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Deni

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 11, 2008
Messages
292
An interesting item in the bill - less important than other things of course, but interesting all the same - that got my attention is station staffing requirements. One of the rules states that any station that averaged 40 boardings per day in fiscal 2017 has to be staffed with at least one ticket agent. The question I have is, if anyone here might know where to find that info, are there any stations with that many boardings that are currently unstaffed that would have to be re-staffed if this provision survives the process?

It also says any station staffed on or after October 1st, 2017 will have to be staffed, meaning some more recent station agent cuts could be reversed and would also prohibit any more ticket agent cuts in the future.

I do like this.
 

cirdan

Engineer
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
2,660
An interesting item in the bill - less important than other things of course, but interesting all the same - that got my attention is station staffing requirements. One of the rules states that any station that averaged 40 boardings per day in fiscal 2017 has to be staffed with at least one ticket agent. The question I have is, if anyone here might know where to find that info, are there any stations with that many boardings that are currently unstaffed that would have to be re-staffed if this provision survives the process?

It also says any station staffed on or after October 1st, 2017 will have to be staffed, meaning some more recent station agent cuts could be reversed and would also prohibit any more ticket agent cuts in the future.

I do like this.
To me this sounds like exactly the sort of micro-management that ends up backfiring and making it easy for detractors to harp on about waste and ineffciency. It also potentially makes new routes more difficult to introduce. I feel this type of decision should be Amtrak's. Congress need to put able and competent pro-Amtrak people in charge and then give them as much freedom as possible in day to day decision taking.

There may be stations where an agent is justified and others where there is little point.
 

me_little_me

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
4,500
To me this sounds like exactly the sort of micro-management that ends up backfiring and making it easy for detractors to harp on about waste and ineffciency. It also potentially makes new routes more difficult to introduce. I feel this type of decision should be Amtrak's. Congress need to put able and competent pro-Amtrak people in charge and then give them as much freedom as possible in day to day decision taking.

There may be stations where an agent is justified and others where there is little point.
I agree/disagree somewhat with this. Yes, they are micromanaging - but they have to with a management that has no concept on how to implement "manned" stations and/or provide those services that the local agent did other than the way it has always been done.

But getting "able and competent pro-Amtrak people in charge" has been a big problem for congress because of the diverging "representatives" who are more interested in promoting their political agenda than they are serving the American people.
 

joelkfla

OBS Chief
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
957
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
An interesting item in the bill - less important than other things of course, but interesting all the same - that got my attention is station staffing requirements. One of the rules states that any station that averaged 40 boardings per day in fiscal 2017 has to be staffed with at least one ticket agent. The question I have is, if anyone here might know where to find that info, are there any stations with that many boardings that are currently unstaffed that would have to be re-staffed if this provision survives the process?

It also says any station staffed on or after October 1st, 2017 will have to be staffed, meaning some more recent station agent cuts could be reversed and would also prohibit any more ticket agent cuts in the future.

I do like this.
Passenger counts for stations are available at State Fact Sheets | Amtrak for FY 2018 & 2019. If you really want the numbers for FY17, copy the link to the FY18 sheet and change the 18 at the end of the URL to 17.

Station amenities, including staffing, are available at At the Station | Amtrak (Ticket Office or not.)
 

Deni

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 11, 2008
Messages
292
Passenger counts for stations are available at State Fact Sheets | Amtrak for FY 2018 & 2019. If you really want the numbers for FY17, copy the link to the FY18 sheet and change the 18 at the end of the URL to 17.

Station amenities, including staffing, are available at At the Station | Amtrak (Ticket Office or not.)
Cool, thanks for pointing me in that direction. Interesting to see just form a few searches how many stations would be getting ticket agents back under this bill. My old college town of Macomb being one of them.
 

Josh M

Train Attendant
Joined
May 30, 2015
Messages
71
Location
Ferndale, MI
Passenger counts for stations are available at State Fact Sheets | Amtrak for FY 2018 & 2019. If you really want the numbers for FY17, copy the link to the FY18 sheet and change the 18 at the end of the URL to 17.

Station amenities, including staffing, are available at At the Station | Amtrak (Ticket Office or not.)
Looks like a lot of stations here in MI would be getting a ticket agent. I find it very interesting that Royal Oak (my "home" station) is one of them, when the Royal Oak station is literally just an outdoor platform with a shelter, but Pontiac, which has a small but nice and still fairly new actual station building, won't. (If they'd used FY 2019 numbers, then both of them would qualify.) I suppose maybe they could put someone inside the Royal Oak Transit Center across the street?
 

lordsigma

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
1,388
This rule on station agents does not apply to state supported services - only long distance and the northeast corridor. State supported stations are still between Amtrak and the states. Amtrak can get around it by allowing commuter rail agents to sell Amtrak tickets. In a large number of NEC stations that could be affected by this they could address the issue by using the commuter rail agency as they do with NJ transit at a couple stops. The biggest issue I see for them on the NEC is a couple stops where them de staffing essentially caused the station building to close - ones I’m thinking are westerly and mystic - now the towns have gone on to put other venues in those station buildings so we’ll see how this gets interpreted. At places like Back Bay and Bridgeport it may just be easier to allow the commuter rail employees sell Amtrak.
 
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neroden

Engineer
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
8,806
Location
Ithaca, NY
To me this sounds like exactly the sort of micro-management
Congressional micromanagement is a reaction to blatantly incompetent Amtrak leadership, in this case Mr. Anderson. If Amtrak would stop scoring own goals and otherwise shooting at its own feet, Congress might be more inclined to be hands-off. On that topic, Amtrak needs to start publishing timetables again.
 

cirdan

Engineer
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
2,660
This rule on station agents does not apply to state supported services - only long distance and the northeast corridor. State supported stations are still between Amtrak and the states. Amtrak can get around it by allowing commuter rail agents to sell Amtrak tickets. In a large number of NEC stations that could be affected by this they could address the issue by using the commuter rail agency as they do with NJ transit at a couple stops. The biggest issue I see for them on the NEC is a couple stops where them de staffing essentially caused the station building to close - ones I’m thinking are westerly and mystic - now the towns have gone on to put other venues in those station buildings so we’ll see how this gets interpreted. At places like Back Bay and Bridgeport it may just be easier to allow the commuter rail employees sell Amtrak.
In principle, I like the idea.

The devil may be in the details however. How can you assure that commuter rail employees have the same level of training and detail knowledge as Amtrak employees and can answer customer questions competently? If you send them on courses and give them a qualification this may lead to problematic situations where employee A is not permitted to serve an Amtrak customer but employee B is, but the customer is angry because employee B has finished their shift and is going home and there is only employee A left to talk to.

Also, what will the Unions say about non Amtrak people doing Amtrak jobs?
 
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