Early this month, a bipartisan group of senators, led by Al Franken (D-MN), called on the chairman of the Surface Transportation Board to assure that Berkshire Hathaway’s 2010 purchase of BNSF doesn’t result in unfair rate hikes for farms and businesses in Minnesota and nationally. He also recently called on President Obama to address a lack of freight rail competition that he claims is forcing businesses to pay unfair rates to ship their goods.
For trips between 100 and 500 miles, express buses, trains, and airlines are all vying for customers and contemplating the future of these shorter trips. At the same time, drivers are seeking relief from crowded highways and high gas prices. Add in the desire of travelers to be in constant internet and cell phone contact with the world, and intercity travel begins to seem a very competitive market. While air travel will continue to be the dominant mode for longer trips, and driving continues to offer maximum flexibility, rail and bus service upgrades in comfort and accommodations for electronic connectivity are attracting a larger number of travelers each year.