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  1. Default driving versus public transportation


    i'm new here, and thinking of planning a lengthy road trip around the US in a couple years. i've done a lot of travelling abroad, but not nearly enough here around my own country!

    i'd love to hear people's opinions on driving versus using public transporation for such a trip. just a quick look at amtrak's routes shows that while they visit most states, they do skip over quite a few. there's also greyhound...

    with gas prices these days i can't figure out what would be more budget friendly. i did notice amtrak has a few travel passes, but none of them seem quite as...efficient as eurail passes for instance...


    thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Its a car country

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Going via public transportation is likely cheaper, but it does have significant drawbacks.

    First of all, Both Amtrack and Greyhound have less than perfect records. Unfortantly, both services really don't get used much, and those who do use them tend to use them because they are an only option (except with Amtrak in the NE corridor). Because of that, both systems suffer from a bit of neglect that doesn't make either the most comfortable way to travel. That of course, is just my opinion, however.

    Much more importantly, public transportation will never be able to give you the freedom that traveling by private car will allow. In both cases, you are limited to a specific schedule, and are limited in the places you can stop. There are several parts of the US that simply are not accessable by bus or train - especially non-city locations including national parks.

    And while going from city to city isn't too hard via those methods, unfortantly, there are only a handful American cities that have good mass transit options in my opinion. I've used public transit options while traveling in places like New York, Chicago, and even Las Vegas, but most of the time its a confusing and time consuming process just to figure out schedules and routes. Public busses do exist even in small and medium sized cities, but they are also often underused and underfunded and thus it can take hours to travel just a few miles.

    Clearly, in my mind, its no contest, if you really want to travel the US, the best way to do it is by car. However, cars are expensive to obtain, maintain, and operate. If money is really a major factor here, then I would say that its better to travel by public transportation than to not travel at all.

  3. Default

    thanks for the reply!

    i definitely have to say i agree about public transporation being not so reliable and efficient in the u.s., i mean compared to other countries in maybe europe for example. i have used it and am comfortable using it in places like new york, but i haven't been anywhere else here in the u.s. that has a system that efficient. i've heard chicago's, like you mentioned, is pretty good, but otherwise...

    my initial thoughts about doing this trip involved doing it by car - public transportation was an afterthought for all the reasons you mentioned, but i just thought i'd get some second opinions anyhow.

    i think i feel like the extra cash spent on gas and car maintenance costs would be worth the flexibility and freedom...i've got about three years before i plan on embarking on this trip so i better start saving now!

    thanks again!

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