Amtrak Customer Advisory Committee

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

pennyk

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
10,221
The Amtrak Customer Advisory Committee (ACAC) is a volunteer organization established in 1997 that represents the traveling public and provides Amtrak with the "voice of the customer." Committee members are frequent Amtrak riders who commute within their specific region of the country and/or regularly travel across the country several times a year. The Committee's mission is to:

  • Support Amtrak's mission, vision and goals.
  • Establish and maintain consistent and responsive communications between Amtrak and its customers.
  • Provide direct input to management about customer perceptions of service and other committee observations and recommendations.
As with most things involving Amtrak these days, the Amtrak Customer Advisory Committee will be undergoing a "reorganization." ACAC is currently seeking new members between the ages of 18 and 39.

Below is a link to the ACAC information page on the Amtrak website, which contains information regarding qualifications and instructions as to how to apply.

If you have any questions that are not answered on the information page, please post in this thread or send me a PM and I will try to find the answer.

https://www.amtrak.com/about-amtrak/amtrak-culture-and-careers/amtrak-customer-advisory-committee.html
 

RichieRich

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 2, 2016
Messages
278
Maybe it's just me...but...don't you think an "advisory committee" should be made up from the actual demographic of the actual customers???
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ziv

pennyk

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
10,221
Maybe it's just me...but...don't you think an "advisory committee" should be made up from the actual demographic of the actual customers???
From what I understand, that is their goal. Currently, the committee is "top" heavy and they want to balance it out.
 

TiBike

OBS Chief
Joined
Apr 18, 2015
Messages
709
Maybe it's just me...but...don't you think an "advisory committee" should be made up from the actual demographic of the actual customers???
No. The advisory committee – effectively, a focus group – should be representative of the demographic they're trying to attract. The last thing Amtrak needs is more input from ageing rail fans.
 

pennyk

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
10,221
I’m in the right demographic. How do I sign up. And I’m opinionated about Amtrak as well.
The application process is described on the ACAC page at Amtrak.com:
If you're interested in serving with the Committee, please forward the following information to ACAC@amtrak.com:

  1. A letter of interest explaining how your travel, customer, educational and professional experiences can benefit Amtrak and the committee's work.
  2. Current resume
  3. A list of the all Amtrak trips that you have taken during the past 12 months.
  4. A list of all planned Amtrak trips for the next 12 months.
 

Devil's Advocate

Conductor
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,388
The advisory committee – effectively, a focus group – should be representative of the demographic they're trying to attract. The last thing Amtrak needs is more input from ageing rail fans.
Amtrak has already long since mastered how to repeatedly disappoint older passengers. Now they can finally focus on ignoring the needs and desires of younger passengers as well. The removal of student discounts and the abandonment of youth outreach programs like National Train Day will hopefully pay big dividends in the future.
 

AFS1970

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 3, 2016
Messages
47
I don't met the travel requirements, otherwise I would apply. Oddly enough I think I have done 8 out of the 10 required for the NEC this year.
 

pennyk

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
10,221
I don't met the travel requirements, otherwise I would apply. Oddly enough I think I have done 8 out of the 10 required for the NEC this year.
Apply any way and note that you came close to meeting the requirement.
 

pennyk

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
10,221
I rarely hear about this group. Are there any recommendations they have made that have been put into practice? Or is it just public relations by Amtrak to make passengers think they have a say?
The committee made the suggestion for the quiet car years ago also the healthy menu option (which probably has gone by the wayside). They also nominate Amtrak employees for customer service awards. They mostly operate anonymously. Jim Mathews, the current CEO of RPA, is a former ACAC member.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,663
IIRC ACAC was also the big bone of contention among many detractors of RPA since RPA was funded by Amtrak to essentially run it for Amtrak. This was viewed as a conflict of interest by many. It was never really clear to me why Amtrak Customer Service Department couldn't just take it in house and put RPA out of its misery on that front even though some among the RPA executive thought it was cool to get a bunch of money from Amtrak even though they could not spend it on anything else. All this is based on my vague understanding of what was going on and indeed my understanding could be quite wrong. As usual happy to be corrected.
 

pennyk

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
10,221
IIRC ACAC was also the big bone of contention among many detractors of RPA since RPA was funded by Amtrak to essentially run it for Amtrak. This was viewed as a conflict of interest by many. It was never really clear to me why Amtrak Customer Service Department couldn't just take it in house and put RPA out of its misery on that front even though some among the RPA executive thought it was cool to get a bunch of money from Amtrak even though they could not spend it on anything else. All this is based on my vague understanding of what was going on and indeed my understanding could be quite wrong. As usual happy to be corrected.
For the last several years, at least, the ACAC director was an RPA employee, half of whose salary was paid by Amtrak. The latest ACAC director is still employed by RPA.

I was an ACAC member for 5 years and I am disappointed that it was disbanded. I think the committee provided valuable information and feedback to Amtrak (but, of course, I am biased).
 

niemi24s

Conductor
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,236
What improvements to Amtrak (as seen by the customer) did the ACAC manage to bring about?
 

niemi24s

Conductor
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,236
My only experience in a Quiet Car was between VAC and SEA where some loud-mouth yakked incessantly over her phone about cookie recipes! Complained three times to the conductor but he had no luck in shutting her up.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,663
My only experience in a Quiet Car was between VAC and SEA where some loud-mouth yakked incessantly over her phone about cookie recipes! Complained three times to the conductor but he had no luck in shutting her up.
On the NEC people routinely get kicked out of the Quiet Cars for not being Quiet. I guess attitudes in the Northwest are more relaxed and accommodating :p
 

daybeers

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 6, 2016
Messages
697
Yes, Amtrak disbanded the ACAC last year. :(
That's really sad.
For the last several years, at least, the ACAC director was an RPA employee, half of whose salary was paid by Amtrak. The latest ACAC director is still employed by RPA.

I was an ACAC member for 5 years and I am disappointed that it was disbanded. I think the committee provided valuable information and feedback to Amtrak (but, of course, I am biased).
I understand the RPA conflict of interest, but it could have just been changed. Typical Amtrak, going for the path of least resistance which usually is a negative decision.

I'm sure the committee provided valuable information to Amtrak. I would have applied when this thread was created last year, but I was under the requirements. Thank you for serving, Penny!
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
7,881
Isn't the RPA the successor to NARP? I wasn't aware that Amtrak contributed funds toward it, but it kind of makes sense, just like other transportation modes like airlines contributing to their trade organization's that lobby the government in their behalf....
 

Trogdor

Conductor
Joined
Aug 3, 2004
Messages
5,426
Isn't the RPA the successor to NARP? I wasn't aware that Amtrak contributed funds toward it, but it kind of makes sense, just like other transportation modes like airlines contributing to their trade organization's that lobby the government in their behalf....
RPA isn’t the successor to NARP. RPA is NARP. They just changed their name.
 

Thirdrail7

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
4,488
Why did they disband the committee? Did they decide they were doing well enough without one?

That being said, ridership has been decimated and there is a new CEO. Now may be a good time to bring back the committee.
 

pennyk

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
10,221
Why did they disband the committee? Did they decide they were doing well enough without one?

That being said, ridership has been decimated and there is a new CEO. Now may be a good time to bring back the committee.
I believe the decision was financial. Although the costs of the maintaining the committee were not large, there were costs. I am not overly optimistic that the ACAC will be reinstated.
 
2
Top