Lamentably, the new rail service being launched by Amtrak will be targeted at tourists and leisure riders rather than those who might get more use from such a service – if it were timed appropriately.
Thanks to Congressman Tom Perriello for supporting a more intelligently-timed schedule. It’s embarrassing when working with clients from other countries who are accustomed to having transportation options – having to describe how we have virtually no efficient options other than cars for traveling or commuting.
Meredith Richards, Chairman of the Piedmont Rail Coalition, and Congressman Tom Perriello (D-5th) convened a regional summit on Thursday to discuss service improvements and whether Amtrak should be lobbied further for an earlier departure time.
The train was originally scheduled to leave Lynchburg at 5:05 a.m. and arrive at D.C.’s Union Station at 8:40 a.m. At the time, Amtrak officials said such a service would be targeted towards business travelers.
â€œThe Lynchburg departure at 7:43 a.m. and Washington arrival at 11:20 a.m. will effectively eliminate day travel for business purposes,â€ wrote Perriello in a letter to Amtrak’s CEO. â€œThe adopted schedule provides no means to demonstrate that there may be a substantial, untapped market in the US29 corridor.â€
Perriello told participants at Thursday’s meeting that, in response to his letter, Amtrak said its customers along the corridor were more interested in consistent and reliable access to New York, Philadelphia and other cities in the northeast.
Rex Hammond, the Chairman of the Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, said continued efforts to alter the schedule would send the wrong message to Amtrak.
"We have to agree to emphasize the positive elements of the schedule,â€ Hammond said. â€œThis new service will not serve everyone to the extent they’d like to be served."
Can the public see the market studies that they did that demonstrated this service schedule would serve the most people?
And what exactly are those "positive elements"? Now we can say, "we have train service!"?
Additionally, neither the City of Charlottesville nor the County of Albemarle (or its urban ring) have efficient transit options to accomodate those tourists or travelers once they get here.
What about this? (bolding mine, but thanks to TrvlnMn’s comment last year for the original emphasis)
One interesting aspect of the Transmilenio explored in the movie is its feeder lines. While red buses circulate along main arteries, smaller green buses circulate in the neighborhoods, picking up passengers for free and feeding them into the main stations. Making feeder buses free (while still recognizing the need for easy access to stations) gave the city a serious incentive to pave bike paths to stations. After all, every twenty or so people who bike to the Transmilenio equal one less green feeder bus that the city needs to operate.
Further, I’m finding in my business that I’m selling more and more real estate in the Charlottesville area to clients who are interested in being within walking or biking distance to something – usually coffee shops, grocery stores, schools … I perceive the demand to exist, but no real options to satisfy this demand.
Inter-City Rail in Virginia! To which I now say, "meh."
As as aside, regarding the Daily Progress/Charlottesville Tomorrow content partnership – Charlottesville Tomorrow’s format is much cleaner and legible when compared with the Daily Progress’.