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Amtrak Service Reductions

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Willbridge

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
461
Location
Denver
Couldn’t disagree more and Amtrak's own numbers back it up. Click on the attachment from my previous post above. I think those numbers slipped through the cracks honestly. Costs to run NEC 737M, the LD network 151M.

Fixed costs aren’t going anywhere.............

One last point on 3x daily service. It was tried before and failed spectacularly for all the above reasons.
But it does open the door to 2x weekly service as on VIA Rail.
 

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,215
Location
Gator Country Florida
due to inefficiencies of 3 day week operation.
A good example that the "3x a week" is not truly 3 times a week is a trip that I looked at:

When I tried to price a trip from Jacksonville, Fl to Portland, Or I found that there is only 1 day of the week (Tuesday) that this trip can be booked - not only that, but the trip would cost the same (riding in coach) for a regular ticket, senior ticket or handicapped ticket :mad: ... there were NO discounts

The trip would leave JAX on Tuesday and not get to Portland until Saturday- there is a 4-9 hour layover in WAS or NYP and a 4½-5½ hour layover in CHI depending on which connecting train you take from WAS/NYP

A return trip does have 3 days it can be made (Sun, Tue, Thu) all with layover times around 2 hours - I might worry about making those connections with such a limited layover time ... again, no coach discount for Senior or Handicapped :mad:
 

Eric S

Conductor
Joined
Dec 19, 2009
Messages
2,519
Location
Milwaukee
Take this for what it’s worth.

I was riding the Crescent yesterday and the sleeper attendant claimed that Amtrak had been offered additional COVID operational funding by Congress and had turned it down.

Again - take it with a grain of salt.
Congress passed a bill and the president signed it into law back in March that had some supplemental funding for Amtrak, in addition to a host of other COVID-related things. Then, in May, the House passed a bill with additional funding for Amtrak but the Senate has not acted on that bill.
 

Lonestar648

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
May 17, 2015
Messages
2,693
I was trying to check the possibility of making a Multi city trip in March, but every way I turn, I am met with no connecting service, then trying to figure what days since Amtrak just says you have an error, there are no suggestions for a good date. Bottom line, I do not see ANYONE casually making reservations on line. Everyone will have to call in, but connecting in Chicago comes up invalid, the computer wants separate segments arriving and departing on different days. Departing only three days a week means staying over several days. I see the LD trains basically used just for stops within that route. I was trying Texas to WAS later to BOS then return to Texas.
 

brianpmcdonnell17

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2016
Messages
1,389
Location
Chicago, Illinois
I was trying to check the possibility of making a Multi city trip in March, but every way I turn, I am met with no connecting service, then trying to figure what days since Amtrak just says you have an error, there are no suggestions for a good date. Bottom line, I do not see ANYONE casually making reservations on line. Everyone will have to call in, but connecting in Chicago comes up invalid, the computer wants separate segments arriving and departing on different days. Departing only three days a week means staying over several days. I see the LD trains basically used just for stops within that route. I was trying Texas to WAS later to BOS then return to Texas.
Texas to Washington should work fine with same day connections. The issue is the return, where an overnight would be required in Chicago (assuming you are going via Chicago). If you were going via New Orleans, the single night connection between the SL and Crescent will no longer exist.
 

IndyLions

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Messages
337
Location
Brownsburg IN
Congress passed a bill and the president signed it into law back in March that had some supplemental funding for Amtrak, in addition to a host of other COVID-related things. Then, in May, the House passed a bill with additional funding for Amtrak but the Senate has not acted on that bill.
Again, take it for what it’s worth – but the attendant specifically said that this was money that they had available that the company refused. Not legislation that had not yet been fully put into law.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,860
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Or .... run the SM daily and run a separate train (could be called the Silver Star Express) from Tampa to Miami daily with connection to the SM in Miami and/or Lakeland - in fact, you could run the SS twice daily (MIA - TPA) and cost less than running two trains to NYP each day.
Once upon a time there used to be such a train (once daily TPA - MIA) which ran for a couple of years before it was discontinued because FDOT did not want to fund it. It was the first incarnation of the use of the name Silver Palm.

Take this for what it’s worth.

I was riding the Crescent yesterday and the sleeper attendant claimed that Amtrak had been offered additional COVID operational funding by Congress and had turned it down.

Again - take it with a grain of salt.
Yeah. in the context of the current service reduction discussion it is not worth much. ;)

Again, take it for what it’s worth – but the attendant specifically said that this was money that they had available that the company refused. Not legislation that had not yet been fully put into law.
It is not unusual for train attendants to not know what they are talking about when it comes to details of Amtrak funding. Unless one can provide a pointer to a budget/ appropriation line item, such statements are not worth a heck of a lot.

What Erik says is more accurate representation of the current facts.
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,821
Location
Ithaca, NY
I'm just gonna say, I hope everyone has written and phoned their Senators with their stories of how this three-a-week nonsense doesn't work for anyone. You can use this form:


Or call the Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,821
Location
Ithaca, NY
Revenues are just one side of the balance sheet. Costs are the other. We just don't have enough information to know which type of service (corridor or LD) is hemorrhaging money the most.
Amtrak's cost allocations are famously fraudulent. But when the so-called long-distance services are generating OVER HALF THE REVENUE FOR ALL OF AMTRAK, it's pretty obvious which sector is most profitable.
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,821
Location
Ithaca, NY
The sad truth is that the vast majority of passengers making up the vast majority of the revenue on these trains are a vacation and/or captive market who aren't going to be significantly deterred by the 3x week service.
False. People will switch to driving, or cancel the trips entirely.

I will. There's a dozen documented examples of other people complaining that they can't schedule their trips to Chicago in this forum and on Facebook Amtrak fan pages.

They'll lose essentially all their ridership.
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,821
Location
Ithaca, NY
I agree with the consist cut approach to 4 cars versus their 3d/wk across the board approach (except for AT, SM/SS).

If they could save real dollars, I could also see them combining the LSL and CL and splitting it in Cleveland. Or more likely, just run the LSL, and make people transfer at NYP to WAS or BOS. It would stink, but during a pandemic be understandable.
Yeah, that idea -- flat-out suspending the weakest trains, then resuming them later -- while retaining a core daily service network -- isn't crazy. That's actually reasonable, because you're a reasonable person.

The three-a-week ******** is crazy. It's financial nonsense. Crew needs to be paid for layover time; the stations still have to be paid for; you don't save anything significant by cutting to less-than-daily. But you do destroy ridership and destroy revenue.

It's a complete violation of the orders they've been given by Congress -- the management should be fired for cause for this level of moronic brain-damaged idiocy.
 

bms

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Messages
118
Location
Cleveland
Members of the Amish community will probably still ride because they have no other choice, but they deserve daily service as well.
 

Exvalley

Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Messages
161
But when the so-called long-distance services are generating OVER HALF THE REVENUE FOR ALL OF AMTRAK, it's pretty obvious which sector is most profitable.
How so? You can't make that statement without knowing costs, especially since we know that the corridor enjoys an economy of scale that long distance service does not.
 

tgstubbs1

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Messages
130
False. People will switch to driving, or cancel the trips entirely.

I will. There's a dozen documented examples of other people complaining that they can't schedule their trips to Chicago in this forum and on Facebook Amtrak fan pages.

They'll lose essentially all their ridership.
Well, we'll see. It's hard to say but I doubt people will start flocking to Amtrak because they went to 3x week.

It's too bad they are cutting back when the virus should be winding down and flattening the curve this fall. People might have pent up travel demand and some might consider rail a safe option.
 

Nick Farr

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 25, 2019
Messages
264
Location
Michigan
False. People will switch to driving, or cancel the trips entirely.

They'll lose essentially all their ridership.
I find it really hard to believe they will lose all their ridership.

It remains to be seen, but the passengers who transfer from one LD service to another on Amtrak are a very small fraction of the total LD ridership, even in the sleepers.

We have to wait for the data, but when people say "LD Ridership makes up half the revenue" they're using a figure from COVID times where traffic on the NEC plummeted to essentially zero but LD Riders stayed true and continued on their vacations.
 

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,215
Location
Gator Country Florida
No matter how you want to frame the numbers - cutting service never generates additional revenue. Cutting to 3 times a week will not increase ridership numbers so that "full service" can be restored when ridership recovers. It will not recover with less trains.

Oh - that's right. It's not "ridership" number that needs to go up ... it's "bookings" - again, numbers will NOT go up when trains are not running. Cutting service will result in fewer bookings and fewer riders and the suits at Amtrak will say that it "proves" the service needs to be cut even more, eliminating some routes and leaving others reduced until they can kill them too.

Just think, if they cut enough for Amtrak to die - they will be putting themselves out of a job like they are doing to those currently working for Amtrak - wonder if they have thought that far ahead ...
 

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,265
Just think, if they cut enough for Amtrak to die - they will be putting themselves out of a job like they are doing to those currently working for Amtrak - wonder if they have thought that far ahead ...
Of course they have. Executives don't suffer when they cut companies to the ground. They simply get hired by other like-minded executives or get positions in like-minded governments. It's only the peon employees, the customers and the stockholders (in companies that have them) and/or the taxpayers, that get left holding the bag.
 

Willbridge

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
461
Location
Denver
Of course they have. Executives don't suffer when they cut companies to the ground. They simply get hired by other like-minded executives or get positions in like-minded governments. It's only the peon employees, the customers and the stockholders (in companies that have them) and/or the taxpayers, that get left holding the bag.
But wait! There's more! Independent bus companies running Thruway service, communities that have fixed up train stations, local businesses of many types all take a hit from service cutbacks. In one-train-each-way towns the station isn't the only generator of business, but it generates part of the business activity.
 

Nick Farr

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 25, 2019
Messages
264
Location
Michigan
No matter how you want to frame the numbers - cutting service never generates additional revenue.
True, but it can make a service more profitable or incur fewer losses. The key metrics are utilization and profit.

Let's be brutally honest: Amtrak's goal is to make a profit or fully subsidize its services running at a loss.

The COVID data suggests there's a very sticky baseline market for the LD trains. The most optimistic view is that the cuts appear to be targeted at "right sizing" the LD trains to meet the size of that market.

Of course, the least optimistic view is that this is a great excuse to gradually kill off a business line they don't want.

If we stop riding, we're going to be giving them what they want.
[/QUOTE]
 

Barb Stout

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
480
There was a blurb on a local TV news channel last night about Amtrak service cutbacks. They interviewed a fellow with a train advocate organization (can't remember it's name, but I remember the man's last name-Gurule) and also Senator Udall who of course stated that he is against the cutbacks. The blurb focused on the SWC. The piece ended on a laughable positive note with something about Congress possibly giving Amtrak a money transfusion in the next few weeks. If Congress couldn't even agree on helping out millions and millions of regular people who have been financially devastated by the epidemic, I can't see them supplying more funds for Amtrak.
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
20,301
Location
Austin Texas
There was a blurb on a local TV news channel last night about Amtrak service cutbacks. They interviewed a fellow with a train advocate organization (can't remember it's name, but I remember the man's last name-Gurule) and also Senator Udall who of course stated that he is against the cutbacks. The blurb focused on the SWC. The piece ended on a laughable positive note with something about Congress possibly giving Amtrak a money transfusion in the next few weeks. If Congress couldn't even agree on helping out millions and millions of regular people who have been financially devastated by the epidemic, I can't see them supplying more funds for Amtrak.
These EZ riders are home campaigning, and raking in Millions for re-election, while not doing their jobs!

Fire em all, Vote early and Often as has been said!
 

Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
2,078
The piece ended on a laughable positive note with something about Congress possibly giving Amtrak a money transfusion in the next few weeks
I have read that there has been a bipartisan agreement among the leaders of Congress for passage of a Continuing Resolution to keep the government operating after the current one ends on September 30th. One Party wants passage until sometime in December; the other Party wants it to go into 2021. Perhaps that is what the person was saying.
 
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