118

Japan is a counter-example. Rail is profitable there, not least because the rail companies don't just run the trains. Train stations become hubs, often with a shopping centre built around them (owned by or in partnership with the train company), even parts of new towns. All this extra revenue helps keep the transport side profitable, and helps justify a high ...


117

The idea that "trains are unprofitable" is quite a bit more complex. First of all it's necessary to look at the main "problem" with trains: They tend to lead to natural monopolies. Setting up a rail network requires a lot of government involvement (otherwise you will never be able to get your hands on all the land you need) and once a rail network is set up ...


103

The answer is to stop subsidizing its rival: roads. You say that passenger rail stopped being profitable around the 50's or so: look up when the Dwight Eisenhower freeway project really hit its stride. Your tax dollars are hard at work building a vast, free to use (as opposed to actually free), and convenient transportation network. While rail does have ...


83

I'm not so sure it's fair to generalize this across the US like you're doing in your question. If you visit Grand Central in NYC you'll see plenty of passengers getting transported by rail. It's tempting to put forward that the US has no federal entity sponsoring the tracks, or that it's inhabited by individualists who have love affairs with their cars. But ...


77

What is the capitalist answer to rail passenger transportation being non financially profitable? The same as a capitalist answer to anything that is being non financially profitable; such as horse drawn buggies; or hand-written manuscripts; or film based personal photo cameras. The exact answer depends on economic circumstances, the options being: Either ...


55

A YouGov poll of 2948 people conducted in August 2017 gives: It has been suggested that trains should have women-only carriages. Which of the following comes closest to your view? Good idea - women only carriages would provide a safe haven for women and will help combat the rise in sexual offences on public transport: 23%. Bad idea - having women only ...


48

Because the Baltic Sea ices over every winter. In theory, you could continue year-round operations with icebreakers and cargo ships with a sufficient ice class but that's expensive and there are only so many ice rated cargo ships out there. Alternatively, you could use the St. Petersburg port heavily during the summer months and the Black Sea heavily ...


46

There's a few reasons why, but the two largest are It's effectively a tax on cars (and a regressive tax at that). A Texas legislator noted that when introducing a bill to repeal Texas' law So let’s call these inspections what they really are: a tax on Texans’ time and money. [It] costs Texans an annual $267 million in fees alone. What’s arguably worse is ...


45

The debate over e-mobility comes in the context of an ongoing debate in Germany how public spaces for transportation are to be divided between the different modes of transportation. In the last century, many German cities were designed to optimize the use of private cars. Many urban populations are rising (and average cars are getting larger ...), and both ...


37

One of the reasons for the decline of the railroads was corporate sabotage by car manufacturing companies. They bought up rail companies and then shut them down. Here is an article from March 11, 1922 of The New York Times documenting Henry Ford's strategy of making rail dysfunctional and obsolete.


37

Introduction The beginning of traffic safety for rural highways was with civilians. Their work resulted in government action and led to standardization throughout the United States. Wikipedia, History: At the start of the 20th century—the early days of the rural highway—each road was promoted and maintained by automobile clubs of private individuals, who ...


36

What is the capitalist solution to make rail passenger transportation economically profitable again, like it used to be before road transport was a thing? There is no capitalist solution. All extant capitalist systems exist in an environment of infrastructure for which construction and maintenance is publicly paid (road taxes count as public, users in ...


25

Until the end of WW2, rail transport of both passengers and materials was extensive in the US. By the 1930's, a battle of luxury trains had emerged in the heavily traveled NYC to Chicago route, between the New York Central and Penn Central railroad companies. In those days, air travel was both uncomfortable and dangerous, while automobile travel was slow and ...


17

America is rich and big, and post-war it got richer and stayed richer than other countries. It is also culturally very individualistic. When other countries were developing high-speed rail transport, Americans preferred to use cars for short-to-mid-length journeys and aeroplanes for longer journeys. There was a lack of investment in rail, which made rail ...


17

Just because governments operate passenger rail systems at a loss does not mean that it is an inherently unprofitable enterprise. It's just that governments have a legal monopoly on the industry, so private carriers can't exist. I don't know enough about the history of rail transportation in Europe to say how it got the way it is, but in the United States ...


14

I'm repeating my deleted comment (thank you, heavy-handed mod/user) as an answer even though it is really more a comment. Germany may be the latest (most recent) country to regulate or allow e-scooters, but it is by no means the last (after all others) European country doing so. The article you quote says Some of Europe’s other leading economies still don’t ...


13

It has nothing to do with geography! California. Population density: 93/km² (40 million people on 424,000 km²). Varied climate ranging from snow-capped mountains in the Sierra Nevada to a lush and humid coastline in the northwest. Currently has zero high speed rail, but plans by 2029. Spain. Population density: 92/km² (46 million people on 506,000 km²)....


13

There isn't one reason that applies to all the countries that give incentives for buying electric vehicles, rather it appears that there are three buckets for reasoning on this, of which countries have varying levels of each: Politically popular Reduces local smog Gain foothold in the industry Most of the Western countries you listed fall primarily in the ...


12

I'll admit I'm not up to date on Romania specific, but the purpose of Free Speech is to criticize public policy and politicians. Any government that does not allow citizens to use colorful language to criticizes political organizations but claims it respects Free Speech probably doesn't truly have free speech. HOWEVER Most license plates are issued by a ...


12

Background Britain's railways were nationalised by Labour in 1948 and returned to private hands by John Major's Conservative government in 1993. Labour was initially committed to renationalisation but the policy was dropped when Tony Blair came to power in 1997. Track, signalling and stations were taken out of private hands, and put into a not-for-profit ...


12

It still has a positive ROI, so that doesn't seem like a fair reason to abandon it. Just looking at the ROI, there should be no reason to use nuclear or natural gas, as hydro and coal have a far better ROI. Biodiesel is one of the few renewable energy sources which can be used in cars, trains, ships, and planes without too much adaption of the existing ...


11

There are a number of possible reasons. As with most motivation questions it is likely that they all apply to some degree. Ideology. The current government is the Conservative Party, which is on the political right and dedicated to free-market policies. Privatisation of the railways was originally a Conservative policy, so a policy of nationalisation would ...


10

You probably need to look at it from the point of view of supply and demand in classical market theory. If there was very limited demand for flying, the industry would not be able to afford any ETS on the auction market, so it would stop emitting. Rather, to put it differently, if customers were unwilling to pay any extra costs for emissions from flying, ...


8

Are there any proposals for a significant electrification of US railroads? There seem to be few electrification projects; but a group that hopes to promote more. This article, Electrifying freight trains in the U.S. is a really bad idea, December 13, 2016, mentions one freight project; but, of course is negative on electrification. The only freight ...


8

In the USA, freight has right of way on rails. Passenger rail rides on borrowed rail time and has to bend its schedule around freight. This is cheap (as they only pay marginal costs plus profit on the rails), but it gives relatively poor service. In Europe, passenger rail has right of way over freight. http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=11847 America moves ...


8

To answer your original question, capitalism's answer to passenger train travel not being economically viable is to not provide passenger train travel where it isn't profitable. Capitalism can only react to changing economic conditions, and it reacts in an economically efficient manner, not necessarily in a socially conscious manner. Passenger train ...


8

The short answer is that the US has not signed on to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe standards for automobile design so the emissions and crash testing data are not 1:1 comparable. The longer reason is that grey market importing gained popularity in the 80s which significantly ate into the domestic market (including dealerships) for ...


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