Trains and Planes
So I’m almost a month into my Spring break and have been doing a little of traveling around Japan with my parents. I’ve also been planning some trips during March and one thing that struck me is how in both Japan and the UK the pricing of trains vs planes bares no resemblance to their impact on the environment.
I’m off to Kyoto on Monday from Tokyo, an ordinary, one way bullet train there takes about 3 hours and costs £100, however you can get a flight for £40. Later on in March I’m going to the north island, Hokkaido, and the south island, Kyushu. For both of these trips I could get the bullet train, or I could fly, both take around the same time all things considered as trains are city centre to city centre.
However when it comes to costs, to fly from Tokyo to Kyushu costs about £40, whilst getting the train costs about £160, and to Hokkaido its £65 and £205 respectively. This is not an issue that is exclusive to Japan, it’s the same picture in the UK, when trying to go from London to Paris, it is almost always significantly cheaper to fly than get the eurostar
Whilst I understand that in the current market it is more expensive to operate high speed rail than short haul, luggage free flights, and that high speed rail is energy intensive, high-speed rail is infinitely better for the environment that flying. Considering the current environmental precipice that the world finds its self in, surely governments should be re-balancing the market to make sure that the environmental of impact of each mode of travel is taken into account. This for example could mean that short haul flights become double the price, whilst the extra revenue raised could be spent on subsidising rail travel, making it cheaper than short haul air travel.
Sorry about the slight political nature of this if you aren’t interested in it but hey, the worlds burning 🙂