The Northeast Regionals, Acelas, Pacific Surfliners, Empire Service, Keystones, etc. have hourly or close to hourly service. Are they commuter rail service, too?The goal is hourly service. Thats more similar to a commuter rail service than an Amtrak land cruise.
And, please, none of the Amtrak California service can be considered a "land cruise," whatever that is. In fact, the use of the term for Amtrak long-distance service is misleading, and I think it's just a slur used by opponents of Amtrak or long-distance train service in general.
While it's true that most people traveling long distances aren't going to take the train due to available cheap airline fares, there's a significant minority of the population who can't (for medical reasons) or won't fly. Then there's the population of people who can't or won't drive. Then there are people who appreciate being able to have a one-seat ride from their rural town into a major metropolitan area without having to deal with the horrible traffic in the major metropolitan area (hi, Chicago! ) In short, most of the people riding the long-distance trains are using it for real transportation and not as a "land cruise." The relatively few riders who do ride the LD trains as "land cruises" are just gravy to Amtrak, and simply add to the market for the service.
Although long-distance train service may not have the largest market share or be the most profitable enterprise, it's certainly a legitimate use of taxpayer dollars to provide a social benefit, and certainly more so than the taxpayer dollars spent on providing 9-seat puddle-jumper flights from small towns that are an easy drive from a major airport. (hi, Hagerstown! ) Or, for that matter, four lane limited-access highways that traverse unpopulated expanses, which is a lot of the Interstate Highway System out west.