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Added: 1 December 2001
[Commentary] [Politics] [Science and Space]

The Bullet Train

Laid Back Lady on a Bullet Train

Less Road More Bullet Train

Building more roads doesn't work, say traffic experts -- the capacity of more highways to breed more traffic has been widely observed: "by adding capacity to a crowded [highway] network you could actually slow things down." Still, highway-building proceeds apace, prompting some federal highway officials to predict that congestion will quadruple in the next twenty years. What we need is a bullet train, eh folks?

Latest Transportation News

Commuters put in an average of ten forty-hour weeks behind the wheel each year, says Bullet Train researcher, Dr. Tor McPhor. And this is just one quarter of our time spent behind the wheel. The rest is divided between errands (dropping off car-bound children, picking up the dry cleaning) and amusement (driving to the restaurant or the gym). This constant round of errands, drop-offs, and pick-ups mainly affects women.

Society News

"[The private car] is a State subsidy equivalent to giving each car user a free pass for the whole year for all public transport, a new bike every five years and 15,000 kilometers of first class rail travel," says The Guardian, in response to a recent Heidelberg study.

Nearly half the elderly in rural areas are in poor health; 60% are not licensed to drive. "I deplore the national tragedy of drive-fly-or-rot that turns vital human beings into prisoners with no one to talk to and nowhere to go," says writer Paula Boyer.

"A poor Roxbury mother taking mass transit at rush hour pays for 80 percent of her costs a few miles in the inner city. A stockbroker driving his BMW to the suburbs at that peak congestion period pays only 20 percent....That's tacit car welfare," says Douglas Foy, Director, Conservation Law Foundation.

What is the Bullet Train?

Rich, fabulous, and fast. The Bullet Train is a high speed commuter train serving Northampton, Amherst, New York, and Boston.

Unparalleled comfort at prices you can afford, the Bullet Train is the smartest way to travel.

Wherever you're going -- to work, to visit friends and family, or to kick up your heels in the seething metropolis, the bullet train ensures that you arrive feeling relaxed and debonair.

Passenger room

Passenger room, available daily or on season ticket basis:

  • - reserved workspace
  • - laptop hookup
  • - organic food market and cafe
  • - napping room
  • - childcare facilities
  • - gym and spa
  • - hair and beauty salon
  • - shopping (delivery included)
  • - door-to-door commuter van service

$300/month noho-ny

Individualized cabins

Individualized cabins, available daily or on season ticket basis, include:

  • - powder room
  • - shower and wardrobe
  • - fresh flowers and aromatherapy oils
  • - lap-top and mobile phone hookup
  • - chaise longue/bed
  • - childcare facilities

$1000/month noho-ny

Where does the bullet train go?

The Bullet Train is a 24 hour, 365 day, high speed commuter train serving Northampton, Amherst, New York, and Boston.

Route Frequency Journey Time Fare
Monthly Ticket
Monthly Ticket
(private cabin)
Noho - Amherst Every 10 min. 7 min. $2 $25 n/a
Noho - NY Every 30 min. 80 min. $10 $300 $1000
Noho - Boston Every 30 min. 70 min. $8 $300 $1000

Door-to-door commuter and delivery service available at no extra cost within 20 mile radius.

Why ride the Bullet Train?

Yeah, cars are nice, but they are so 20th century.

When you're on the road and your mouth tastes of bad coffee and fried donuts, and your hernia's playing up, and the No-Doz pills aren't working any more, close your eyes and imagine a better way to travel: The Bullet Train. Rich, fabulous, fast.

How can I afford it?

Costs of car travel
"[The private car] is a State subsidy equivalent to giving each car user a free pass for the whole year for all public transport, a new bike every five years and 15,000 kilometers of first class rail travel."

Who Cost Items Payment Source
Personal $6,000/car/year
($900 billion approx.)
Gas, parking, tires, depreciation, maintenance, and insurance, plus tolls for administering, building, repairing, and operating of roads (operation costs for two-year old vehicle).

Almost a fifth of average household income (6 percent more spent on car than on income tax, largest expenditure next to mortgage payments.

"The model American puts in 16,000 hours to get 7500 miles; less than 5 miles per hour."

16,000 hours/person/year Gathering resources to to pay for car, driving, maintenance:

($480 billion approx.)

Includes parking facilities, police protection, environmental damage, registry operations, uncompensated accidents. Also sprawl, which costs 150 times the cost of compact development and drives "Big box" store developments that produce 19% sales loss for small town businesses and a net job loss.

Does not include $50 billion for defense of Middle East oil reserves or cost of importing oil, 18% GDP)

Social costs met by taxes: gas tax (at most 60%), heavily subsidized by other taxes (40%).

"The suburban commuter pays only 25% of the costs of travel to the central district by car."

"A billion dollars invested in mass transit produces seven thousand more U.S. jobs than does the same amount spent on road construction."

$43 - $168 billion/year Lost productivity caused by 8 billion hours a year stuck in traffic.

$6,000/year personal spending money for every car you get rid of. (And more than $500 billion government finance to develop swanky new Bullet Train transportation system!)

Source: Jane Holtz Kay, Asphalt Nation, Crown, New York, 1997, Chapter 6: The Cost of the Car Culture.

Feel better? Ride the Bullet Train today

So, you can afford it. Want to do something useful in all that dead time you spend getting from A to B? Leave your car at home. Read, sleep, get in a workout, do business. Feel better. Apply for your Bullet Train ticket today.

From as little as $300 a month.

Home What Where Why
Source material (used with liberal poetic license):
Jane Holtz Kay, Asphalt Nation, Crown, New York, 1997.