Maybe it’s time to sell off Amtrak

Apparently, the loss of Ohio’s Amtrak passenger service as proposed by the Trump administration would be a hardship for residents who rely on it.

Let’s consider that. A trip from Toledo to Cleveland via Amtrak leaving today and returning next Tuesday would cost $46. The train would depart at 3:20 a.m.; the return leg would leave at 3:45 a.m. Both would take about two hours and 10 minutes.

That itinerary, via bus, would cost $21-$25 and take about the same time. The bus trip offers seven departure options between 8:20 a.m. and 11:10 p.m. The return leg has six choices for departure times, from 3:55 a.m. until 5:45 p.m.

A visit to Cincinnati from Toledo is more challenging via Amtrak. Roundtrip fare is $184 for a trip that spans 21 hours.

The same trip by bus would cost $47-$58 and take 4-8 hours, with a half-dozen departure options.

The good news is Amtrak sustained its lowest operating loss since 1973 last year, just $227 million on record revenues of $2.14 billion. Maybe it’s time to privatize the service and see if a corporate operator could run it profitably.

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