Seamless Travel

My husband and I recently travelled from our home in Williamsburg to Ballinasloe, County Galway Ireland. We could have gotten on the early morning Amtrak and travelled directly to Newark—Liberty International Airport. We actually drove to Baltimore to spend a few days with our daughter and family and took the same train from Baltimore-Washington International Airport to Newark airport. There a tram carried us to the international terminal and our Aer Lingus flight.

Upon arriving in Dublin, we planned to stay in an airport hotel to recover from jet lag before boarding our bus to the west of Ireland. A hotel shuttle took us to the hotel and back to the airport the next day to board our cross- country bus. The buses run often and are very reasonable. Our round- trip ticket for two was $56 for a two-and-a-half-hour journey with few stops.

When we returned, we took the bus directly to the airport terminal. Upon landing in Newark, we boarded the tram to the hotel shuttle stop and took the shuttle to our hotel—we could have boarded a train from the airport but again decided on some recovery time. The next morning our shuttle deposited us back at the airport and one tram stop later we were at the train station where both commuter and Amtrak trains are available.

Hampton Roads brands itself as a tourist destination. And, Williamsburg and Newport News as well as Norfolk have Amtrak service with some bus connections to Virginia Beach. But as far as I know, there are no train or bus connections from Williamsburg to Richmond or Newport News or Norfolk airports. Virginia Beach has declined to extend the Tides commuter rail from Norfolk to the beach.

Tourist dollars could best be spent connecting airports to train stations and buses, allowing visitors to arrive without cars. Increased subsidies to public transportation could ease traffic congestion throughout the country. Carless visitors would not add to traffic or air pollution and would attract additional classes of tourists.

Hats off to BWI and Norfolk for making travel easier!