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New study says it may be cheaper to take Amtrak than drive

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on Sep. 2, 2011 at 11:56 am with No Comments »
September 2, 2011 11:56 am

A new study by travel Web site Frommers.com finds that taking Amtrak on several short and medium distance routes throughout the country may be less expensive than driving.

Among the ten routes highlighted in the study was Amtrak route between Seattle and Portland. Frommer’s put the cost of driving the 174 miles between the two cities at $36.31 versus $31 for a ticket on Amtrak’s Cascades train.

The economics change, of course, if you fill your car with friends and family, if the price of gas changes or if Amtraks adjusts its prices. (I’ve bought the trip in question during the winter for as little as $24).

Each means of transport has its advantages. If you drive, you’ve got a car when you get there, but Portland is so transit-friendly that you can reach major destination by light rail or bus easily.

If you take the train, of course, you don’t have to fight the weather or I-5 traffic. The four daily trains are Wi-Fi equipped so you can get some work done on the way.

Other cheaper-than-driving trips singled out by Frommers were Kansas City-St. Louis, Chicago-St. Louis, Oklahoma City-Fort Worth, New York-Niagra Falls, New York-Montreal, Salt Lake City-San Francisco, Los Angeles-Tucson and Miami-Orlando.

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