Amtrak Tracking for My Commute Between New York City and Philadelphia

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Amtrak proposes Northeast Corridor high-speed service; 38 minutes Philly to NYC

From "Amtrak officials today unveiled a vision for true high-speed service along the Northeast Corridor, with trains that could travel between Philadelphia and New York in 38 minutes."

"The proposed high-speed system would cost about $117 billion and take up to 30 years to complete, according to Amtrak's proposal. No specific plans were included on how to pay for the high-speed system. Amtrak officials hope to receive about $4.7 billion a year for 25 years to make their dream a reality."

38 minutes for a trip from Philly to NYC would be fabulous. That could make someones door to door commute time right at one hour if they live in CC and work in Midtown Manhattan. Great news for the commuters of 2040!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

BoltBus, RedCoach, other bus lines go for business travelers - USA Today

Here's a story in the USA Today about how bus companies are pursuing business travelers and are looking to compete against the airlines and Amtrak in this market segment. Some article highlights:
  • "Bus officials say that when factoring in security screening and getting to and from the airport, a regional bus trip doesn't take much longer than a short-haul flight. And they say that the idea of catching a bus to save money and bypass the hassles of flying is catching on."
  • "Peter Pan says they got some new converts after record-breaking flooding in Rhode Island in March prevented Amtrak trains from running."
  • "Corporate travel managers aren't flocking to the bus, says Kevin Mitchell of the Business Travel Coalition. But with work-friendly conveniences such as Wi-Fi and electrical outlets, the bus is being viewed as a potential option for some corporate trekkers who would normally hop on an airline shuttle."
  • "BoltBus is a joint venture by Peter Pan and Greyhound that launched in March 2008; it can make a trip from New York to Washington in a little more than four hours for an average fare of $19" (BoltBus claims 2 hours from Philly to NYC midtown even during rush hour)
  • By comparison, "Amtrak has more to worry about," an industry insider says, noting its slower regional trains. "As long as you aren't extremely time-sensitive, the bus experience is likely to be cheaper and more comfortable."
This is for sure happening, these bus services are pretty good now. I've taken BoltBus and MegaBus and they are both sufficiently clean, comfortable, on time, and most importantly they are quite cheap. I'd take a bus for business travel along the NEC for sure though it would not be my first choice, Amtrak is just more comfortable. Note that on these buses the WiFi rarely seems to work and sometimes the AC power does not work; this has been my experience anyway on multiple occasions so don't count on that being there.

Could a bus service be used by the Philly-NYC commuter? I'm not sure but I'm inclined to think no. BoltBus claims 2 hours between Phi and NYC for nearly all their services, even during rush hour, but there is just no way that can hit that regularly. If there's a jam up on the GW or the Lincoln (not sure how they get to the island), which is like every day, you're looking at 3 hours easy. I guess if someone can deal with a 3 hour one-way commute then the bus is an option. For me my Phi-NYC commute time ceiling was 2 hours one way max and the only way to hit that was via Amtrak.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

NJ Transit suspends work on Access to the Region’s Core project

New Jersey Transit announced that new work on its Access to the Region's Core (ARC) tunnel project would be suspended for 30 days. The delay would not affect ongoing work, but is intended to allow officials to re-examine the project's budget. Concerns have been raised that the nine-mile, $8.7 billion commuter-rail link connecting New York and New Jersey could be up to $1 billion over budget, according to the news report. The project includes two new tunnels under the Hudson River, new tracks between Secaucus Junction and New York's Penn Station, and a new rail station beneath 34th Street in Manhattan. The project will enable NJ Transit to double rail service into Manhattan, free up capacity for Amtrak, and reduce travel times and crowding on trains at Penn Station.

NJ is getting hammered with the economy but I hope this rail project continues. The NY-NJ metro area needs more rail capacity. Perhaps NJ is trying to get the US government to pay a bigger chunk so they are on the hook for less?