It's not Southwest, but a low-fare carrier is hereThere are many people (well, at least a dozen) who still push for passenger rail service between Roanoke, Richmond, and Washington. This despite the fact that it is a brain-searingly expensive proposition with prospects - if every other service outside the Northeast Corridor is any precursor - of decent ridership virtually nil.
A no-frills, low-fare carrier is finally coming to the area. No, it isn't, unfortunately, Southwest Airlines. It's not even an airline: It's Megabus, a carrier that will offer service between Christiansburg, Knoxville, Tenn., and Washington for as little as $1 a trip.
The service, announced Monday, begins Dec. 15.
Now New River Valley residents tired of having to drive to Roanoke to catch a flight can enjoy a little turnabout. If Roanokers want a cheap ride to D.C., they'll have to catch the bus in Christiansburg. [link, scroll down]
Megabus is a cheap alternative that doesn't cost the taxpayer a dime. And if those dozen citizens who say they need transportation to D.C. don't show up when the service is offered, that's Megabus's problem. A bus doesn't hold the mystique that a big old train does, but we're now way beyond paying out the nose for mystique.
Think NASA and you'll understand how that wildly expensive mystique manifests itself.