One traveler recently recounted his experience taking a bullet train from Florence to Rome and highly recommended the experience.
The entire trip took under two hours, cost $46, and included spacious seating with “adequate legroom.” And lest you think that this traveler just got lucky with a stress-free train trip, the train was delayed twice, forcing him to switch trains mid-journey, and he could still get to the destination in time.
“Overall, I’d recommend taking the bullet train from Florence to Rome instead of the regular passenger train because it was faster, had fewer stops, and provided comfortable amenities,” he concluded. “I’ll never choose the standard option again.”
This experience echoes the experiences of other travelers around the world who have had the privilege of getting to ride on bullet trains, particularly in China. The trains are consistently rated as comfortable, cheap, convenient, and fast.
Transportation is one of the largest sources of planet-overheating gas pollution worldwide. In the United States, for example, the transportation sector is responsible for about 28% of total planet-heating pollution, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Train travel, however, causes the least pollution per passenger of any type of transport, reports Our World in Data, apart from biking and walking (which are not feasible for everyone and don’t work for long-distance travel).
According to one study reported by the BBC, a train trip from London to Madrid would create only 16% of the heat-trapping pollution per passenger as the same trip taken by airplane.
According to another study, taking a train instead of a car for medium-length distances would cut your emissions by around 80%, per Our World in Data.
Unfortunately, high-speed rail in the United States still lags far behind China and Europe, leaving environmentally conscious Americans with more limited low-pollution options for long-distance travel.
While electric vehicles are the best option in many cases, they are still prohibitively expensive for a large portion of the population. That suggests that if the United States wants to get serious about reducing pollution from the transportation sector, our government needs to get serious about high-speed rail, and soon.
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