Rail ridership is usually measured in passenger-kilometres—one passenger-kilometre represents one passenger travelling one kilometre. One 1,000-person train travelling 1,000 kilometres would on its own account for a million passenger-kilometres. Yet American railroads accounted for just 17.2 billion passenger-kilometres in 2010, according to Amtrak, America’s government-backed passenger rail corporation. In the European Union, railways accounted for nearly 400 billion, according to International Union of Railways data. When you adjust for population, the disparity is even more shocking: per capita, the Japanese, the Swiss, the French, the Danes, the Russians, the Austrians, the Ukrainians, the Belarussians and the Belgians all accounted for more than 1,000 passenger-kilometres by rail in 2011; Americans accounted for 80. Amtrak carries 31m passengers per year. Mozambique’s railways carried 108m passengers in 2011.
This is especially crazy when you consider that the U.S. has largest rail network in the world, with more than twice as much track as China. Most of it is just used for shipping though, of course.
That’s bc Amtrak is slow, doesn’t go where you need it to, and takes 4times the amount of time. Consider if I was going to Springfield Missouri, where I have family. I would have to take a train across Missouri and drive down, take a bus down, or fly to the 3rd largest city in Missouri… That would take almost a day. Why not just fly to Kansas City, and then down. It’ll be a quarter of the time I would spend on Amtrak. Another example: If I were going to Fort Wayne Indiana… Second largest city in Indiana… Amtrak no longer goes there, it goes to Waterloo Indiana… Waterloo is 30 miles north of FortWayne… Are we going to walk from Waterloo? Bc guess what, nothing takes you between the two. Someone would have to pick you up. It would be quicker and cheaper to just take the bus down or drive down from Chicago to Fort Wayne… I’m sure there are countless more examples of this… An don’t get me started about how I’ve been stuck on Metra trains for hours on in, one time 3 hours…