About. Friggin’. Time.
I recently returned from another thoroughly lovely weekend visit to the City by the Bay. In case you are wondering, yes, I traveled via the least environmentally friendly transport option possible: flying. And, in the name of full disclosure, no, I did not pay to offset the emissions produced by said flight. However, at least know that the decision to fly did not come by default. First, it was by no means cheap, at $200/seat. Second, I like flying possibly even less than I like driving. Third, I really really really tried to utilize some alternative means of getting me there, but my search yielded nothing of practical value. CAShuttleBus offers round-trip service for around$90 at convenient pick-up and drop-off locations, but travel time was approximately 6 hours, the same duration as driving. For a short weekend jaunt, I did not want to spend the majority of my time on a bus. I also looked up travel by Amtrak, incidentally, the only passenger train company that seems to exist in the western US. I wish I hadn’t actually bothered, because the results of my query made me fume. Leaving from Union Station in LA, the shortest trip possible would have taken 10 hours and required 2 transfers, at the fantastic price of $170 round-trip. Are you f*&)*&^&#@!&@-ing kidding me? I was expecting a 6-8 hour trip, you know, something that is at least equivalent to driving/shuttling. But 10 to 11 hours!!!! Is there really a reason to even offer such an option?
Every time I discuss my frustration and outrage at the lack of a speedy, non-flight option of travel for such a classic weekend excursion, the conclusion reached is, inevitably, “Why the hell don’t we have high-speed rail yet????”
Well, it appears, such a thing may actually exist at some point within our lifetime after all. Last Friday, the state senate voted to authorize the allocation of $8 billion dollars for the construction of the first segment of the track on which the bullet train will eventually run. No, the initial date of construction has not been determined and will not be for a long while yet, as numerous regulatory approvals/special interest groups still need to be won over. But, at the very least, we now cannot say that this bullet train will definitely not exist in the future. Yes, I know that was a weird sentence. Basically, I’m not gonna start holding my breath, but I’m happy there is a glimmer of hope.
Read more about the vote and its implications here at the Los Angeles Times blog.