News & Commentary

A Travel Network Gap is Bridged in DC

Written By Malcolm Kenton Yesterday, the Washington, DC hub for Greyhound and Peter Pan bus lines moved into Washington Union Station (also a hub for Amtrak, MARC and VRE commuter trains, other intercity buses, Metrorail and many local bus routes) from a stand-alone building located four long blocks to its north. This makes Union Station the city's indisputable focal point for all forms of public transportation. Sept. 26 ribbon cutting at the new intercity bus facility at Washington Union Stat

Four steps to improve long distance service in the U.S.

Written By Sean Jeans Gail All this week, the NARP blog has been using our recently released white paper to examine how passengers use long distance trains, and how this unique transportation mode benefits communities both large and small. [Read the first entry] [Read the second entry] However, these long distance routes, facing both political attacks and underinvestment, are in need of a lot of help. There is no quick and easy political solution to these funding problems—specifically, how

How long distance trains compete

Written By Sean Jeans Gail The United States’ immense, continent-sized geography is often cited to make the case against investing in intercity trains. One hears how trains are better suited for smaller countries in Europe, and that America is too big and sprawling to accommodate passenger rail. And while the distance between the coasts means that most people traveling from the East Coast to the West Coast will choose airplanes (though there are more than a few who’ll hop on a train for 3,0

Chicago to Los Angeles: two-thirds of a continent, 528 city-pairs, and one train

Written By Sean Jeans Gail This week, NARP released a white paper looking at the unique benefits of long distance trains. As part of that, the NARP blog will be publishing excerpts from "Long Distance Trains: Multipurpose Mobility Machines" to highlight key findings and recommendations. The first entry uses the route of Amtrak’s Southwest Chief to illustrate the unique benefits of long distance trains, and dispel misconceptions about how passengers use long distance trains: [C]onsider the

New Jersey Transit: A Remarkable Statewide Mobility Network

Written By Malcolm Kenton There is one state in the Union where one can board a bus at a streetcorner in nearly every and town and, within 2-3 hours, be in a large or medium-sized city within steps of intercity and regional train and rail transit connections. That state is New Jersey, and the connectivity that New Jersey Transit’s (NJT) train and bus network provides to all corners of the Garden State is enviable to those who live in places with little real alternative to automobile dependenc

Amtrak breaks ridership records, but Congressional attacks continue

Written By Sean Jeans Gail Amtrak announced this week that it has experienced 11 consecutive monthly ridership records in the current fiscal year, setting its highest ever single month ridership record in the month of July. However, that good news didn’t stop Congressional critics from going through with a hearing attacking Amtrak’s involvement in commuter operations a day after the announcement. Amtrak issued the release on September 10, the day before House Transportation & Infrastr

Getting to the Conventions: A Tale of Two Cities' Travel Choices

Written By Malcolm Kenton For the last two weeks, the nation's attention has been focused, respectively, on two large Southern cities. Both are modern metropolises that showcased their ability to host a major national event, and consequently, each welcomed many first-time visitors. Transit-oriented development along the LYNX line. Photo by Charlotte Area Transit System.While the ease of getting around town was largely not a factor for people in deciding to attend either major political party's

Volunteers hit the streets to spread the word over Labor Day

Written By Sean Jeans Gail As rail passenger advocates, we’ve recently found ourselves in a best of times/worst of times situation. Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo provides a number of exemplary points as to why it's a great time for rail in a letter he sent to Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell (R) and the State of Virginia this week, congratulating them for their work in restoring Amtrak service to Norfolk: Today, Amtrak’s overall performance is best characterized as a Cind

NARP responds to GOP Platform attacking Amtrak

Written By Sean Jeans Gail “Amtrak continues to be, for the taxpayers, an extremely expensive railroad. The public has to subsidize every ticket nearly $50. It is long past time for the federal government to get out of way and allow private ventures to provide passenger service to the northeast corridor. The same holds true with regard to high-speed and intercity rail across the country.” So states the 2012 platform of the Republican Party (under “Infrastructure: Building the Future”)

Hurricane Isaac Interupts Transportation Across the Southeast

Written By Sean Jeans Gail The scheduled landfall of Hurricane Isaac has disrupted transportation across the southeastern U.S., halting passenger trains, air service, and transit operations in much of the region.The scheduled landfall of Hurricane Isaac has disrupted transportation across the southeastern U.S., halting passenger trains, air service, and transit operations in much of the region. There was some good news, as Amtrak's Silver Service (Silver Meteor and Silver Star) resumed normal