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Old 27th August 2010, 17:43   #1
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Default For short distance for say 200 kms or below should you drive or take a train

Any one who is reading this on team-bhp would call this as offensive content but I think we need to explore why it makes sensible to travel in train or drive.
I would love to drive however, considering its monsoon the pitiable condition of the roads and the damage its can cause to your car and suspension isn’t it better to travel in train and relax than to drive all way through?
Now if you are traveling in train these are the difficulties faced
• Reach the station before time and then the obvious train delays.
• You need some one to drop you at the station or take a cab.
• You may need to check the PNR status etc.
• You cannot return at the time you want nor start at the time you would want to.
• You need to prepare in advance and if you decide to change in plan then you need to cancel the ticket.
Having said this if you traveling alone then I guess train makes sense as the cost is lesser & complete relaxation you can read book or enjoy music without concentrating on road.
You can avoid the unexpected thud sound from your car suspension because you did not see the pothole or the potholes were filled with water. You can relax n enjoy the book. 4 stops and you are there. A 200 kms on a express train takes almost the same time as you car.
You can eat the regular train food which you missed while you were traveling in car.
If you are traveling with more than 3 people car makes sense as cost of fuel vs ac 3 tier train ticket say a train ticket to kochi to coimbatore cost you Rs 315 so a total of Rs 630 is all that you need if you are alone but you would need Rs 1890 for 3 people and that’s where a car makes perfect sense.
So conclude;
Train is comfortable and safe.
A drive is thrilling exiting and fun.
So DRIVE that’s what men have and need to do.
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Old 27th August 2010, 18:08   #2
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My two cents:
- Cars are "comfortable and safe" as well; in fact on the comfort front way ahead of the typical Indian train. Safety is a relative thing: if you drive carefully and avoid risky situations, you should for the most part be as safe as you are in a train.
- Taking cab/public transport to the railway station, which are typically located in crowded downtown areas, is an avoidable hassle. You need to deal with reluctant cabbies, fare-haggling, tipping porters etc. You also expose yourself and the family to becoming victims of crime (pickpocketing is common at railway stations) and disease.
- Intercity trains are slow, usually stop very frequently and more often than not are held up to accomodate local commuter trains. If we had point to point express services that completed a 200km journey in 2 1/2 hours instead of 5 which it would typically take now, I would consider it seriously. But not otherwise.
- The "romance" associated with train travel is a matter of opinion. I for one don't see it at all- a drive with my loved one through the mist and rain is infinitely more romantic to me than sharing space with nosy strangers with kids whose noses run.
- I read an average of a book a week. I don't need to travel by train to indulge this hobby. And most times there aren't working reading lights on trains anyway.
- The sheer pleasure of the drive. After working five days a week in an office designed to numb your senses and plodding through urban crawl traffic, it's a relief to hit the road and be one with my machine as it fulfills its destiny (yeah OK that was overkill). Believe it or not, it's not all about the need for speed and the thrills.

So to answer your question, hell YES I would drive over taking the train anyday. In fact I do Pune-Mumbai at least once and on average twice every month, which is about 160 km.

Last edited by noopster : 27th August 2010 at 18:11.
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Old 27th August 2010, 20:19   #3
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i agree noopster, but you need to be in this part of the world to know what bad roads are all about, mumbai pune highway is a drivers delight thats stopover at lonavala would make it more exiting, not the case when it comes to kerala roads.
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Old 29th August 2010, 01:37   #4
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It all depends on what I set out to do.
After reaching my destination, if it involves more local travel where in I need to take a cab/ rickshaw/ bus, then I'd prefer to drive down. No point in taking a train just to travel from point A to B which is under 200 kms but then you spend a lot of time travelling locally and hunting for public transport.
But if it's official work, then I take the train/ cab/ rickshaw combination as the company will foot the bill, plus I can keep my mind concentrated on work and not traffic from start to finish.
But if it's a personal dash under 200 kms, I will never take the train/ bus as long as I have my car with me. There will always be people to meet and things to do in the destination city. And I can pace my travel at my own convenience. Stop where I want, take a route that I decide on etc.
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Old 29th August 2010, 01:58   #5
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200 Kms by public transport involves...
- Economy
- Book tickets in advance
- Cancel tickets if office leaves aren't approved, so loss of some money
- For local sight seeing, I need to hire a car
- Boring to sit inside a iron cage
- All travel plans to be based on public transport timings & cannot be changed to convenience

200 Kms by car
- Expensive
- No commitments for tickets
- Flexible with office leaves
- No hires or wires
- More enjoyment in driving
- All travel plans are based on convenience

So the answer lies in which one outweighs the other
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Old 29th August 2010, 13:23   #6
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well it also depends on the car and the amount of people doing the distance.
If it is just one person and petrol car low on efficiency (say 9-10) its not practical and the cheaper train is the better pick.
But if it is a good fuel efficient diesel(say 17kmpl) and 2-3 people on board then it should run out cheaper.
But for sheer convenience , I prefer Car any day.
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Old 29th August 2010, 13:27   #7
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Fast & economical
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Old 29th August 2010, 13:32   #8
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If you value time and if driving/riding saves time; drive.

Economy and tension free is train.
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Old 29th August 2010, 14:17   #9
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well - I think the economical aspects of public transport (train/bus) vs personal automobile should not be compared. There are intangible benefits on both which cannot be measured in Rupee terms. That being said,

1. Your destination might not have direct train service or fast train service.
2. Local transport benfits
3. Flexibity of schedule
4. Comfort. Big +
5. Ability to take detours and cover other places as opposed to A to B service.
6. Thrill

Of course train travel holds it charm for small children. I have taken few road trips as a child, but retain memories of only train trips.

I like reading/listening to music but in a trip I would like to be in control of a mechanical beast than being just a passenger in one.
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Old 29th August 2010, 17:06   #10
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Depends on the roads and conditions mostly and ofcourse availibility of trains to the destinations. If it is driveable, I would definitely.
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Old 29th August 2010, 20:27   #11
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Depends upon the frequency of connectivity, distance from one's place to rail head, distance from destination rail head to the place where one has work/home, inclination, distance, economy of rail over car, road and traffic conditions etc. Love of driving is also a major factor. Another factor may be number of toll gates and the charges we pay there.

In 1999, the road connecting Hyderabad to our place (60 km of it before it joins NH-9) was very bad and widening and repair was in full swing. At that time, many people preferred trains than risking the road, either by bus or car.
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Old 29th August 2010, 21:31   #12
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All things being the same, the answer probably lies in how much you love driving. If you would drive, no matter what, then drive. Even if an iota of doubt creeps up, them you better take the train, for, if you drive, at every bump that your car takes, you will end up cursing yourself.
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Old 29th August 2010, 23:47   #13
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Originally Posted by neel385 View Post
All things being the same, the answer probably lies in how much you love driving. If you would drive, no matter what, then drive. Even if an iota of doubt creeps up, them you better take the train, for, if you drive, at every bump that your car takes, you will end up cursing yourself.
I would concur with what neel has said.It's not only about the convenience and cost that would decide if you will take a train or a car. But then, if you would like to be a free bird and not depend on the fixed schedules and then haggle about fares with local transportation, you would obviously take your car.
But then you should also love driving it. It should be just a matter of convenience.
I for always, will take the car. 200kms is hardly anything these days. People do crazy long distances in their own car.
Would also agree with MX6. If official, will take the train though
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Old 2nd September 2010, 20:12   #14
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Lets say if you are living in a metro, i mean cities like Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai etc and commute by car to work, and if you get a chance to drive 200 kms on a highway, less traffic, not much honking, not many speed breakers and last but not the least no stop lights, I would like to drive and enjoy it too! It might not be economical as compared to public transport, but nothing in life comes free!

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Old 6th September 2010, 09:31   #15
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Let alone 200km, I would drive even 500-700km than take the train. Highway drives are relaxing for me - a great way to unwind . Plus you get to start when you want and stop where you want.
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