on severity of injury or illness. it took me about 3.5 to 4 hours to get my toe straightened but i understood that there were people with much more serious problems that needed to get ahead of me.

    i agree, becuase of the fact that health care is subsidized (brain lock..is that how it's spelt?) you see a fair amount of abuse of the system. people run to the emergency room for the slightest problem (oww i have a splinter!) and it ends up clogging the system and creating hassles. however, now that i've lived in the US for 3 years, i've seen both sides and there are just as many problems down here.

    Personally, i'd like to see a 'co-pay' system implemented in canada's government run healthcare. that should eliminate alot of the 'splinter' cases where the hospital doesn't necessarily have to be visited and instead a walk in clinic would be better suited. A co-pay would not only help generate some income, but will also save plenty of money as doctors would probably not have a zillion patients to deal with each shift.

    I do like the idea that ANYBODY has equal healthcare coverage in canada, however, i think some things can be adapted from the u.s. systems to help reduce the amount of system abuse.

    <rambling over>
    wow, it's been awhile.....things have REALLY changed...why is my Visor Edge still in my hand? Will a Treo fit better?
  12. #12  
    I took the train from Boston to NYC. It is very comfortable (I was able to place my Visor and Stowaway Keyboard on the food tray- just like in an airplane) and from a time standpoint, it does make sense (considering the commute to and from airports in the major cities). The downside is that the train stops every 20 minutes so it does get on your nerves.
    MJ- "The Visor ROX"
    <a href="http://www.gilai.com"><img SRC="http://www.gilai.com/shekel_thumb.jpg"></a>
  13. #13  
    Originally posted by MikeD
    Just wondering because I was planning a trip and noticed that Amtraks (Coach SEATED) seats were as much or more than taking the plane... Which gets me there in a matter of hours not days. What do you amtrak travellers do to keep prices down? Why are they so expensive in the first place?

    Mike
    From NYC, I have been to Albany, Buffalo and syracuse using amtrak. Since I don't drive its really my only option.

    If the car isn't full the Albany trip is pretty quick. The others are a real pain in the **** (pun intended). The only good thing about it is that get paid for the whole trip.:-) And sometimes that is time and 1/2.

    Felipe
    Felipe
    On the road to 5,000 posts
    Life is what happens between Firmware releases.
  14. #14  
    We take Amtrac from Baltimore (near BWI airport) to NYC. As MJ says, it beats the airport commute,
    etc. and is a pleasant, relaxed way to travel. We get off at Penn Station, take a cab to the hotel and
    there we are! When we go up in June I'll be trying out the Minstrel S on the Platinum Visor, to
    see how the coverage is on the train...as well as trying the new (not very) high speed train too...
    Life is not a dress rehearsal!
  15. #15  
    Originally posted by lowtech
    We take Amtrac from Baltimore (near BWI airport) to NYC. As MJ says, it beats the airport commute,
    etc. and is a pleasant, relaxed way to travel. We get off at Penn Station, take a cab to the hotel and
    there we are! When we go up in June I'll be trying out the Minstrel S on the Platinum Visor, to
    see how the coverage is on the train...as well as trying the new (not very) high speed train too...
    Between NYC and Albany it sucks. I couldn't get a lock.
    Felipe
    On the road to 5,000 posts
    Life is what happens between Firmware releases.
  16. #16  
    I'll report on the Baltimore/NYC service after June...
    Life is not a dress rehearsal!

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