- Jan 23, 2012
Statistically speaking, bus travel quite safe. It might not be quite as safe as rail travel (I've seen varying statistics, some of which suggest rail travel is a bit safer and some that suggest that bus travel is safer) but it's still quite safe. The data from the National Safety Council suggests that rail travel is a bit safer (it was the first link I could find that showed the differences.)Also, roads are more dangerous than rails even if your driver is good as being a good driver doesn't stop you from being rear-ended by a semi or being cut off and end up hitting a wall because some idiot felt he was entitled to change lanes whenever he wanted. And while your driver may not drive DUI or half asleep, that doesn't mean the others out there are the same.
I'll take long bus rides when they have PRC (positive road control) for all vehicles, the buses have seats like the one you showed, and they have a cafe and/or lounge section.
Either way, I don't think the current data suggests that there's such a discrepancy in safety between the modes that we should prefer one over the other for subsidy, though I certainly agree that buses are best suited for regional journeys up to four hours or so. The 8 hour bus ride to Chicago from St. Paul is about my top end for ideal bus travel, but I'm also a bit more comfortable with bus travel than most, and I buy two seats so I'm not crowded in.
I fully agree - and the rules especially for air travel should be weighted as such that it doesn't get a preference until the distances are quite large. The "major airport" distinction should also change to "airport with daily commercial service" or similar - there's no logical reason that we should be spending over $2.7m/year to subsidize air service to Pueblo, CO when there's already bus links to Denver and Colorado Springs (both with airports that do not receive subsidy) and the drive time to COS is under an hour. A bus service could easily be spun up for less than than each year to connect Pueblo to either the Colorado Springs or Denver airport directly, even without charging passengers anything to ride it. I've taken Landline before (an airport bus) and it works pretty well - United's already using it to connect passengers to their Denver hub, and Sun Country uses it to connect passengers to their MSP hub, including through ticketing, guaranteed connections, and checked baggage transfers.Restarting some of the old Trailways routes would make sense. I do think the Essential Air Service should be changed to the Essential Transportation Service and have the subsidy go to what ever form of transportation makes the most sense. Whether its a train, bus or plane it should all be on the table.