Could we ask compensation for lack of SSL?

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yyy

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I know that currently, CL and TE do not have SSL. But on the Amtrak website, they both lists SSL in the "Amenities" section. Can we ask compensation for the lack of SSL since it definitely affects my experience?
 

jis

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I know that currently, CL and TE do not have SSL. But on the Amtrak website, they both lists SSL in the "Amenities" section. Can we ask compensation for the lack of SSL since it definitely affects my experience?
Best thing to do is experiment. Nothing says that you cannot ask, so you certainly can. Try to get compensated and let us know what happens ;)
 

20th Century Rider

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Checking through Amtrak's extensive 'conditions of carriage' there seems to be nothing stated regarding 'amenities' and priority focus is on getting passengers from point A to point B. I couldn't find anything specific either regarding meal service levels that distinguish between 'flex dining' and 'full service dining...' and refunds or compensation for the lack of such.

When a train is running late by hours there are provisions to feed all pax a very small and basic meal... usually a plate of stew from large institutional cans... and perhaps a roll.

From the management side of things one can understand Amtrak's refusal to decline refunds for every single passenger due to lack of SSL amenity and wouldn't expect much in terms of refund.

IMHO super frequent travelers may get a small good will and one time only e-voucher depending on the customer service agent; but one shouldn't count on it.

 

me_little_me

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Since it is advertised for the train, I would submit a claim and include a picture of the web page. This would pressure Amtrak, at the very least, from providing false and misleading information on its site. There is no excuse for that. It's not like they just started running w/o an SSL. They have been doing it for too long.
 

Sidney

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Since it is advertised for the train, I would submit a claim and include a picture of the web page. This would pressure Amtrak, at the very least, from providing false and misleading information on its site. There is no excuse for that. It's not like they just started running w/o an SSL. They have been doing it for too long.
The CL has been without a SSL for almost two years. Maybe they should not list it in the amenities?
 

zephyr17

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You can always ask. You probably won't get any. But if people start asking for money back, it just might just get the attention of Amtrak management.

Can't hurt. Go for it.
 

AMTRAK709

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With respect and in my opinion, to ask Amtrak for compensation for the lack of a SSL--based on my fifty+ years of working for and observing their operative response--compensation will be a day after the sun explodes.
 

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Can't hurt. Go for it.
I cannot imagine Amtrak refunding any money, and the screenshot I posted above includes the usual wiggle words, but they seem to hand out credit toward future trips like it's free so maybe they'll get something. Anything that creates a paper trail has a chance of drawing someone's attention eventually.

With respect and in my opinion, to ask Amtrak for compensation for the lack of a SSL--based on my fifty+ years of working for and observing their operative response--compensation will be a day after the sun explodes.
Turns out that a late stage sun will bake everything to death and envelop the planet long before it has a chance to explode.
 
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niemi24s

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As long as you're seeking compensation for that, why not ask for a Shetland pony and a golden yo-yo?
 
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20th Century Rider

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I cannot imagine Amtrak refunding any money, and the screenshot I posted above includes the usual wiggle words, but they seem to hand out credit toward future trips like it's free so maybe they'll get something. Anything that creates a paper trail has a chance of drawing someone's attention eventually.


Turns out that a late stage sun will bake everything to death and envelop the planet long before it has a chance to explode.
I. E. There just isn't any policy that covers that.

Lest we forget the sad day they removed the Pacific Parlor Car from the CS for no apparent reason... We were ranting and griping that we would now be relegated to the SSL.

The real issue that surrounds all this is that there is no clear policy regarding levels of passenger service!

pacificparlour1.jpg
Screen Shot 2021-09-28 at 4.01.12 PM.png
 

Dakota 400

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The real issue that surrounds all this is that there is no clear policy regarding levels of passenger service!
I think you are correct. The photo that you posted of an Amtrak staff member providing bar service to a guest on the upper level of a SSL car that has the capability to provide such service, and was once used to provide such service, shows that what level of service to expect varies from trip to trip.

Amtrak is not alone is this inconsistency of customer service. Particularly in this still Covid era.
 

20th Century Rider

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I think you are correct. The photo that you posted of an Amtrak staff member providing bar service to a guest on the upper level of a SSL car that has the capability to provide such service, and was once used to provide such service, shows that what level of service to expect varies from trip to trip.

Amtrak is not alone is this inconsistency of customer service.
Absolutely! We are living in an era of declining service in all places and at all levels. As we have come to expect this kind of 'abuse' we've stopped complaining... but perhaps we need to knuckle down and stand up as consumers.

Back to Amtrak... the 'invention' of the disgusting 'flex flop' meal service which replaces an elegant dining car meal... with a 5oz plastic saucer of puddle food is an affront to all who travel on Amtrak... many have shown with whatever means connections and wisdom they have that this is not as good a the food one is given in prison.

I could ramble on and on about how the decline in service in order to fill the pockets of the rich and famous... is something that we accept... or stand up against.

My biggest concern is that this is a societal issue throughout our country which can be corrected when customers stand firm and push back.

As Amtrak is a government institution that becomes a difficult proposition... it is the national rail system. But with the new revised 'reimagined dining' concept... perhaps there is hope.

Is not our country built upon the free enterprise syste


Customer Respect.png
 

dwebarts

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My biggest concern is that this is a societal issue throughout our country which can be corrected when customers stand firm and push back.
Sadly, a broader societal issue might be seen where a number of people don't appreciate being respectful about standing firm and pushing back. You meant the traditional appropriate way, while the last few years have shown that restraint has been tossed to the side (like a hand grenade in some instances) for too many.
 

Exvalley

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No it isn't.
Hmm...


The case largely rested on whether Amtrak was part of the government (and thus could have this type of strong regulatory power) or a private corporation (and thus shouldn't). On that point the Supreme Court was quite clear, ruling 9-0 (with two concurring opinions) that Amtrak is "a government entity." The majority opinion, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, leaves no room for doubt:

Amtrak was created by the Government, is controlled by the Government, and operates for the Government’s benefit.
 

jis

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In actuality Amtrak is neither pure government nor pure private, but a hybrid. The SCOTUS decisions have usually been in a specific context of a specific aspect of Amtrak, so one generalizes from that at their own peril. It is just a matter of until the next time when a decision is given in a different context. We have gone through this cycle a couple of times. But of course it is fun to argue about it repeatedly ;)
 

Exvalley

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In actuality Amtrak is neither pure government nor pure private, but a hybrid. The SCOTUS decisions have usually been in a specific context of a specific aspect of Amtrak, so one generalizes from that at their own peril. It is just a matter of until the next time when a decision is given in a different context. We have gone through this cycle a couple of times. But of course it is fun to argue about it repeatedly ;)
Every time this question has been presented to the Supreme Court they have held that Amtrak is a public entity. It’s incredibly unlikely that they would reverse course at this point. The fact that they have reached the same conclusion with very different fact patterns is evidence of how strongly they feel about this.
 

Ryan

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Congress said:
§ 700.2 Organization and functioning of Amtrak.
The creation of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (“Amtrak”) was authorized by the Rail Passenger Service Act, as amended, 84 Stat. 1327, 45 U.S.C. 541 et seq. (“the Act”). The Act requires that Amtrak be operated and managed as a for-profit corporation, that it be incorporated under the District of Columbia Business Corporation Act, and subject to the provisions of that statute to the extent not inconsistent with the Act, and that it provide a balanced transportation system by developing, operating, and improving intercity rail passenger service. The Act also states that Amtrak will not be an agency or establishment of the United States Government.
 

Anderson

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I think you are correct. The photo that you posted of an Amtrak staff member providing bar service to a guest on the upper level of a SSL car that has the capability to provide such service, and was once used to provide such service, shows that what level of service to expect varies from trip to trip.

Amtrak is not alone is this inconsistency of customer service. Particularly in this still Covid era.
Nitpick: Those pictures weren't of an SSL. They were of the PPCs on the Coast Starlight.
 

Anderson

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(1) Cute use of the quote function. I approve.
(2) I think the issue is that the courts have, in so many words, ultimately determined that regardless of what Congress might have said in that bill, when you have a "business" that has its Board of Directors appointed by the President (subject to Senate confirmation) and where for all intents and purposes all of the stock is held by the government, while it is in that state it is a de facto government agency whether Congress likes it or not. The quirk is that in some universe where Amtrak were "making money", it could be "sold off".

[This is really where things get sticky in expressly delegating any authority explicitly to Amtrak, now that I think about it: Even if it is right now a "de facto government agency", if the government found a buyer the structure could be "sold off" without a formal restructuring aside from changing the selection of Board seats, while nothing is stopping a railroad from starting their own service (hey, Brightline, how's it going?) and not being on equal footing in such a scenario. The result is that for at least some purposes Amtrak is a government entity while for some others it...sort-of isn't.]
 

me_little_me

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The CL has been without a SSL for almost two years. Maybe they should not list it in the amenities?
That's the point. For two years they make a claim about their amenities knowing full well they are not providing it. That's an outright lie and is dishonest and illegal. This is not a case of not having something available on a particular day because of an unanticipated issue but a deliberate policy not to update and correct misinformation.
If it were me and I expected an amenity and had no idea they were not providing it and had not been for years, then I'd ask for compensation and, if denied, would demand arbitration. An honest arbitrator should rule that Amtrak knowingly provided false and misleading promises and award something. It may not be much but the cost to Amtrak's reputation might make them scream "uncle".
 

Exvalley

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I think the issue is that the courts have, in so many words, ultimately determined that regardless of what Congress might have said in that bill, when you have a "business" that has its Board of Directors appointed by the President (subject to Senate confirmation) and where for all intents and purposes all of the stock is held by the government, while it is in that state it is a de facto government agency whether Congress likes it or not.
This is correct. The Supreme Court, the ultimate legal authority in the land, has determined that Amtrak is a government entity notwithstanding what Congress may have intended. Ryan gave the first chapter of the story but neglected to tell you how the story actually ended.

Here is a quote from the most recent Supreme Court case:
for purposes of Amtrak’s status as a federal actor or instrumentality under the Constitution, the practical reality of federal control and supervision prevails over Congress’ disclaimer of Amtrak’s governmental status.
 
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