Why we road trip in California

by Michael Satterfield

It is not a big secret that I love to road trip and for the most part hate public transportation. Most of this I believes comes from living in the State of California, where interstate public transportation is a mess.. We have the worst network of public transportation for a state with the massive population centers that are fairly centralized to specific regions. To address this issue the brain trusts in Sacramento have decided a bullet train is needed, sounds like a plan, but then again this is California so we are going to screw it up. Instead of connecting LA to Fresno to San Francisco, this "high speed train" is going to stop at every one horse town along the way. So what should be a three hour ride on a bullet train is going to be about the same as the current Amtrak service. 

But why don't California's take the bus? Well that is because our bus systems also suck, have you ever been on a Greyhound? I tried it once on the way to Vegas for a conference, figured for $50 how bad could it be. The whole story is more entertaining, but lets just say between the people smoking pot in the bathroom, the crazy man that got into a fight with a vagabond over his seat, and the guys with tattoos on their face it was in experience. Then there was a group of left-wing protesters that decided we needed to be preached at for 5 hours... Plus just Google Greyhound and you find a number stories like the cockroach infested bus in New York (Click here to read that one), that just make you not want to ride the bus. 

So I decided to look at the options for traveling from from my home in Rancho Cucamonga to San Francisco. Each of these options is the cost for two adults, round trip, to the Bay Area for the weekend. 

Greyhound Bus:
One way Travel Time: 10 hours 30 minutes
Cost $213.00

One Way Travel Time: 9 hours 48 minutes
Cost: $386.00

Southwest Airlines
One Way Travel Time: 1 hour 10 mins (not including TSA pat down time)
Cost: $647.00

Fox Rent A Car
One Way Travel Time: 6 hours
Cost: $40.57 for rental $96.44 in gas
Total: $137.01

Driving your own car
One Way Travel Time: 6 hours
Mid Sized V6 SUV: $162.42
Compact 2.0 I4: $118.54
Sub Compact: $137.01

The best thing about traveling by car is you can add more people without adding much to the cost of the travel. Our 7 passenger SUV costs about the same with 2 or 7 people on board. This is why the majority of people choose the car for their vacations here in California. Plus once you arrive at your destination you don't need to rent a car or hire a taxi.

As you can see you can drive in about half the time of the bus or the train and at about half the cost. So why would you want to spend over 10 hours on a bus a total of 21 hours of your 72 hour holiday???  This is why we road trip.