Comparing Intercity Buses to the Competition

Planes, trains, and automobiles.

I think this table speaks for itself:

SEATTLE TO PORTLAND

(one-way trip, downtown to downtown)

 

Travel time

Cost

Departures

Alaska Air

2:42

$105

22

private car

2:56

$97

unlimited

Amtrak

3:30

$32

5

Greyhound

4:25

$13

4

BoltBus

3:15

$6

4

(See the “notes and methods” section at the end of this post for details.)

Despite all the attention heaped on more glamorous modes, private intercity charter buses like BoltBus are proving to be the quiet superheroes of regional travel.

Sure, the BoltBus isn’t a perfect substitute for other modes. Unlike Greyhound or the train, the BoltBus won’t stop at intermediate destinations; and unlike a private car, it can’t take you directly to your final destination. But for the markets they serve—downtown to downtown between the US Northwest’s two biggest cities—they can compete with the best on travel time, and they crush the competition on price.

Plus, for long distance travel, intercity buses are the climate champions, generating less carbon per passenger mile than any other mode.

By boarding at the curb and traveling on the Interstate, charter buses make super-efficient use of our existing infrastructure, requiring virtually no new public spending. Now, in fairness, all forms of travel rely on hefty public subsidies and robust governance. (Highways don’t exactly maintain and police themselves, after all.) Still, the cost of adding an extra bus to the highway must be pretty close to zero—and it may even save costs, if running a bus takes a few cars off the road.

Anyhow, the arrival of BoltBus in the Northwest is good news for the region’s travelers. And it marks a very encouraging example of a private-sector solution to the conventional travel that is so environmentally damaging and increasingly costly to boot.

 

Notes and methods: Travel time and cost figures for Alaska Airlines, Amtrak, Greyhound, and BoltBus are calculated using each transportation provider’s website and are based on a hypothetical mid-day trip on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 for one adult full-fare passenger. Travel times assume no unscheduled delays. Alaska Airlines cost figure is based on a $99.80 ticket plus the cost of travel to and from the airports, including a $2.75 Sound Transit Link light rail fare in Seattle and a $2.40 TriMet Max light rail fare in Portland. Alaska Airlines travel time figure is based on a scheduled 50 minute flight time plus 34 minute transit time by light rail in Seattle (from Pioneer Station to SeaTac) plus 38 minute transit time by light rail in Portland (from PDX to City Center) plus 40 minutes at SeaTac to travel from the light rail station to the airport terminal, pass through security, and board the plane. (Other airlines provide service on the Seattle to Portland route; on May 2, 2012, Expedia.com listed Alaska as the lowest cost airfare with United Express close behind.) Private car cost figures are based on the 2012 IRS reimbursement rate for driving, 55.5 cents per mile, for the 174-mile driving distance calculated by Google maps. Private car travel times are calculated by Google maps and assume no delay from traffic congestion.

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Comments

  1. Eric Hess says:

    Here’s my conundrum with Amtrak: most of the times I actually want to train to Portland, the tickets are closer to $50. Counting gas alone, it’s actually cheaper for me to drive my Jeep by myself there and back than to take the train. (I know driving also takes in insurance and maintenance, but a lot of those things would happen regardless of if I made the trip.)

    Still, I end up taking the train out of sheer loathing for that drive. It’s nice to be productive while I’m traveling. Now if only Amtrak’s WiFi would work.

  2. Frank says:

    Not to mention, I’ve never been on an Amtrak trip that arrived before or on it’s time table. (it was always late)

    And travelling as 2 people to portland is my most common trip, bringing private car cost per person down for me. Especially if you have a better than average fuel efficiency car that often goes hand in hand with well manufactured and requiring less maintenance…

    Enough picking on amtrak, BoltBus looks awesome.

    • Alan Durning says:

      Frank: on-time travel is much more common than it used to be, in my experience. You’re right about the savings when traveling with a group.

  3. Matt the Engineer says:

    Great table. Adding a CO2 column would be fun. And maybe a probability of injury/death…

    That # of departures column is very important to business types, which will keep a lot of people on airplanes and cars. BoltBus’s first trip of the day from Seattle doesn’t arrive in Portland until 11:45 – a bit late for a meeting. That said, QuickShuttle now has 7 or 8 routes per day to Vancouver BC, so I would expect the 4 buses/day to go up over time if the service is successful.

    • Eric de Place says:

      Matt, thanks for sharing QuickShuttle. I didn’t know about it. At a glance, it looks like a slightly different model than BoltBus, making a few intermediate stops at major destinations en route, but taking quite a bit longer (4-5 hours from downtown Seattle to downtown Vancouver) and charging quite a bit more ($43 for an adult making that trip).

      I wonder if BoltBus will be able to maintain their current super-low prices.

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        BoltBus isn’t fixed pricing. The $6 is for one of the first few seats (and one seat per bus is just $1) – after that it goes up as the bus fills up.

        Oh, and notice QuickShuttle has a commuter deal – round trip for $51 if your trip is 6 days or less. That’s $25.50 a way for a furter, longer trip than down to Portland. So we know it’s a sustainable model to charge less than that per seat to Portland.

        I much prefer BoltBus’s model. There are a dozen ways of getting around once you’re in a city, and a waste of time (and money – you’re paying the driver for this wasted time) for everyone on the bus to make 14(!) stops along the way.

      • Eric de Place says:

        Right, but really none of those modes (except private cars, sort of) are fixed pricing. For most modes, tickets get more expensive, sometimes drastically so, if you book with a short lead time.

        All my figures refer to a hypothetical trip on May 22 — not quite 3 weeks away — as an attempt to make a comparison that’s at least somewhat apples-to-apples.

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        But QuickShuttle is fixed pricing, which is why I pointed that out. BoltBus might have a hard time surviving if all seats were $6 compared to QS’s $25. But if some seats approach $20, that brings revenue up quite a bit.

    • Alan Durning says:

      Yes, QuickShuttle is a good option to Vancouver, but faster is the Amtrak/Cantrail bus. It’s actually faster than the train most of the time.

  4. Alan Durning says:

    I travel Seattle to Portland a lot: at least four times a year for the last nineteen years, I’d guess. I have used virtually every mode for Seattle to Portland and back, and I’m pleased to try BoltBus. Greyhound used to have (still has?) express schedules, so I feel like I’ve already experienced much of the BoltBus advantage.

    But I think you misrepresent the time by focusing on elapsed time rather than wasted time. The train wins the time-saving race, by this criterion, at least for me.

    My time is worth a lot. For mortal beings, time is the ultimate nonrenewable resource. For the busy executive director of Sightline, the train is a the clear winner in this competition.

    Why? Because I can make good use of almost all the time on my train-centered trip.

    Getting to and from the station/airport:

    On the train, I can bike to the station, just a mile from my office. If it’s a morning departure, I can get at least half of my daily dose of exercise, by biking from home straight to the station. Adding a bike to my ticket costs me about $5 each way. Once in Portland, the bike saves me a huge amount of time and money for getting between meetings, plus transit or taxi fares, and ensures that I get more exercise.

    I can bike to the bus station, it’s true. But I can’t put my bike on the bus without boxing it first, which is a huge hassle and time waster. I can’t really bike to the airport, although I’ve done it as an experiment. http://daily.sightline.org/2007/09/25/folds-mobile-bicycle-neglect-9/ And then, you’ve got to box the bike.

    Because I do not own a car, driving to Portland involves extra time getting a rental car or Zipcar. Zipcars are kind of expensive for a long trip, and rental cars have limited pick-up and drop-off hours. Putting a bike on a car depends on having the right racks, which I lack because I don’t own a car. I’ve taken Zipcars and rental cars to Portland, but racks for either must be arranged and then you have to overcome the first-time-user time barrier for using that particular rack.

    Besides, where do you leave the rental car in Portland? On my last trip, I had to bring a Zipcar, and I ended up paying a lot of money and spending a lot of time fretting about parking. (I should have fretted more: I got a $40 parking ticket because I misremembered the Saturday morning parking rules.)

    Before long, I hope we’ll have ubiquitous bike share in all of Cascadia’s cities. But even then, I’ll be happier riding my own two wheeler (which fits my 6’3″ frame and performs exactly as I expect it to) than use a heavy, ill-fitting shared bike.

    The wait times at rail stations are very short. If you know what you’re doing, you can get through the station in about 15 minutes. Bus is similarly quick. The airport, on the other hand, is a giant, stress-inducing time suck. Yes, I can use the bus/light-rail time to the airport for reading, but airport transit vehicles tend to be crowded. That creates the risk I’ll be standing en-route and wasting all the time.

    On the trip:

    On the train, I can work undisturbed from the minute I’m seated until the train stops at the other end. I don’t have to power down my laptop and phone for taxiing, take-off and for landing. Plus, I’ve actually got room on the train to fit my long forearms between my seat and my laptop keyboard. On a bus or airplane, I may not actually be able to fit my laptop. It depends on who is sitting in front of me and whether they are leaning back. Again: risk.

    I usually ride business class on Amtrak, which costs about an extra ten dollars each way (well, more than that but you get a $3 coupon for the snack bar where I turn it into cash by grabbing some fruit for my bag). Paying the extra guarantees me an electrical outlet to run my computer and keep my phone and music player charged. That’s less than $3 an hour to keep me productive throughout the trip. Amtrak’s wifi is not good (yet), but in a pinch, I can usually make it work. And, in any event I can use my smart phone, unlike in the air.

    And, if I’m driving, I’m basically wasting every single minute of the drive. I won’t be able to prep for meetings, comment on the latest Sightline blog posts, review grant proposals, read research papers, or anything else. I can’t even rest.

    To me, the real measure of travel time is how much wasted time is involved in a mode of transport. I estimate wasted time for the Seattle to Portland trip:

    Drive: 3 hours (plus congestion delays)
    Air: 1 – 2 hours (depends on getting a transit seat and whether my laptop battery holds a charge well and on who is sitting in front of me)
    Bus: 1 – 2 hours (depends on crowding of bus and battery charging)
    Train: 20-30 minutes (time to queue for check-in and to board)

    For me, the bus could compete with the train if it had enough room to work comfortably, an electrical outlet at each seat and a bike rack. Good wifi (which BoltBus promises) would help, too.

    Neither driving nor air could easily compete.

    • Matt the Engineer says:

      Good news for bikers. BoltBus allows bikes under the bus as oversized luggage. You have to come early to make sure there’s room. I have an e-mail in asking for details, and will comment here when I get a reply.

      • Alan Durning says:

        That’s excellent news!

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        No charge for bikes, but it counts as your large bag (also allowed two carry-on bags). Allowed as long as there’s space under the bus. You place it under the bus, but can ask driver for assistance. No box needed, but they’re not responsible for damage. Put your name on your bike (and other luggage) – if you forget it under the bus, they’ll return it to you free of charge.

      • Alan Durning says:

        That creates a dilemma: bring your bike to the station but have no guarantee you’ll be able to bring it with you. Risky. Disappointing!

  5. Alan Durning says:

    There are also inexpensive flights from Boeing Field to Portland now. The security delays and boarding time are shorter than at Seatac, but there’s no good transit to Boeing and you’ve got same problems with power, elbow room, and bike transport.

  6. andyg says:

    I take Amtrak regularly between Albany and Portland. It’s almost always on time now (used to be almost always late 10 yrs ago), the wifi works fine most of the time (acutally an impediment to productivity, but that’s progress…), and Oregon subsidizes discount commuter tickets (10 rides within 45 days or a monthly pass) that reduces the price significantly. There’s a regular group of daily commuters between Salem and Portland.

  7. Michael Ennis says:

    Hey Eric, nice post. I could quibble over some of the assumptions but for the most part, I agree. This is why the government should stop subsidizing Amtrak and let it compete on its own in a free market place.

    Using public taxes to artificially shift demand from an efficient sector of the economy (airlines and charter bus companies) to one that loses money (Amtrak) is a waste of resources and in Washington state, places hometown businesses at a competitive disadvantage.

    • Matt the Engineer says:

      I agree: we should ban government spending on roads. The private sector will pick up the slack, right? Otherwise, we’re just propping up an inefficient means of transit to make it seem like it really just costs $6 for a long distance bus trip.

      • Jeremy says:

        So, having recently escaped from my second car trip in as many years, all I can say is wow! The time wasted by all the cars jammed up with one another is amazing! How do they ever survive it daily? If only there were some way to move large numbers of people around dense areas…

  8. Ron says:

    I have ridden BoltBus lots from NY to Boston, it is comfy, easy, and cheap. WiFi on board. Short potty/snack stop halfway. Has competition on the route (MegaBus, Fung Wah AKA The Chinatown Bus, Peter Pan). On that corridor almost everybody I know uses it; they of course are used to public transportation.

  9. Not Fan says:

    It doesn’t cost $97 to drive to Portland. My car gets 27 mpg on the highway. At current gas prices, it costs a bit more than $25 to make the drive. Don’t talk to me about per-mile insurance pricing, because I pay for the insurance even if it sits in the driveway. And maintenance and tires are trivial.

    You can lie to yourselves and gullible members of the public, but anyone who bothers to pay attention to your numbers knows they are fraudulent, and will lose whatever respect they might have had for you.

    • Eric de Place says:

      As you can see in the “methods” section, the cost figures for driving a private car use the 2012 IRS reimbursement rate for driving, 55.5 cents per mile. It’s the most official and credible estimate available for the cost of driving an average vehicle, including fuel, insurance, wear & tear, and depreciation.

      The costs you incur by driving are, of course, not limited to fuel — that’s just a fraction of what you pay.

  10. Not Fan says:

    It sounds like, with your estimated 6-7 hours on public transit, that you’re traveling to far-flung areas outside the city–which doesn’t make it a good fit.

    Actually, not. I live in a close-in Seattle city neighborhood. It’s a half-hour to Pioneer Square by city bus. Add another half-hour to walk to the train station, buy a ticket, and board, and three and a half hours becomes four hours.

    On the Portland end, if you were going to go to an area served by their light rail, an example being Hillsboro, you’d need to add another hour at minimum. Where I go there is half as far away, but like most areas outside of the city, it’s served by buses.

    The point is that most people underestimate their commuting times. I am a fan of mass transit in certain applications, but I am also a fan of telling the unvarnished truth. My house to Beaverton, via the train and public transit on each end, is a minimum of six hours, and maybe more.

    I own a car and so like all car owners I pay insurance, and have depreciation on the vehicle. When I think about “how much it costs me to drive” for any particular trip it seems perfectly reasonable to divide up my fixed costs of car ownership by the number of miles that I drive.

    You make the apples-and-oranges comparison because you imagine that people might find it persuasive. In reality, it’s a propaganda number. You compare the full costs of one mode (car) vs. the partial costs of another mode (train or bus).

    People who actually take the trips on a regular basis don’t do it that way, nor should they. I realize that I won’t stop you. One can never get an ideologue to take his blinders off and see things as they are. You’re on a mission, and you are not going to let something trivial like accuracy get in your way.

    • Eric de Place says:

      You write: “You compare the full costs of one mode (car) vs. the partial costs of another mode (train or bus).”

      No, that’s what you’re doing.

      It is not possible to drive to Portland in your private vehicle without incurring large upfront costs to purchase, insure, and depreciate your car. But you want to pretend that those costs somehow shouldn’t count.

      Here’s a simpler way to think about it. Imagine you’re an employer sending an employee to Portland for a business trip — just the sort of thing that thousands of Northwest businesses do probably every day. There are a number of factors you might consider in choosing the travel mode, but on a cost-to-the-firm basis driving is rather expensive compared to the alternatives. You don’t disagree do you?

      • Not Fan says:

        Companies pay the IRS rate. I’m happily retired these days, but I loved the IRS rate when I was working. It was a complete gift, and I’d use any excuse I could to drive somewhere, if they’d let me. I’d make out like a bandit.

        The real issue was time; for any trip longer than about 200 miles, depending on the specifics, it would almost always make the most sense to fly. From a corporate viewpoint, labor costs come into play. You don’t want people spending any more time than necessary in transit. That’s why air travel is the mode of choice for companies that send people farther than a couple hundred miles.

        If the time factor is not an issue, such as with a trip to Portland, then a corporation would just as soon send you on the Bolt bus or the train. Between those two, they’ll pick the train because telling an employee other than a lowly secretary to take the bus is not going to be received well.

        As the owner of a car who neither pays nor receives the all-in IRS rate for a trip to Portland, the fixed costs of ownership are something I pay regardless of whether I drive it or not. In particular, I’ve long since paid off the hunk of metal, and depreciation is irrelevant in any case, because it can’t depreciate much further than it already has. But even if it was new, I’d pay the loan and suffer the loss in value no matter what.

        I can see that you didn’t major in accounting, or even take any classes in it. You’ve included fixed and variable costs in your car calculation, while comparing them solely to the variable costs with respect to the other modes. The comparison is either ignorant, dishonest, or both.

      • Not Fan says:

        There is only one instance where your comparison would be apt: If I didn’t own a car, but decided to buy one because I needed it for corporate purposes.

        In that case, it’d be appropriate to charge allocated fixed costs to each trip. But in the real world, people own cars anyway. If they use it on this or that trip, their trip cost is gasoline + wear ‘n tear, period.

      • Eric de Place says:

        “You’ve included fixed and variable costs in your car calculation, while comparing them solely to the variable costs with respect to the other modes.”

        That’s completely false.

        I’ve compared all costs — both fixed and variable — for all forms of travel. You seem upset that travelers have no fixed costs connected to the non-driving modes, but that is in fact reality.

      • Not Fan says:

        In fact, in that one special case, you might even be able to make a legitimate case that the cost of each trip is a good deal higher than the I.R.S. rate, at least if it’s really true that, but for the corporate use, you wouldn’t own the car.

        I’m not going to bother with the math on it, because there are too many variables dependent on changeable specifics. I’m talking about the base case, which is your contention that the I.R.S. rate reflects the cost of a car trip to Portland.

        In fact, for someone who would have owned his car anyway, which is the overwhelming majority of people given than well over 90% of employed people, and I would argue more than 99% of people who have business meetings in Portland, the I.R.S. rate is at least triple the actual cost of the trip.

        It makes for fun propaganda to compare the fully allocated variable and fixed costs of one mode with the variable price that, at least in the case of Amtrak, doesn’t even reflect its variable cost of providing the service.

        Garbage in, garbage out.

      • Not Fan says:

        I’ve compared all costs — both fixed and variable — for all forms of travel.

        There are no fixed costs attached to the Portland car trip. They’d be paid no matter what, so they are not properly charged to that trip. You really do need to take a cost accounting class sometime. That’s if you’re interested in accuracy, which I doubt you are.

      • Eric de Place says:

        Contrary to your assertion, a lot of people don’t own cars or don’t have exclusive access to them. For example, my wife and I share a single car. If I were traveling frequently to Portland we would have to factor in a variety of cost / convenience / value elements, one of which would be purchasing another vehicle.

        Nationally there are only 0.42 vehicles per person, and that figure includes all private and commercial vehicles, trucks, buses, etc. So, no, not everyone owns a car. In Washington, the figure is actually slightly lower:
        http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2010/mv1.cfm

        You’ve already conceded my point inasmuch as it applies people who don’t own cars, so I guess I’ll just leave it at this.

        Updating this comment: the 0.42 figure refers to public and private automobiles per person. It does not include trucks, buses, or motorcycles.

      • Not Fan says:

        Yes, there are people in Seattle who don’t own cars. 16%, according to the Census Bureau. Same as a decade ago, in spite of the mayor’s attempt to lie about it.

        Take out the very old who are in nursing homes, and young people who are presently afflicted by massive underemployment and are thus unable to afford cars, and you have well over 90% of the Seattle population with cars.

        In fact, there are more people who own three cars in Seattle than there are people who don’t own one. For all the claptrap about people giving up cars, the statistics show that it’s simply not true.

        But yes, if you bought a car so you could make corporate trips to Portland, then the cost accounting would genuinely be different. But for the vast majority of people, that’s not the case.

        Most people who are likely to be sent on business trips to Portland own at least one car. The IRS rate bonanza notwithstanding, their fixed cost of ownership does not belong in a comparison of prices for trips between here and there. Only prices belong, which means gasoline, and an imputed share of prices paid for maintenance, including tires.

        You know this is true, but like any ideologue who’s been caught out, you deny it. Interesting how there aren’t nearly as many differences between, say, Fox News and Sightline as either of them would imagine.

  11. Not Fan says:

    Actually, not. I live in a close-in Seattle city neighborhood. It’s a half-hour to Pioneer Square by city bus. Add another half-hour to walk to the train station, buy a ticket, and board, and three and a half hours becomes four hours.

    Correction. Three and a half hours becomes four and a half hours.

    • Eric Hess says:

      30 minutes by bus + 30 minute walk/board + 3.5 hour train + hour transit to Beaverton = 5.5 hours, a far cry from 7 hours. And during peak hours, MAX’s red line runs every 15 minutes, and is 20 minutes from downtown to Beaverton–making an hour transit awfully generous.

      • Not Fan says:

        I wrote that it was an hour to Hillsboro. Add a half-hour for transfer time, and you have a minimum of six hours. Where I go in Beaverton is not accessible by light rail. It’s a bus trip, and that’s going to be longer. How much longer, I can’t say, because I don’t have a whole lot of interest in doing it that way.

        In any case, these things usually take much longer than people say they do. If I had $10 for every time a (former) colleague told me his commute was 20 minutes when it was really 45 minutes door-to-door, I’d be Warren Buffett.

  12. Not Fan says:

    Fine, keep promoting phony numbers. You will convince yourselves and anyone else who wants to drink the Kool Aid, but in the real world, it doesn’t fly.

    Unlike most of you, I actually drive to Portland pretty often. It’s not a $97 trip. Not even remotely close. And the commenter above, Alan Durning, who told us that the train is the least time-consuming, is truly out to lunch.

    I routinely drive from Seattle to Beaverton in three and a half hours, door to door. Take the train, and I’d need at least five hours, accounting for cabs or rental cars on both ends. If I used the public transit systems in each city, it’d be more like six or seven hours.

    True, Alan can work on the train. I prefer to have some zen time in the car, but I guess if you’re an Important Guy, that’s out.

  13. Eric de Place says:

    Please explain why you think the IRS reimbursement rate is a “phony number.”

    It’s the cost of driving that is the accepted accounting standard for US businesses. Surely you must realize that there is more cost to driving a private vehicle than simply the fuel cost, right?

    If you can find “zen time” while driving, then more power to you. Alan likes to work during his trip. Other might prefer to read or nap. My blog post is not an attempt to make qualitative judgments about people’s preferences, but rather to provide a reasonably apples-to-apples comparison of cost and time.

  14. Not Fan says:

    Let’s compare it to the train.

    Using the IRS number is approximately equivalent to finding the complete cost of the train service on the lines used between here and Portland, including capital cost and amortization, maintenance, etc., and dividing it by the number of people who ride it.

    That would be a whole lot more than a $32 ride. This is what the IRS does for cars: total ownership cost, divided by average miles driven, times the number of miles on a particular trip.

    But that method, while generous for tax deduction purposes, bears little relationship to a driver’s costs in going to Portland. Those costs are gasoline plus whatever imputed maintenance and wear might be attached to 175 miles.

    Depreciation will take place if the car sits at home. So will insurance. But you’re adding it in, while ignoring the same costs for the train. It’s an apples-and-oranges comparison, cherry-picked to make an ideological point. In the real world, it’s cheapest, fastest, and most convenient to drive, even with the occasionally hellish bottlenecks at the airport, the Tacoma Dome, JBLM, and Portland if you hit it during rush hour.

  15. Eric Hess says:

    Not Fan: Transit and train aren’t for everyone. It sounds like, with your estimated 6-7 hours on public transit, that you’re traveling to far-flung areas outside the city–which doesn’t make it a good fit.

    For others, it makes a lot of sense. My last trip via train and transit from Seattle to Portland’s south suburbs took less than 5 hours, cost less than $50, spared 180 miles of wear-and-tear on my car, and saved me a vacation day because I was able to work the whole way down.

    So for me, it’s a much better deal while for you, it’s not.

  16. Eric de Place says:

    I don’t see it that way. I own a car and so like all car owners I pay insurance, and have depreciation on the vehicle. When I think about “how much it costs me to drive” for any particular trip it seems perfectly reasonable to divide up my fixed costs of car ownership by the number of miles that I drive. (Plus, of course, for any trip there’s fuel and wear & tear.)

    These are real costs that I have to own a private car. It would seem bizarre to me to pretend that driving trips are cheap when they’re only possible because I’ve undertaken significant front-end expense.

    If I buy a bus or plane ticket, by contrast, I’m just paying fare for the trip. I don’t have any upfront or additional costs. So it seems to me that the only way to make a fair comparison between, say, a train trip and a car trip is to compare “my full costs of train travel” with “my full costs of car travel.”

    If there’s any ideological point I’m making with this post it’s not about cars: it’s about how awesome private intercity charter buses are relative to virtually all other modes.

  17. Not Fan says:

    Given that you already have the car and would have it no matter what, the only costs of driving to Portland are the fuel and the allocable share of maintenance. No one trained in cost accounting would credit your fixed costs in a comparison with train, plane, and bus fares.

  18. Eric de Place says:

    But I can’t use the car because my wife needs it in Seattle.

    So now what do I do? Purchase another car? Or use some other mode of travel?

    According to you, purchasing, insuring, and depreciating another car is free. Yippee!

  19. Not Fan says:

    According to you, purchasing, insuring, and depreciating another car is free. Yippee!

    I wrote EXACTLY the opposite of that. Wow, you’ve got to be really gulping the Kool-Aid to tell a direct lie about what someone wrote, and do so in the same comment thread.

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