Bullet-Train Ridership Numbers Weren't Inflated, Just Mistyped

Chinese airlines have found out just how popular bullet trains can be

By Jackson West
|  Thursday, Feb 11, 2010  |  Updated 3:15 PM PDT
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Bullet-Train Ridership Numbers Weren't Inflated, Just Mistyped

Rather than riding in style on a super-fast train, San Franciscans might end up stuck on Caltrain from San Jose.

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Opponents of California's plan to build a high-speed rail network connecting major cities seized on numbers in a report on ridership projections, arguing that the state's High-Speed Rail Authority was trying to inflate the numbers.

But it turns out that it was just a typo, though that hasn't satisfied those in Atherton and Menlo Park, two wealthy cities in the Bay Area's Peninsula region, concerned about the train's possible effect on their precious property values.

Attorney Stuart Flashman, an attorney representing a number of Peninsula groups, says that he will continue to press a lawsuit against the project's environmental certification, saying other errors were found by an independent consultant.

Opponents of the plan will be happy to hear that their efforts have the agency considering cutting San Francisco off from the high-speed rail network entirely, instead stopping in San Jose and pushing people onto Caltrain.

Ugh.

Just how popular might the bullet train be? Well, Chinese airline companies are slashing prices in order to compete with that country's popular high-speed rail network, which the government intends to expand to serve 90 percent of the population by 2020.

Jackson West doesn't understand how you could oppose a fast, comfortable, convenient and low-emission transportation alternative.

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