Monday, May 7, 2012

Ridin' the (non) rails

The little bus that could destroy rail passenger service;

Travelers between Seattle and Portland soon will have a cheaper option instead of planes, trains or automobiles.
BoltBus, which began four years ago on the East Coast, will offer nonstop service here starting May 17. 
....Prices vary based on demand — nearly all tickets are bought online at, and a few are sold curbside. Listings for the next few weeks show mostly $6 to $10 seats. Some are $17, and prices can reach $25 or so. Rates are lower the earlier people buy, and each bus includes at least one $1 seat.
Amtrak costs more, with fares generally ranging from $32 to $53, with some Memorial Day weekend trips as high as $69.
The new, low-cost bus service creates a tricky situation, as the state Department of Transportation has been awarded nearly $800 million in federal grants to improve the Amtrak Cascades line, the stations and freight passage. Could nonstop buses undermine that huge investment in rail, or would bus and train somehow complement each other?
The way planes and automobiles do?  

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