Quantcast

Amtrak price increases causing low ridership in addition to Covid 19?

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

bratkinson

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 7, 2004
Messages
820
Location
QB 101
I've been toying with getting back on Amtrak with a couple of overnights in roomettes and was surprised at the current fares. They're about 30% higher than they were a bit over a year ago when comparing trips I took vs current prices on Amtrak for February 2021 travel. All are for 1 passenger (me) in a roomette:

Lakeshore Ltd ALB-CHI #49 7/24/19: $280
Lakeshore Ltd ALB-CHI #49 2/21/21 $352 26% increase

Silver Meteor NYP-WPB #97 8/26/19 $360
Silver Meteor NYP-WPB #97 2/23/21 $487 35% increase

How many potential passengers look at THOSE prices today and realize they could drive or fly a LOT cheaper!
 

niemi24s

Conductor
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,349
What are the chances you could have driven or flown a lot cheaper back in July & August, 2019?
 

Sidney

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
81
Almost $500 for a roomette from NY to Fla? Add in that crappy food and it is certainly way overpriced. You could drive and stay in first class hotels for less,and of course you could fly for $100. However,if the demand is there...
 

AmtrakBlue

Conductor
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
11,845
Location
Delaware
Almost $500 for a roomette from NY to Fla? Add in that crappy food and it is certainly way overpriced. You could drive and stay in first class hotels for less,and of course you could fly for $100. However,if the demand is there...
Not everyone can fly or drive, so of course there is demand for trains.
 

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,314
Location
Gator Country Florida
With this rise in prices there are those who will:
  • fly instead
  • drive instead
  • pay the price
  • not take the trip

Only one of those options gives revenue to Amtrak and is most likely the least exercised option ... those who can't/don't fly and don't want to drive will just not travel.
 

jiml

Conductor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
1,738
Location
Toronto area
Pricing based on capacity? Presuming there is no increase in consist lengths, fewer trains per week leaves fewer premium spaces to sell. It would be interesting to see if these prices drop if Amtrak maintains a full schedule following a mandate or cash injection from the government (if either should happen).
 

Exvalley

Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Messages
174
Supply and demand.

Overall, demand is lower - but Amtrak has also slashed its supply.
 

jiml

Conductor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
1,738
Location
Toronto area
Surely transportation during a pandemic is a circumstance when supply and demand won't work very well. Policymakers should react accordingly
Unfortunately they haven't and public transportation has been cut everywhere. The bus route that serves my area was cut early on in the pandemic and shows no indication of returning. We're too remote to walk anywhere, so those without cars (mostly seniors) must rely on the rest of us for assistance with everything from shopping to transportation to appointments, etc.
 

niemi24s

Conductor
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,349
How about those of us who live hundreds of miles from any Amtrak service, now or ever?

And for those who live within earshot of the tracks complaining about the fares and cuts to 3X a week - my heart pumps purple **** for you.
 

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,292
Supply and demand.

Overall, demand is lower - but Amtrak has also slashed its supply.
What a great idea for government operations! Jack up transit fares during Covid because of transit cutbacks. Raise the taxes and fees at airports because the airlines have cut the number of flights. Increase gas taxes and add tolls on intercity roads since people have to drive more. Charge $5 for mailing ballots. Put a big tax on Covid tests and Covid emergency room visits. Cut back mail delivery to one day a week. Have government offices open on different days (tax office Monday, Police Tuesday, Fire Wednesdsay, Water Department Thursday). Adjust hours so you have to cross town to hit multiple offices (Deed office on north only from 9-10 then marriage records on the south open from 10-11 then Civil Court on east form 11-12).

Music to my ears! Humbug, I say! Humbug!

Of course, I'm sure Amtrak executives could come up with better cost adjustments and schedules if they were put in charge of city governments!
 

flitcraft

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 10, 2018
Messages
572
[
How about those of us who live hundreds of miles from any Amtrak service, now or ever?

And for those who live within earshot of the tracks complaining about the fares and cuts to 3X a week - my heart pumps purple **** for you.
I am confused as to your post. Do you mean, if I can't have Amtrak convenient to me, then the LD trains shouldn't exist at all? Because that is the gravamen of the complaint that many of us have about the reduction to 3 times a week, the skyhigh fares especially for sleepers, and the website being almost impossible to use to find a routing. Those three factors in tandem will doom in fact the LD trains, whether that is the plan of Amtrak or not.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
2,235
Location
Baltimore. MD
NEC fares seem to be same as always. I did BAL - NYP in early September via Northeast Regional. One way was a high bucket fare of $128 (with senior discount), the other way was $69 with senior discount. That's about par for the course. There's also a $49 bucket, but that really only applies for extreme advance purchase of really, really off-peak trains, and given the number of trains cancelled, maybe there are no more "off peak" trains. Business class upgrade is the usual ~$40.
 

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,314
Location
Gator Country Florida
Just looked at the cost to go from Jacksonville, FL to Columbia, SC. The only train is the Silver Star and that only runs Thur, Fri, Sat going North.

The fare prices are:
  • $46 - Saver
  • $52 - Value
  • $125 - Flexible
  • $280 - Roomette
Now, keep in mind a few things about these fares:
  • The Star does NOT have business class
  • The first three fares are all coach
  • The only difference in these options are your ability to change your reservation - the seats and amenities are the same
  • The trip only takes 6 hours - although those 6 hours are from 11PM to 4AM
  • These prices did include Senior Discount
  • Without the Senior Discount the $52 becomes $58 and the Roomette costs $287 - the other rates stay the same

SO, if you know you are going and, with the current COVID cancellation/change policy, why would anyone pay $6-$79 more for the same seat? Also, if Senior Discount is 10% - shouldn't the Roomette be $252 instead of $280?

Another example of inconsistent and overpricing - especially for a train that, if you leave on Saturday, you can't return until the following Thursday because the Star does not go South Sunday-Wednesday and the Meteor does not go through Columbia, SC.
 

OBS

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
1,592
Location
Long Island, NY
Just looked at the cost to go from Jacksonville, FL to Columbia, SC. The only train is the Silver Star and that only runs Thur, Fri, Sat going North.

The fare prices are:
  • $46 - Saver
  • $52 - Value
  • $125 - Flexible
  • $280 - Roomette
Now, keep in mind a few things about these fares:
  • The Star does NOT have business class
  • The first three fares are all coach
  • The only difference in these options are your ability to change your reservation - the seats and amenities are the same
  • The trip only takes 6 hours - although those 6 hours are from 11PM to 4AM
  • These prices did include Senior Discount
  • Without the Senior Discount the $52 becomes $58 and the Roomette costs $287 - the other rates stay the same

SO, if you know you are going and, with the current COVID cancellation/change policy, why would anyone pay $6-$79 more for the same seat? Also, if Senior Discount is 10% - shouldn't the Roomette be $252 instead of $280?

Another example of inconsistent and overpricing - especially for a train that, if you leave on Saturday, you can't return until the following Thursday because the Star does not go South Sunday-Wednesday and the Meteor does not go through Columbia, SC.
The discount is only on the rail fare, not the room charge...
 

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,314
Location
Gator Country Florida
The discount is only on the rail fare, not the room charge...
Can you imagine going to a restaurant that gives a senior discount (many do) and they tell you the discount only applies to the meat ... not the sides, drink or desert? The ones I have eaten at give the discount on the whole ticket.

By only offering the discount to the "rail fare" and not the room they are not really helping seniors, are they 🤷‍♂️
 

merkelman06

Train Attendant
Joined
May 27, 2014
Messages
35
A ticket agent along the route of the Zephyr just posted on Facebook that she had some passengers trying to go to Chi. (not sure origin point) and first availability was in 8 days!
I was looking to head west after the holidays from Chicago to Salt Lake City on 12/26 and it’s completely sold out.
 

AmtrakBlue

Conductor
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
11,845
Location
Delaware
Can you imagine going to a restaurant that gives a senior discount (many do) and they tell you the discount only applies to the meat ... not the sides, drink or desert? The ones I have eaten at give the discount on the whole ticket.

By only offering the discount to the "rail fare" and not the room they are not really helping seniors, are they 🤷‍♂️
The senior discount on the coach fare is only on the "rail fare".... Room charges are separate and apply to the room, not the seat(s), aka # of people in the room.
 

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,314
Location
Gator Country Florida
I understand Amtrak's view of the fare - I know they separate the "rail fare" from the "room charge" ... I don't care!

I am looking at it from me being a senior and having to live within my budget. Not to mention that I know very few businesses that only give the discount on a select portion of the bill.

Setting that aside, let's get back to the price increases 👍
 

niemi24s

Conductor
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,349
Your fare of $280 is for the next higher bucket and two years ago that next higher bucket fare would have been about $240, so it's increased $20 or about 8% each year. The low bucket Roomette fare for one Senior from JAX to CLB is currently $240.

Have prices gone up? Sure!! So have the prices of everything else. I hope it makes you feel better to bellyache about them even though nobody here can do anything about them.

P.S.: When you ask why your senior fare wasn't $252 and somebody then takes the effort to explain why, why jump on them? If you can't afford the fare - find another way to get there. Hitchhikin' ain't crowded! Or find a date with a low bucket $240 fare.
 
Last edited:

bratkinson

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 7, 2004
Messages
820
Location
QB 101
A ticket agent along the route of the Zephyr just posted on Facebook that she had some passengers trying to go to Chi. (not sure origin point) and first availability was in 8 days!
Given that the Zephyr went to 3x per week this past Monday, it's understandable that the train would be sold out account reservations previously made for now no-train days has forced those passengers to the next train(s), or else refund their money. I assume that Amtrak is continuing to sell only 50% capacity and at the same time, as we are now in the fall 'drop in traffic' levels, it wouldn't surprise me if they cut back a coach and a sleeper as well.

I was looking to head west after the holidays from Chicago to Salt Lake City on 12/26 and it’s completely sold out.
Historically speaking, holiday season plane and train travel always get fully booked sometime in summer, give or take. 40-45 years ago, when my parents were wintering in Florida, I'd take the train from Milwaukee to spend Christmas with them and return on New Years Eve. If I didn't get it booked by the first of February, I'd run into a no rooms available on one of the Silver Service trains and have to pick the next day. I got to ride the Floridian only once before it was gone, so everything else was MKE-CHI-WAS-WPB.

As for price increases, yes, there IS something we can do about it...don't travel or don't choose Amtrak to get somewhere.
 

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,314
Location
Gator Country Florida
I hope it makes you feel better to bellyache about them even though nobody here can do anything about them.
I'm not the one who started this thread nor have I been the only one to comment on the higher prices ... also, I did not "jump on anyone". I did not say they were wrong as to how the price of the roomette is calculated. I criticized AMTRAK - just like many others on this thread and this forum.

If you can't afford the fare - find another way to get there.
I do - I ride coach.

In all fairness, at this time, I am not riding the train until the COVID thing is under control - who knows what the fares will be by then ...
 
Top