One saving grace that Amtrak has is that pretty much everyone else sucks at communication. As a handy example, I was on a delayed Delta flight out of DTW last week. I ended up puttering around the gate area for about half an hour more than was really necessary because there was no reliable way to know when the flight was going to "go", even though the lounge was about 15m/45ft from the gate (and since it was a smaller plane, when it was going to go I expected it to load pretty quickly...if it had been a 320 or anything bigger I would've been rather more relaxed in the same circumstances).I believe the main overarching issue here is communication. Many public transportation companies in the U.S., including Amtrak, are absolutely terrible at it. They create many more "never again" riders than they need to if they would just give a little bit of communication, even if there is no update, status, or progress. People talk, especially if they have had a bad experience.
This, along with customer service consistency closely followed by on-time performance, is the issue that should be of utmost importance and priority to Amtrak. Unfortunately, even with the new regime, it seems that is not the case.