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View Diary: WSJ Discovers Spanish High Speed Rail (179 comments)

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  •  The AVE rocks. And the service, if you buy (22+ / 0-)

    first class (which is really affordable, as it's a national rail system with pricing to match) is such a treat.  Our 9 year old son is STILL talking about how great an experience it was a year and a half ago, when we took him to Spain, to dine on the fast train we took to Barcelona, and watch a movie, and be in such roominess and comfort.

    •  Yes, it's affordable, (13+ / 0-)

      and compares well to airlines. Yet, in Spain, the price on some relations is criticised as too high - in comparison to conventional rail.

      •  It's not cheap compared to old trains (5+ / 0-)

        The complaint has come also that once the AVE is working most of the old trains don't cover those routes anymore. It's a good price compared to air tickets and if you account comfort and time then is way better price than airline tickets.

        Baucus/Enzi/Grassley for your money against your health

        by Iberian on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 03:27:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Let me link again (11+ / 0-)

          to an European Tribune diary of mine related to the pricing subject: Puente AVE.

          In this diary, I mention the price issue critically when analysing the ridership statistics of the new Madrid-Barcelona line. Plus, at the end, I quote a book on what I see as the most positive example on pricing: how TGV service was started in the eighties.

          Contrary to widespread misconception, the TGV was NOT a high-priced service for business travellers. All of SNCF's earlier higher speed services were like that, but the TGV wasn't (at the start): it started with the exact same ticket prices as much slower conventional trains, affordable for all, the only difference was compulsory reservation. What's more, they geared their media campaign just to this message -- "260 km/h for the price of 160 km/h", "Progress means nothing unless it is shared by all". The result? Traffic beyond even the most optimistic expectations, and a very quick return on investment.

      •  Here's What I Can't Figure Out (6+ / 0-)

        (And I speak of high speed train usage in west-of-the-Mississippi US.)

        When people arrive at a station in a European city -- do they immediately scramble to rent a car? In the US there is no way to get around the endless sprawl of a US city without one.

        European cities follow paths laid down a thousand years ago. US cities in this area weren't built until after the invention of the automobile -- so they are not on any sort of scale that could be called "human."

        How does this square up with usage? Would trains be substitutes for planes and stations would be vast rental-car malls? If so, I can see why airlines would lobby against them.

        As a substitute for car travel, Americans would be helpless without a car at destination cities. These cities have little, if any, public transportation and few taxis.

        Maybe this has already been addressed.

        •  Those Euro socialists have (9+ / 0-)

          something called Public Transportation--bus lines, undergrounds, trams. Mostly, they're interconnected, or fairly easily to figure out and use.

          We used to have trams and interurban trains and so on in this country, too, until the oil and auto industries set out to destroy them after WW2 so they could build Sprawl.

          We live in media world driven by cable idiots and Murdoch minions.--Eric Alterman, in The Nation

          by Mnemosyne on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 05:20:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  What's wrong with car share (3+ / 0-)

          such as Zipcar? Usually pretty cheap and they usually have efficient cars available.

          "There's a bailout coming, but it's not for me, it's for all the creeps watching the ticker on TV"-Neil Young

          by NoMoreLies on Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 07:37:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  United States Local and State Transit Links (5+ / 0-)

          http://www.apta.com/...

          APTA is the American Public Transportation Association.

          International Transportation Links
          http://www.apta.com/...

          Nationwide

          Deutsche Bahn (German Railways, DB)(in German)
          Pro Bahn (PB)
          Pro Bahn & Bus (PBB)(in German)
          Thalys
          Tram-Online (TO)(in German)
          VDV (Verband Deutscher Verkehrsunternehmen)(in German)

          Berlin

          BVG (Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe)
          HVG (Havelbus Verkehrsgesellschaft)(in German)
          PTTB (Public Transport and Traffic in Berlin)
          SBB (S-Bahn Berlin)
          Tram 88 (Schoneicher-Rudersdorfer Strassenbahn)(in German)
          STE (Strausberger Eisenbahn)(in German)
          ViP (Verkehrsbetrieb Potsdam)(in German)
          VBB (Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg)(in German)
          WS (Woltersdorfer Strassenbahn)(in German)

          Aachen

          ASEAG (Aachener Strassenbahn und Energieversorgungs)(in German)
          AVV (Aachener Verkehrsverbund)(in German)
          BVR (Busverkehr Rheinland)(in German)
          DKB (Durener Kreisbahn)(in German)

          Auerbach

          ZVV (Zweckverband Offentlicher Personennahverkehr Vogtland)

          Augsburg

          AVV (Augsburger VerkehrsVerbund)(in German)
          RBA (Regionalbus Augsburg)(in German)
          STWG (Stadtwerke Gersthofen)
          ....

          http://www.apta.com/...

          United States Transit Links for Urbanized Areas Over 1,000,000 Population
          http://www.apta.com/...

        •  Some rent a car, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RosyFinch, nanne

          others take a taxi, more take some form of interconnected local mass transit: bus, light rail, subway, commuter railway, conventional express...

          There's a point to make here: these different forms of mass transit I listed are like different levels of a system, they enhance each other. Best in the projecting and construction phase, too. On one hand, whichever system you are advocating, you should plan in nodes to provide link-ups with the other modes. On the other hand, the construction of one system can boost the chances of another, connecting system being built; e.g. say if California starts to build its high-speed line, that will encourage light rail and metro advocates to push through lines connecting to its stations.

          Also, in the US context, note that the relationship of settlement structure and transport infrastructure is not one-way today, either. A development of high-speed rail, normal rail, light rail etc. as above would also have an indirect effect: changing the settlement structure from sprawl to one that is more concentrated around transport nodes. This is the subject of "transit-oriented development".

          Sidenote: you say "European cities follow paths laid down a thousand years ago". That may be true for the cores; but, European cities expanded big in recent times, too, and have drawn prior small cities and villages into their exurbanisms.

        •  European Cities (0+ / 0-)

          Tend to be denser and more walkable (in addition to having public transport). See the second 'Royale With Cheese' diary by senilebiker.

          People who travel will either take public transport, walk, or take a cab. They will rent a car if they're staying for longer and want to travel around.

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