Originally Posted by alnorth
You are simply wrong.
The #1 form of transportation will ALWAYS, at least for the next 200 years, be the car. Sometimes it is not feasible or possible to drive somewhere.
In that case, the plane will always beat rail. Both are inconvenient options that force you to uncomfortably sit with total strangers, but the plane will always be cheaper and faster, unless the government heavily subsidizes rail. If its a tie, people will fly. Businesses are not going to force their employees to use a train.
Other cultures are different, but in this country, no one wants to ride a damned train. Especially since the train carries the stigma, accurate or not, of possibly having to ride with very poor or "dangerous" people.
Train vs. car. It is an enormous waste for business people to spend five hours round trip in a car. You have a driver who can't use a laptop or email. Or read a presentation. Or rest and recharge. For leisure travel, same deal. Rails aren't uncomfortable, you can curl up to a good book, and a high speed rail will get you from point A to point B significantly faster. Significantly, especially in markets like California where traffic is an absolute nightmare.
Planes vs. car. You must not travel in the midwest, where cheap point to point flights are hard to find. I have a business route that is an hour or two direct flight away, but I can only fly a five hour indirect flight. The check in procedures can shave hours of productive time off, not to mention constant delays and the stress from constantly moving around. Not to mention a half hour of plane time where you can't use any business devices. Business travel on a plane isn't efficient. It is a major pain in the ass. If I am a business, rails are cheaper and my employees can save several hours more on their laptops, wireless, phones, and email than on a plane. Quantify that. Quantify the cost savings plus the ability for your fifty dollars an hour employee to spend a few more hours working versus dealing with plane procedures. It is a tremendous business enabler for travel within a certain distance.