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MICHAEL BARONE: Traveling Back to the Future on Intercity Buses –

August 24, 2011

August 25, 2011

Traveling Back to the Future on Intercity Buses

By Michael Barone

Not long ago, I wrote about how the private sector outraces and laps government. While governments dither and dispute, the private sector discovers.

The example I mentioned then was energy. For years, governments, national and local, have been promoting wind and solar power, to little practical effect. Curiously, the biggest wind power producer is Rick Perry’s Texas. But wind power isn’t reliable, and both wind and solar cause serious damage to the environment.

In the meantime, the oil and gas industries — the favorite target of Barack Obama and congressional Democrats — have developed new techniques of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) that have vastly expanded recoverable American energy supplies.

Now across my laptop comes news of another area in which private sector actors have overtaken government. Again an older technology has been improved and adapted to fill a need, while government dithers.

The old technology in this case is buses.

While the Obama administration has been desperately seeking to spend $53 billion on so-called high-speed rail lines, private businessmen have developed Chinatown and Megabus lines that provide inter-city service that has attracted legions of price-conscious travelers.

Chinatown bus service started in 1998 to provide a cheap way for Asian immigrants to get from New York to Boston. You lined up at the curb, paid your $20 fare to the driver and settled into a comfortable bus for four hours or so.

via RealClearPolitics – Traveling Back to the Future on Intercity Buses.

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