Amtrak Customer Advisory Committee

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dlagrua

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Nov 24, 2009
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Maybe I can clear up the confusion on the Amtrak survey received and that I replied to. No it wasn't a survey from Amtrak. They are not in the survey business but on the bottom of the survey it says:
"National Railroad Passenger Association has contacted Medallia, an independent firm, to conduct this survey". As such I believe that Amtrak will be receiving the inputs from it. The survey also uses the official Amtrak logo and is signed Amtrak Customer Analytics with a Philadelphia address.
 

railiner

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Mar 20, 2009
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I just wonder who is paying who? Is Amtrak paying the survey companies to get customer feedback, or is the survey company paying Amtrak in order to 'mine' data from it?🤔
 

railiner

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Who or what is “National Railroad Passenger Association”?
If you mean as mentioned in diagrua's post above, I'm fairly sure that was just a little slip...should be National Railroad Passenger Corporation
 

pennyk

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Since this thread has veered off the topic of the ACAC onto the topic of surveys, I want to report that I received an email survey this evening. The survey had Amtrak logo, but the email was from "Amtrak Market Research." The email address was at express.medalllia.com.

It was a short survey asked about my travel habits pre COVID, whether I plan to travel in the next 30 days, what Amtrak can do to make it better, etc.
 

railiner

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Mar 20, 2009
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I get a lot of "junk" mail, ostensibly from businesses I deal with, but upon closer inspection, (or opening), the truth reveals itself...the fine print says: "for customer's of xxxxxxx" or "for members of xxxxxxx". I can usually recognize the junk much quicker now, thru experience, and quickly "file them away"....;)
 

MARC Rider

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An advisory committee is a totally different beast from data derived from customer surveys. In my professional career I was a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) for the Chesapeake Bay Program, and I was also a staff manager ("Designated Federal Officer") for a couple of advisory committees run by EPA. The EPA committees were managed under the terms of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), which requires stuff like balanced membership, advance publicity for meetings, including advance copies for the agenda, all meetings open to the public, the committee publishes its recommendations, and (usually) the Agency makes a response. The Agency getting the advice can ignore it all they want, but the committee's advice is in the public record. The Chesapeake Bay STAC was actually fairly successful getting positive responses to technical issues they raised. The members serve as "volunteers" (though their employers usually cover their salary while they do committee work). For the EPA Science Advisory Board, we would pay a nominal consulting fee to certain academics and representatives of NGOs to ensure their participation, especially if their organizations couldn't afford to cover salary.

If Amtrak were to have real outside advisory committees, they might not have to follow FACA rules fully, as they aren't a true Federal agency. (On the other hand, if DOT had an Amtrak advisory committee, with would be entirely under FACA and would be officially giving advice to DOT, not to Amtrak.) While Amtrak itself would need to manage the committee, it would be perfectly proper (and useful) to have members representing RPA, AAR, individual host railroads, states that support Amtrak service, commuter agencies, the unions, etc. I could see two committees, one that focuses on passenger services and policies, the other that would focus on operations. Even if Amtrak ignores the advice, it would disseminate responsible discourse about the issues from reputable stakeholders. And I don't think Amtrak could totally blow off a recommendations submitted to the public record by a committee composed of its main stakeholders.
 

Bob Dylan

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May 31, 2009
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An advisory committee is a totally different beast from data derived from customer surveys. In my professional career I was a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) for the Chesapeake Bay Program, and I was also a staff manager ("Designated Federal Officer") for a couple of advisory committees run by EPA. The EPA committees were managed under the terms of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), which requires stuff like balanced membership, advance publicity for meetings, including advance copies for the agenda, all meetings open to the public, the committee publishes its recommendations, and (usually) the Agency makes a response. The Agency getting the advice can ignore it all they want, but the committee's advice is in the public record. The Chesapeake Bay STAC was actually fairly successful getting positive responses to technical issues they raised. The members serve as "volunteers" (though their employers usually cover their salary while they do committee work). For the EPA Science Advisory Board, we would pay a nominal consulting fee to certain academics and representatives of NGOs to ensure their participation, especially if their organizations couldn't afford to cover salary.

If Amtrak were to have real outside advisory committees, they might not have to follow FACA rules fully, as they aren't a true Federal agency. (On the other hand, if DOT had an Amtrak advisory committee, with would be entirely under FACA and would be officially giving advice to DOT, not to Amtrak.) While Amtrak itself would need to manage the committee, it would be perfectly proper (and useful) to have members representing RPA, AAR, individual host railroads, states that support Amtrak service, commuter agencies, the unions, etc. I could see two committees, one that focuses on passenger services and policies, the other that would focus on operations. Even if Amtrak ignores the advice, it would disseminate responsible discourse about the issues from reputable stakeholders. And I don't think Amtrak could totally blow off a recommendations submitted to the public record by a committee composed of its main stakeholders.
Good info from someone who's been there and knows!!
 
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