In November of 2004, California voters will be asked to ok bonds to build the initial phase of the high speed rail system, from the Transbay Terminal in San Francisco to Union Station in Los Angeles. The initial line will also serve San Jose, Fresno, Bakersfield and major cities in between. Total travel time from San Francisco (TTT) to Los Angeles (LAUS) on the express train will be 2 hours and 30 minutes, and the initial system will be in operation by 2010.

Let's take my trip to Los Angeles by train....

From my apartment to the Transbay Terminal, we'll use the same 45 minute travel time. I can walk to the TTT in 30 minutes, or probably make it there in the same time with MUNI.

Total time to TTT: 45 minutes

Trains require no advance check in, and because they have many doors, you can (and I have) made it onto a train many times (here and abroad) with a minute or two to spare. Regardless, I got to the station with 15 minutes to spare.

Once on the train, it's 2.5 hours to LAUS. On the train, I grab breakfast and fiddle with my computer, surfing the net over the train's wireless network.

Total time aboard train: 2.5 hours

My friend meets me at LAUS, where I've arrived 3 hours and 15 minutes after I left my apartment. That's an hour and 15 minutes sooner than by plane, and even in economy class on the train, the seating was much more comfortable than even business class on a plane, and I was able to order what I wanted for breakfast. Oh, and they don't care if your "electronic devices" are on or off, there's full net and cell access, and it's cheaper than flying.


Read on....