For travelers, getting between cities is the easy part. Too often, the hard part is getting from the railroad station, the bus station or the airport to the ultimate destination.

Amtrak, bless it, has reduced the problem for those who ride its trains in the Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston. At the instigation of and with support from Lou Thompson of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Amtrak recently published the first transit guide showing connections between its trains and the public transit services in 12 cities along the main stem of the corridor.

The 48-page folders, to be distributed at Amtrak agencies, contain maps and descriptions of subway, suburban railway, trolley, bus and even ferryboat services available at Boston, Providence, New London, New Haven, Stamford, New York, Newark, Trenton, Philadelphia, Wilmington, Baltimore and Washington.

One who reads it is struck with two illuminating insights to Washington's transit system. One, confirming my own long-held bias, is that our Metro has the most complicated bus route structure and set of bus and subway scheduled operating hours of any city, hard for residents--let alone visitors--to comprehend.

The other is that, during the too many hours in which the subway isn't running, there is no--literally no--public transit service available directly from Union Station to many of the most popular local travel destinations, such as much of Pennsylvania Avenue, Arlington, Silver Spring, Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Anacostia or, with one relatively minor exception, anywhere in Washington west of Rock Creek Park.