General Question

Mariah's avatar

Help me understand public transportation. What are outbound and inbound?

Asked by Mariah (25876points) October 11th, 2012

I understand it means the direction you’re traveling, but I’m not sure how to apply it. If I’m looking at an inbound train schedule and there are different locations listed, does it mean the train is going to those locations? And outbound means it’s leaving from those locations? Or does it work differently?

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10 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

For instance if you are in NYC, the inbound trains are coming into New York. The outbound are leaving the city. It usually refers to trains coming and going from major city stations or terminals. Grand Central “station” is technically Grand Central Terminal. It is the end of the line for all trains on those particular tracks.

gorillapaws's avatar

You’re right, it dosent make any logical sense. Every train is simultaneously both outbound and inbound depending if you’re at the station it’s leaving from or the one it’s heading to.

flutherother's avatar

Over here if you get a return ticket to somewhere the ‘outward’ half of the ticket takes you where you are going and the ‘inward’ half you keep for coming back again.

zenvelo's avatar

As @JLeslie said, Outbound and Inbound are relative to the downtown area, not relative to where you are. In San Francisco downtown by the Embarcadero is the “center” and trains are inbound from the outer parts of the City; outbound to the avenues. In Chicago it is relative to the Loop in downtown.

Manhattan uses “Uptown” vs “Downtown”.

JLeslie's avatar

@zenvelo Manhattan uses uptown and downtown for Subways. Trains coming into and going out of Grand Central from the suburbs are inbound and outbound. Penn Station might also use inbound and outbound, not sure about that.

marinelife's avatar

Outbound and inbound refer to the center of the city or town. It is in relation to those things.

Mariah's avatar

Okay thanks everybody! So I’m leaving from the kind of “main” station so I’m looking at outbound trains. Appreciate it. I’m slowly learning how to navigate real life.

gailcalled's avatar

I live on route from Penn Station (Amtrak) in Manhattan to Albany and Montreal or Albany and Buffalo.

The trains are called northbound or southbound in my neck of the woods and shift to westbound if I am heading towards Buffalo.

Penn Station (Amtrak) uses in- and outbound.

JLeslie's avatar

@Mariah That sounds correct, you need outbound trains from where you are. Probably you need to look at either the line name, or the final stop, to figure out which train you need to take. If it is still confusing most like the times are published online and we can help you if you want to provide a link. You can PM me if you don’t want to broadcast it on the web. Also, if you call a phone number that is provided they will help with what train you should take.

Jeruba's avatar

I expect “inbound” to mean “toward downtown” or toward whatever is regarded as the center or main area of the city. “Outbound” is the opposite, toward the outlying districts. If there’s one main central terminal, inbound would mean going toward that.

For example, if you live in the outskirts of a city or in the suburbs and commute to a business district downtown, you’re inbound when you go to work and outbound when you go home.

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