High sleeper room prices

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Cal

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I am not sure those percentage full things apply to Sleepers at all. I think they are mostly about Coaches, or maybe just aggregate of the entire capacity irrespective of class.
I don't think they include sleepers either. I did a Sunset search SAS-NOL, rooms were full but coach was well under 50% (can't remember exact number, I think it was 10%).
 
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Qapla

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It's funny ... in Florida, when there is a hurricane, there are "price gauging" laws that prevent the overly inflated prices that used to result from the disaster - but, with this disaster (COVID) the price gouging protection seems to have "gone out the window". Look at the prices for lumber, steel, travel and other things that have increased by what would be called "price gouging" had the price increase come as a result of a hurricane.
 

AmtrakBlue

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It's funny ... in Florida, when there is a hurricane, there are "price gauging" laws that prevent the overly inflated prices that used to result from the disaster - but, with this disaster (COVID) the price gouging protection seems to have "gone out the window". Look at the prices for lumber, steel, travel and other things that have increased by what would be called "price gouging" had the price increase come as a result of a hurricane.
Is it price gouging or is it supply & demand. Low supply of lumber, etc due to COVID and high demand because people want new homes (aka, get out of the big cities).
 
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Qapla

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The same could be said of the damage caused by a hurricane - ice is in short supply with high demand as is plywood and other things - but the law prohibits the type of price gouging that is happening with the COVID disaster ...

Call it what you will - either type of disaster causing price increases beyond what is reasonable is taking advantage of people who are suffering - why allow one and not the other?
 

flitcraft

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Car rentals are indeed crazy high--I just booked a compact rental car for more than 100 bucks a night! But in this case, it wasn't greed, or at least sheer greed, but the pandemic that caused a shortage of cars. Early on in the pandemic, no one was traveling at all and rental car companies suddenly had no money coming in. Hertz nearly filed for bankruptcy. At the same time, people were understandably unwilling to use public transit, and many urbanites who were previously happily carless wanted a used car right away, driving up used car prices. So, the rental companies sold off their stock of cars for cashflow, keeping them afloat at the time. But now, travel has resumed with gusto, and the rental car companies have much diminished fleets. So...very high prices while the companies recoup their COVID losses. Stinks, of course, as I gritted my teeth and booked the car. I was advised to book at an airport because the stock of cars is higher there than at other rental offices. But I am still concerned that I could arrive, having paid for my car in advance (!) and find no car at all at the end of my Amtrak trip. At least I'll be at National Airport, where I could check on a flight to my final destination in Pennsylvania, or in the alternative take Amtrak to Philly and change to get to Harrisburg. More trains, amirite?
 

coventry801

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Car rentals are indeed crazy high--I just booked a compact rental car for more than 100 bucks a night! But in this case, it wasn't greed, or at least sheer greed, but the pandemic that caused a shortage of cars. Early on in the pandemic, no one was traveling at all and rental car companies suddenly had no money coming in. Hertz nearly filed for bankruptcy. At the same time, people were understandably unwilling to use public transit, and many urbanites who were previously happily carless wanted a used car right away, driving up used car prices. So, the rental companies sold off their stock of cars for cashflow, keeping them afloat at the time. But now, travel has resumed with gusto, and the rental car companies have much diminished fleets. So...very high prices while the companies recoup their COVID losses. Stinks, of course, as I gritted my teeth and booked the car. I was advised to book at an airport because the stock of cars is higher there than at other rental offices. But I am still concerned that I could arrive, having paid for my car in advance (!) and find no car at all at the end of my Amtrak trip. At least I'll be at National Airport, where I could check on a flight to my final destination in Pennsylvania, or in the alternative take Amtrak to Philly and change to get to Harrisburg. More trains, amirite?
Hertz has $29 a day cargo van across all non-airport locations.

You just have to reserve early and show up early in the morning coz they are like hot cakes
 

Sidney

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Car rentals are indeed crazy high--I just booked a compact rental car for more than 100 bucks a night! But in this case, it wasn't greed, or at least sheer greed, but the pandemic that caused a shortage of cars. Early on in the pandemic, no one was traveling at all and rental car companies suddenly had no money coming in. Hertz nearly filed for bankruptcy. At the same time, people were understandably unwilling to use public transit, and many urbanites who were previously happily carless wanted a used car right away, driving up used car prices. So, the rental companies sold off their stock of cars for cashflow, keeping them afloat at the time. But now, travel has resumed with gusto, and the rental car companies have much diminished fleets. So...very high prices while the companies recoup their COVID losses. Stinks, of course, as I gritted my teeth and booked the car. I was advised to book at an airport because the stock of cars is higher there than at other rental offices. But I am still concerned that I could arrive, having paid for my car in advance (!) and find no car at all at the end of my Amtrak trip. At least I'll be at National Airport, where I could check on a flight to my final destination in Pennsylvania, or in the alternative take Amtrak to Philly and change to get to Harrisburg. More trains, amirite?
A year ago at the height of the pandemic there were no drop off fees from Enterprise. I drove from Pa. to California and back for $375 round trip. Gas was under $1.50. Masked outside the car and my only human contact was in the motel lobby,if it was open and in one of the few open restaurants.
 

zephyr17

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Constrained supply + high demand = high prices.

Pricing is how the market allocates scarce resources, whether it is rental cars or a roomettes.

Gouging laws briefly restrain the market forces when a natural disaster greatly increases demand or reduces supply for a brief "pulse" where supply and demand very briefly come unbalanced, and do not apply to most things. During the pandemic we saw ridiculous prices online for things that were temporarily in extraordinary demand due to pandemic, such as hand sanitizer, liquid soap, clorox wipes. None of those were subject to price gouging laws, and if they were, it wasn't effective. It was effective, too, as far as it went, I wasn't going to spend $50 for a plastic jar of Clorox wipes, but I am sure someone else did. I went without. Fortunately, just before the pandemic hit I had picked up my regular Costco toilet paper supply that was sufficient to see me through the Great Toilet Paper Crisis of 2020. That would have been harder to go completely without.

Rental car supply is reduced because the rental car companies sold a lot of their fleets early to maintian cash flow and did not expect for demand to return so soon or heavily. They cannot quickly increase their fleets because the car manufacturers cannot fulfil new orders because of the chip shortage. That whole mess is because of the over use of "just in time" inventory practices up and down the supply chain and the fact that there is no spare inventory to be had anywhere along the line if supply chains get interrupted. The extreme implementation of "just in time" that is now pervasive demonstrated its extreme fragility. If you want to look to something that probably needs some kind of regulatory hand, it is just in time inventory practices. That has proven to be a threat to the national economy and national security to a degree that regulation is justified. Look at the PPE shortage early in the pandemic, that was almost entirely due to JIT inventory practices.

In any case, how else would anyone propose to replace the market system in allocating scarce resources. Lottery? First come, first served?
 
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railiner

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In any case, how else would anyone propose to replace the market system in allocating scarce resources. Lottery? First come, first served?
Interesting subject....In the case of oil, the government buys a lot when prices are low, in order to build up the "strategic supply", just in case of another OPEC embargo or other disruption of the supply chain. Perhaps they should wharehouse a "strategic supply" of toilet paper and other "essential's"? 😁
 

dlagrua

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Just an example. In 2020 our trip to Glacier (one way) last August from CHI to WFH cost us $1068 (Bedroom for 2). Last I checked the fare this year for the exact same dates was $2350. Yes over double the cost of 2020. If Amtrak is selling these tickets to wealthy first time travelers, that audience is going to be very disappointed when they experience a very slow trip and basic sleeper service that is in no way first class. This type of price gouging will work short term because some people post Covid are willing to pay anything for privacy. However, by selling at the highest prices that they can squeeze from the traveler, Amtrak is doing itself a disservice by driving away loyal long term customers and supporters like us. Right now there are no affordable travel options left but to fly First Class at 20% the cost of sleeper travel. Does anyone here wish to pay $5000-$6000 for a R/T cross country trip?
Just received our TSA pre-check so the flying option just became more attractive. We hope to return to the rails when it becomes worth it, but right now its no inconvenience taking our business elsewhere.
 

Sidney

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At 5 to 6 thousand dollars round trip I would expect a private car,unlimited alcoholic drinks and world renown chefs. These are Canadian prices from Toronto to Vancouver where the level of service is far superior.

We booked a 9 day Caribbean cruise. Total for both of us $1450. I know comparing a cruise and a bedroom on Amtrak is apples to oranges,but someone willing to pay over $2000 for a three day trip is looking for more than basic

basic transportation
 

AmtrakBlue

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Just an example. In 2020 our trip to Glacier (one way) last August from CHI to WFH cost us $1068 (Bedroom for 2). Last I checked the fare this year for the exact same dates was $2350. Yes over double the cost of 2020. If Amtrak is selling these tickets to wealthy first time travelers, that audience is going to be very disappointed when they experience a very slow trip and basic sleeper service that is in no way first class. This type of price gouging will work short term because some people post Covid are willing to pay anything for privacy. However, by selling at the highest prices that they can squeeze from the traveler, Amtrak is doing itself a disservice by driving away loyal long term customers and supporters like us. Right now there are no affordable travel options left but to fly First Class at 20% the cost of sleeper travel. Does anyone here wish to pay $5000-$6000 for a R/T cross country trip?
Just received our TSA pre-check so the flying option just became more attractive. We hope to return to the rails when it becomes worth it, but right now its no inconvenience taking our business elsewhere.
Obviously they're not driving away loyal customers.... If they can get double what you're willing to pay, good on them.

BTW, the price you got in 2020 was probably because no one wanted to travel in 2020, so, here we go again, supply (lots of rooms) and demand (not a lot of buyers).
 

lordsigma

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I wouldn’t really call a private room with personal toilet and shower basic transportation. Im traveling this week and I got my trip for far less - I booked early. I’d pretty much expect prices to be crazy this year with pent up travel demand especially last minute.
 

jruff001

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I wouldn’t really call a private room with personal toilet and shower basic transportation.
Exactly.

Price gouging laws generally only apply to "essential commodities" that are necessary for the public to survive a natural disaster. Think things like ice, gasoline and potable water.

First Class intercity transportation with a bed, personal plumbing and meals included (no matter how nasty you may think they are, or how much you think Amtrak's sleeping cars are not "First Class") is not "essential."
 
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NYP2NFL01

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I planned to travel from Kissimmee, FL to New York - Penn Station on Saturday September 18th in a Silver Star Bedroom. But, the price was astronomical!
It was cheaper to stay another night at Disney World and book a Bedroom on the Silver Meteor the next afternoon. The price of the bedroom dropped significantly. It still wasn't cheap, but, it was better than Saturday evening's bedroom price!
 

coventry801

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I have not been able to duplicate this.
Hmm. Might just be available in metropolitan area. I was able to reserve it and got a Ford Transit Van during the past Memorial Day weekend at Denver downtown location for $26 (with hotel discount). Also reserved and got it on on some weekends at 2 different locations in Tucson, AZ
 

flitcraft

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Doesn't seem to be available at the non-airport Seattle locations--checked for the next few days. If it works, terrific, but it isn't a deal that one can count on, it seems.
 

Exvalley

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Is Amtrak required to be run like a for-profit company? Sure. But the people who point out that law and say nothing else are ignoring the reality. Amtrak is run like a typical government bureaucracy and less like a true for-profit company, at least as far as most service is concerned.

Compare Amtrak to an airline. Airlines are incredibly adept at adjusting their service to meet supply and demand. Is the Superbowl happening in Tampa? They are going to add flights. Do more people go to Fort Meyers in the winter than in the summer? Then more flights will be flown in the winter.

Now compare that to Amtrak. How many Silvers go to Florida in the winter? Exactly the same number as in the summer. Do they add sleepers to the City of New Orleans during Mardi Gras? Nope. Do they add trains to the Bay area when a Los Angeles sports team is playing there? No way. Do they add sleepers to the Lake Shore Limited when the Democratic National Convention is held in Chicago? Not a chance.

Sure, there is a SLIGHT amount of adjusting the number of sleepers and coaches, but it's a token effort. So, no, they aren't run entirely like a for profit corporation. Far from it.

Amtrak is good at adjusting their prices reflect demand. But they aren't good at adjusting supply in response to changes in demand. And because of that they are leaving a lot of money on the table and hurting consumers that would benefit from an increase in supply. Increasing ticket prices due to very limited supply does not mean that overall profits are as high as they could be. There is a balance to be struck.
 
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jimdex

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Is Amtrak required to be run like a for-profit company? Sure. But the people who point out that law and say nothing else are ignoring the reality. Amtrak is run like a typical government bureaucracy and less like a true for-profit company, at least as far as most service is concerned.

Compare Amtrak to an airline. Airlines are incredibly adept at adjusting their service to meet supply and demand. Is the Superbowl happening in Tampa? They are going to add flights. Do more people go to Fort Meyers in the winter than in the summer? Then more flights will be flown in the winter.
I suppose airlines do adjust their schedules from time to time, but I think it's fairly limited. As far as I know, most airlines fly approximately the same total number of planes summer and winter. Like Amtrak, airlines are much more likely to adjust supply to demand by raising or lowering fares accordingly. It's not smart business practice to maintain large numbers of planes (or railcars) for use only during peak periods.
 
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