Even airline executives prefer high-speed rail – Streetsblog California

Time spent on a train is so much more productive than on a plane that even airline executives apparently prefer to ride the rails. It was an unintended revelation of a Reuters report by Dave Shepardson on how New York-based JetBlue Airlines offered $3.6 billion to acquire Spirit.

Boris Lipkin, Northern California Regional Manager at the California High-Speed ​​Rail Authority, shared this Tweet from Shepardson:

Streetsblog has reached out to JetBlue Airlines – which offers 15 daily flights and codeshares back and forth between Boston and New York – to find out why its leader was driving Amtrak instead of flying and will update this post. However, a bit of google research suggests that Hayes, 53, simply prefers trains when they are fast and available.

It’s not really surprising either. Why would anyone want to waste time driving around, to and from airports, etc., when they can relax and be productive on a train that will take them directly from city center to city center?

Of course, even an airline executive would prefer to avoid all that bullshit.  Photo: Quinn Dombrowski
Of course, even an airline executive would prefer to avoid all that bullshit. Photo: Quinn Dombrowski

This is why Amtrak carries more passengers than all airlines combined on its busy, moderately fast corridor between Boston and New York. “Travellers choose rail, even airline executives, because it’s faster, cheaper, more direct and a million times less hassle than flying or driving,” said Andy Kunz, CEO of the ‘U.S. High Speed ​​Rail Association.

The Northeast Corridor between Boston, New York and Washington D.C. was first completed in 1917. Today, the electrified railway system carries some 260 million passengers each year. Acela, the first train on the route, is the closest in the United States to high-speed rail – it reaches 150 mph for a brief stretch through New England. But due to aging infrastructure and a lack of real investment in highways and airports, the average speed is only 84. Compare that to true high-speed rail services in Asia and Europe, like the French TGV, which medium around 170 mph on regular trips.

If airline executives – along with millions of others – see the benefits of Amtrak’s moderately fast Northeast Corridor service, imagine what will happen when true European and Asian-style high-speed rail arrives in California, joining all of its major cities. This, of course, is the plan for the high-speed rail project currently under construction in California.

No more bullet train construction in the Central Valley.  Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
No more bullet train construction in the Central Valley. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

This is also why oil companies use front groups try to kill the high speed train. The Los Angeles Times had a great piece sunday document how oil companies fund bogus academic research as part of a disinformation campaign to keep the country addicted to oil. Of the room :

Despite the plethora of evidence showing that oil and gas drilling is responsible for most of the destructive global warming, the fossil fuel industry is fighting fiercely to keep its business model alive. It’s lobbying against science-backed climate policy that would reduce the use of oil and gas; diffusion disinformation, including climate science denial; and launch marketing campaigns — greenwashing – to suggest that its business is based on sustainability even if it does not significantly reduce global warming emissions.

The irony is the Los Angeles Time himself regularly quotes oil-funded university professors denigrate the rail. And of course, the oil companies are funding politicians on both sides of the aisle, who continue to block voter-approved funding to electrify the Central Valley backbone of California’s HSR project – the next stage of its construction. . Some of these politicians, like Anthony Rendon and Laura Friedman, have specifically and repeatedly targeted line electrification.

The reasoning behind the oil industry’s effort is as simple as it is cynical: if California succeeds in creating its own modern and much faster “Northeast Corridor” between the Bay Area, the Central Valley and southern California will require a big bite out of their profits. Most people, including airline executives, will stop flying on short hops. California will follow the same pattern seen in every other country where high-speed rail has been built; airlines will quickly lose customers. There will also be far fewer kilometers traveled.

The oil companies would much rather keep California accountable for their product, so they can bill airlines, drivers and even taxpayers who prefer to use public transit and bicyclesthe highest possible prices at the pump.

Jose P. Rogers