Monday, September 7, 2009

Observations on Transport Quality

I have noticed that trains are popular in Japan, but that trains there are sometimes not very comfortable. Buses are heavily used in Korea, but many definitely are not comfortable.

I think that there are a couple of reasons for this.

First, a certain percentage of passengers use public transportation because they are environmentalists. These people will use gravitate towards the most common forms of public transportation.

But I don't think that is the most important reason.

When a form of transportation is not so popular, governments try to make it comfortable to attract people. Or at least justify operating it. So in Japan buses are comfortable even when they are slow and don't go where you need them to when. Aichi Prefecture's private trains are some of the most comfortable trains in Japan. Because buses don't fill in the gaps between the train lines very well, people realistically need cars. The area is relatively prosperous, so most can afford a car. So the trains have to constantly compete.

In Korea, bus ridership apparently will never drop below a certain level, no matter how awful the buses are. Trains are another matter. So trains are comfortable. (Unless they are overbooked.)

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