Cheap and Slow or Expensive and Fast?

As regular readers know, I do a fair bit of travel, both for business and leisure. I spend a lot of time en route–on planes, in trains and in automobiles (mostly taxis and airport shuttles).

In my experience, when I want to get from Point A to Point B, there’s usually at least two ways. There’s the cheap, slow way, or the more expensive, faster method. And you know what? The expensive route is almost always about 2.5 to 3 times as expensive as the cheap route. Consider some examples:

Cheap and Slow     Expensive and Fast
Ferry & bus from
Vancouver to Victoria
$40 $120 Seaplane from Vancouver to Victoria
Airporter to Victoria Airport from home $16 $40 Taxi to Victoria Airport from home
Ferry plus bus to Tofino from Vancouver $60 $188 Seaplane to Tofino from Vancouver

That’s hardly a large data set, and I’m no economist, but it’s a pattern I see over and over again. I remember similar ratios around renting a car or hiring a driver in Morocco, or flying versus the ferry among the Greek isles.


  1. The exception to this rule is rail travel. I see all these lovely VIA Rail commercials on during playoff hockey, “See Canada by Rail!” they say. And I’d love to, except for the price of a bloody train ticket to the next province over, I could fly from Halifax to Vancouver and back again in first-class.

    It doesn’t matter how scenic the voyage is, they don’t seem to understand that slow + expensive = unpopular travel choice.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: