Tom Toles by Tom Toles

Tom Toles

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  1. Robert Landers

    Robert Landers said, 12 months ago

    I love it when the ultra conservative on this site keep dissing France. The same France with the fastest, most convenient, and finest public transportation of any civilized country on earth. They are so far ahead of us in this area that we are not even in the race anymore. We do not even seem to have the kind of people anymore that can translate our incredible technological expertise (that placed human beings on the moon, and brought them back safely some 40+ years ago!) into an even reasonable public transportation system. Why, oh why? As a patriotic American that makes me truly sad, truly, truly sad!!

  2. Mark

    Mark said, 12 months ago

    Been saving that up for a while or something?

  3. cdward

    cdward said, 12 months ago

    ^He’s on point with the cartoon. The US passenger rail system has so much potential but is being held back. We need it, and we need it to be world class. Not only France but virtually every other wealthy country has superior rail.

  4. Robert

    Robert said, 12 months ago

    Perhaps if rail travel were subsidised to the same level as air travel … who am I kidding? But I can dream, can’t I?

  5. Michael wme

    Michael wme said, 12 months ago

    There was an ad for school buses back in the ‘80s (?). Sixty children stood in two circles, thirty in each circle. A mother with a VW Rabbit was to take one group to school. The school-bus was to take the other group. The mother could only take three children at a time, so she needed to make 9 round trips plus one more one-way trip to get all of her 30 kids to school. The bus needed just one trip, which took much less gas.

    But the thirty kids don’t all live in a small circle, they live all over the county, and each parent driving a single round trip costs less than the bus driving all over the county.

    If everyone lived within walking distance of a train station and needed to go somewhere within waking distance of a train station, the train would be the cheapest way to transport them. But a train turns out to be a big benefit to those who live and work within walking distance of a train station, and useless to everyone else.

    The solution involves not just putting in more, better, and faster trains (although those who live and work near railway stations will be grateful), but in moving more people near train stations. (Having everyone near a train station is what the UK calls ‘ribbon development’ and leads to severe housing shortages, so the UK has been trying to convince its citizens to use more POVs since the ’70s.)

  6. Enoki

    Enoki said, 12 months ago

    Trains couldn’t compete for the passenger market so they disappeared. No amount of government subsidy today will change how inefficient and under utilized passenger trains are except in very singularly niche markets for commuters.
    Wishful thinking is not a sound business plan… Except on the Progressive Left.

  7. Ted Lind

    Ted Lind GoComics PRO Member said, 12 months ago

    Commuter train system infrastructure is bought and paid for by the government. Most do not even break even on operating costs. They make sense in high density corridors because of other costs they avoid. Europe has more high density corridors and things are much closer together so you see more trains. It is simple economics. Besides, we can’t even maintain our existing infrastructure.

  8. r2varney

    r2varney said, 12 months ago


    You don’t think rail is subsidized?? who owns all the land the rails are on.. think they pay tax on that??

  9. mdavis4183

    mdavis4183 GoComics PRO Member said, 12 months ago

    Where I live public transportation means buses that run empty or with one or two passengers. Which means we have to pay higher taxes to pay for a very few riders. I live in NW Florida (the Panhandle). Due to military bases and lots of bays, bayous and inlets, it can take several miles of road travel to get to places you can see by line of sight.

    Several employers have tried to attrack more employees by offering shuttle service to and from work. However, the fact that it can be as much as 20 miles one way to pick up employees who are within a few miles of each othwerr has meant 100% of those attempts failed miserably.

  10. Enoki

    Enoki said, 12 months ago


    Poor analogy TTM. Fuel isn’t the only consideration.
    The bus driver costs money because he or she is paid to drive whereas the car owners are not.
    The bus is utilized just twice a day, once to take the kids to school, then once to take them home. It sits unused the rest of the time.
    There is also the idle time at each stop for the bus to consider. The bus also has a far bigger engine to push the weight of the vehicle and load.
    Then there is the time value of the trip. While in this case it might be low in the case of mass transit it is often high as the persons using it are unproductive and idle for longer periods due to the longer transit times involved.
    Even in the example given kid number 30 may be looking at an hour or more on that bus to and from school.
    The result is that much of mass transit is inefficent and costly compared to private vehicles. Hence why it is often under-utilized and operates at a loss.

  11. DragonRydr

    DragonRydr said, 12 months ago


    More to the point, FREIGHT rail is doing OK, is profitable, but passenger rail hasn’t been profitable since the 50’s. That is why Amtrak has taken over passenger service. Without it, there’d be NO passenger rail (outside local commuter rail) anywhere in the US.

  12. DragonRydr

    DragonRydr said, 12 months ago

    @Ted Lind

    It’s not a case of CAN’T maintain our infrastructure, but WON’T. We have all the money in the world to bully other nations, sending our military in to force them to follow our policy, but we can’t educate and feed our children or maintain our roads and bridges.

  13. Rad-ish

    Rad-ish GoComics PRO Member said, 12 months ago

    GM bought up and destroyed the local train systems after WW II so they could sell busses.

  14. hippogriff

    hippogriff said, 12 months ago

    Ionizer: Trying to divert attention? SNCF’s TGV is just one example. The German Schnelltrein, Japanese Bullet Train, etc. are equally valid examples. The cartoon showed the US flip side of the coin. As Norman Thomas often said, “I just hope when we have to buy the railroads, they don’t charge too much.” As with health care, the US is the only country in the over-developed world depending totally on private-profit corporations for essential services.

  15. Patrick JB Flynn

    Patrick JB Flynn GoComics PRO Member said, 12 months ago

    I have this crazy fantasy of a few of our billionaires getting it together and investing their large fortunes into the building of a modern rail system—one that could truly transform this country, and in so many positive ways. But nah, won’t sell with the base, of whom it would best and well serve. Given the problematic return on fossil fuels, it might not turn a profit.

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