Amtrak Dining Cuts Petition

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Anderson

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I just got off a conference call with the RPA/NARP Board. One thing I will say is that while I'm (pretty clearly) opposed to the cuts, petitions on change.org might be among the least effective forms of activism out there.
 

tommylicious

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I just got off a conference call with the RPA/NARP Board. One thing I will say is that while I'm (pretty clearly) opposed to the cuts, petitions on change.org might be among the least effective forms of activism out there.
And here comes the crazytown. Moderators can you please lock this thread?
 

Palmetto

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I just got off a conference call with the RPA/NARP Board. One thing I will say is that while I'm (pretty clearly) opposed to the cuts, petitions on change.org might be among the least effective forms of activism out there.
And here comes the crazytown. Moderators can you please lock this thread?
I don't see why. This is a discussion forum, and you want to stifle it, apparently.
 

Seaboard92

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No offense but I think RPA/NARP is too academic to get things rolling. Amtrak was created partially because of the grassroots movement that occurred after the train off that did the California Zephyr in and the massive amounts of letters congress received about train offs.

The method I would use is to educate the masses with everyday talk. For instance my friend Maddy who is effected directly by the new CL/LSL diner debacle didn't know about the dining change because she's not in the community.

She is a regular everyday passenger with no real interest in trains to pay attention to changes. She's appalled at the changes. But she wouldn't have known if I hadn't stated what was happening in plain language. If we want to reach the average passenger we can't be academic. We need to talk directly to people in their language. Which is something I don't feel NARP/RPA can do as easily.
 

MikefromCrete

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While person to person contact is good, that can only go so far. A national organization is needed to lobby with congress and Amtrak directly, which NARP/RPA can do. The petition can't hurt. Actually contacting your congressman is perhaps the most effective.
 

Devil's Advocate

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I just got off a conference call with the RPA/NARP Board. One thing I will say is that while I'm (pretty clearly) opposed to the cuts, petitions on change.org might be among the least effective forms of activism out there.
I would say that depends on what exactly you're expecting a petition to accomplish. If you're hoping a single petition will resolve a serious or complicated problem just because you happened to sign it then no, it will almost certainly fail to accomplish that task on its own. However, if you view the petition as the first stage in a series of steps starting with disseminating news and building support levels then yes, it can effectively assist with those tasks. I think part of the problem with our society is that we've become so cynical and disenfranchised that we'd rather criticize than sympathize. Even when it means shooting our own interests in the foot.

The whole private varnish fiasco isn't really my fight but I signed the reconsideration petition anyway because I knew some of my fellow members were genuinely concerned about it. It's not so much that I think my own signature really matters to anyone, but hopefully when it's combined with a bunch of other signatures it will help give momentum to the cause and push the issue forward in the minds of those who care most. Maybe if the number of signatures grows large enough those who are closer to the fight will be further motivated to make more phone calls or scheduling more meetings. A petition is like a speck of snow. On its own it's both invisible and insignificant, but if it happens to land in the right place at the right time it can unsettle millions of other specs and eventually trigger an avalanche.
 
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zephyr17

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No offense but I think RPA/NARP is too academic to get things rolling. Amtrak was created partially because of the grassroots movement that occurred after the train off that did the California Zephyr in and the massive amounts of letters congress received about train offs.

The method I would use is to educate the masses with everyday talk. For instance my friend Maddy who is effected directly by the new CL/LSL diner debacle didn't know about the dining change because she's not in the community.

She is a regular everyday passenger with no real interest in trains to pay attention to changes. She's appalled at the changes. But she wouldn't have known if I hadn't stated what was happening in plain language. If we want to reach the average passenger we can't be academic. We need to talk directly to people in their language. Which is something I don't feel NARP/RPA can do as easily.
Um, NARP was the leader of that grassroots movement and was instrumental in the formation of Amtrak.
 

zephyr17

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Jul 22, 2009
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I just got off a conference call with the RPA/NARP Board. One thing I will say is that while I'm (pretty clearly) opposed to the cuts, petitions on change.org might be among the least effective forms of activism out there.
I would say that depends on what exactly you're expecting a petition to accomplish. If you're hoping a single petition will resolve a serious or complicated problem just because you happened to sign it then no, it will almost certainly fail to accomplish that task on its own. However, if you view the petition as the first stage in a series of steps starting with disseminating news and building support levels then yes, it can effectively assist with those tasks. I think part of the problem with our society is that we've become so cynical and disenfranchised that we'd rather criticize than sympathize. Even when it means shooting our own interests in the foot.

The whole private varnish fiasco isn't really my fight but I signed the reconsideration petition anyway because I knew some of my fellow members were genuinely concerned about it. It's not so much that I think my own signature really matters to anyone, but hopefully when it's combined with a bunch of other signatures it will help give momentum to the cause and push the issue forward in the minds of those who care most. Maybe if the number of signatures grows large enough those who are closer to the fight will be further motivated to make more phone calls or scheduling more meetings. A petition is like a speck of snow. On its own it's both invisible and insignificant, but if it happens to land in the right place at the right time it can unsettle millions of other specs and eventually trigger an avalanche.
DA, I don't often agree with you, but you are spot on here.
 

SanAntonioClyde

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As RPA member I spent last week in DC where along with 60+other members from across the US we made about 350 visits mostly with staff members of both senators and congressmen. Key issues presented were: Amtrak must be a national system, making the Cardinal and the Sunset Limited daily trains, long-term funding for Amtrak, dire need for new equipment for Amtrak especially for western service, restoration of Gulf Coast service between New Orleans and Florida and insisting on the completion of PTC.

Yes we need you to call your representative to express your concerns and interest. They know there is a national organization voicing concerns, but to hear if from more of their voters will do wonders.

This forum can be a great catalyst to engage more people who have a keen interest in passenger rail service to become more active in having a better system by simply calling their congressmen and senators.
 

crescent-zephyr

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Where was the petition where they cut the entire diner off of the star? Or the City of New Orleans when they downgraded their menu and service to something worse than what the lake shore and capitol will get.
 

PerRock

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Sep 16, 2006
Messages
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As RPA member I spent last week in DC where along with 60+other members from across the US we made about 350 visits mostly with staff members of both senators and congressmen. Key issues presented were: Amtrak must be a national system, making the Cardinal and the Sunset Limited daily trains, long-term funding for Amtrak, dire need for new equipment for Amtrak especially for western service, restoration of Gulf Coast service between New Orleans and Florida and insisting on the completion of PTC.

Yes we need you to call your representative to express your concerns and interest. They know there is a national organization voicing concerns, but to hear if from more of their voters will do wonders.

This forum can be a great catalyst to engage more people who have a keen interest in passenger rail service to become more active in having a better system by simply calling their congressmen and senators.
Are there some example/template letters/scripts to use to contact our reps? I'll happily contact them, but would like some background, stats & such to have beyond just a "hey support this" letter, that I don't have.

peter
 

SanAntonioClyde

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 22, 2012
Messages
188
As RPA member I spent last week in DC where along with 60+other members from across the US we made about 350 visits mostly with staff members of both senators and congressmen. Key issues presented were: Amtrak must be a national system, making the Cardinal and the Sunset Limited daily trains, long-term funding for Amtrak, dire need for new equipment for Amtrak especially for western service, restoration of Gulf Coast service between New Orleans and Florida and insisting on the completion of PTC.

Yes we need you to call your representative to express your concerns and interest. They know there is a national organization voicing concerns, but to hear if from more of their voters will do wonders.

This forum can be a great catalyst to engage more people who have a keen interest in passenger rail service to become more active in having a better system by simply calling their congressmen and senators.
Are there some example/template letters/scripts to use to contact our reps? I'll happily contact them, but would like some background, stats & such to have beyond just a "hey support this" letter, that I don't have.

peter
Don't have any template letter, but RPA website has several sheets dealing with specific issues. Once I learn how to download them I will post. Admittedly they could be considered academic. Until then think about what Amtrak means to you and your friends, how you use it and what services it provides that you believe are needed.
 
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seat38a

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Jan 26, 2014
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2,025
I just got off a conference call with the RPA/NARP Board. One thing I will say is that while I'm (pretty clearly) opposed to the cuts, petitions on change.org might be among the least effective forms of activism out there.
And here comes the crazytown. Moderators can you please lock this thread?
Right, if someone does not agree with you lets just scream over them or shut them down.


Amtrak is planning on changing the menus and turning the Amtrak train food into airline food, we need to tell them we prefer the food on the trains than the food on the planes. Please sign if you want to save Amtrak’s casual dining.
Love the made up facts. We don't even know what the new meal will look like and the petition is calling it "airline food." Makes me want to jump right on it to save the "casual dining"
 
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dlagrua

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Nov 24, 2009
Messages
3,084
We signed the petition to keep the dining cars as they are but if a move to restoration is made, would not this require the law or act to be altered? I believe that the passengers voice is best heard by sending individual letters to Richard Anderson but here is the "gotcha". We will not ride the LD train without a dining car and more passengers follow suit; then Anderson turns around and says "see no one rides these LD trains anymore so we need to cut them"
 

jis

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I just got off a conference call with the RPA/NARP Board. One thing I will say is that while I'm (pretty clearly) opposed to the cuts, petitions on change.org might be among the least effective forms of activism out there.
Admittedly it is "Armchair Activism" but it is still better than no activism at all.


Amtrak is planning on changing the menus and turning the Amtrak train food into airline food, we need to tell them we prefer the food on the trains than the food on the planes. Please sign if you want to save Amtrak’s casual dining.
Love the made up facts. We don't even know what the new meal will look like and the petition is calling it "airline food." Makes me want to jump right on it to save the "casual dining"
This is one of the problems that I have with many of these "petitions". They are often include random made up nonsense just because it aligns well with something in the mind of the petition writer.. This causes me to not sign the petition, as is the case with this one.

The ask in this petition is an odd one, which is hard to interpret since each individual's idea of what is plane food and what is train food might differ wildly. It is on the whole a very poorly written petition with an undecipherable ask. What exactly is someone to do given this petition even with 10,000 signatures?
 
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tommylicious

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The best thing to do, if you care about good food on Amtrak, is not to sign anything. It's far better to complain about various attempts to help the situation than participate in any of them. Furthermore, be sure to spend so much time analyzing, in excruciating detail, all attempts to help the situation, that you, yourself, end up doing absolutely nothing to correct the situation either. Well done!
 
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crescent-zephyr

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Oct 21, 2015
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The current model doesn't work. It doesn't work financially, and it doesn't work for guest satisfaction. There are parts of this new model that make sense both for finances, and guest satisfaction.

The only big negative is the food choices are all cold, and seem overly basic for a meal. A caesar salad isn't really a full dinner entree, and fruit yogurt and bread isn't really a full breakfast. As I have mentioned in the other thread, I highly doubt hot entrees aren't in the cards in the future... That's probably why the full diner is remaining in the consist. They need to get this part working employee wise first, and then add in hot entrees.

In my opinion, Let's save the petitions for if/when trains start getting cancelled....
 

jis

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The best thing to do, if you care about good food on Amtrak, is not to sign anything. It's far better to complain about various attempts to help the situation than participate in any of them. Furthermore, be sure to spend so much time analyzing, in excruciating detail, all attempts to help the situation, that you, yourself, end up doing absolutely nothing to correct the situation either. Well done!
Stop being silly and hoity toity about it. You are losing credibility fast. Do you think that all that we are doing is signing these silly petitions and doing nothing else. That only suggest how out of touch you are about what is being done.

There are good, well thought out petitions that are worth signing. This is not one of them. There are people who are getting out of their petition signing armchairs and actually meeting with Congressmen, Senators, Mayors, State Representatives, Governors, Amtrak Board Members and even Anderson to talk things through. Just because you are not doing so does not mean others are not. Will their work meet with success? Who knows? And indeed, Good well thought out and composed petitions help, as DA mentioned in his excellent post. But poorly written nonsensical petitions just muddy the water and waste everyone's time and achieve nothing.
 
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cpotisch

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Out of all the ways to let Anderson and Congress know that we want good meals onboard, a petition on change.org is probably the least effective method. Send a letter to your representative, send a letter to Anderson - something where you are letting the people in charge know what should be done. Just because certain members don't want to sign your petition doesn't tell you in the slightest that we don't care or don't want to make a difference.

It's far better to complain about various attempts to help the situation than participate in any of them.
Maybe instead of writing a sarcastic comment about our inaction, spend that time and effort doing something else to make a difference. Looking back at that post, you do realize that you were complaining about us.
 
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cpotisch

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Looking at the petition now, it’s incredibly vague and doesn’t contain any important info about the new service. “Amtrak replacing casual dining with airline food”. That doesn’t tell anyone without background info what is actually happening...
 

Larry H.

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I wrote my congressman as soon as I saw the thread about the changes to the LSL and the CL. I told him what the cost of travel was for the sleeper and roomettes and that for that expense they now expect us to be happy with no diner and cold food for several days? He wrote back to say he was glad to see my opinion and would keep it in mind. However as a Republican he probably won't really do much? I did suggest that I thought yearly every congress person should be required to take at least a one time two day trip on Amtrak so they would see the condition of the trains and experience the food services first hand. And suggested that the congress change the bill that required the diners to make money, that the diners should be just as important to the consist as an engine and baggage car an not considered a money making proposition.

It would be interesting to see the progression of the downward slide of service in diners since the elimination of the chefs from the trains. I remember when diners had four or more waiters and a full kitchen staff. Over time they went to one person in the kitchen and I hear now one in the diner all together? Not something to encourage prospective riders I think.
 
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