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Huge ridership killer in reservation system for 3x weekly service

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looshi

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 25, 2012
Messages
81
If Congress is passing an CR that resumes the current full funding of ALL federal programs , which includes AMTRAK ... WHY go to reduced LD service and not full dining ?

The majority of Amtrak's funding comes from ticket revenue. The current federal funding level assumes ridership that does not exist currently.
 

Lonestar648

Conductor
AU Supporter
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May 17, 2015
Messages
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The CR restores current funding, it doesn’t cover the Covid 19 revenue shortages that Amtrak management said it needed to maintain current daily trains. The difference is substantial.
 

lordsigma

OBS Chief
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Sep 15, 2017
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967
If Congress is passing an CR that resumes the current full funding of ALL federal programs , which includes AMTRAK ... WHY go to reduced LD service and not full dining ?
A CR with level funding won’t cut it. Amtrak has stated they need 1.5 billion or so extra this year for 3x a week and the current level of furloughs - 5 billion for business as usual. Level funding for Amtrak all year this year could result in much worse cuts - possibly suspension of all LD except auto train and suspension of some corridors and deep frequency cuts on the NEC.
 

Amtrakfflyer

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Messages
477
Six months from now we will still have most of the problems we do today but the country will have a different vibe for lack of better words. We have a lot of rebuilding to do but we are a great Nation and are up to the task.
 

Barb Stout

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
564
Big issue is that no one can make figure out the reservation system, so the long advance reservations level that management says will trigger return of service is impossible to achieve.
It sounds to me that it would possibly be better if people called Amtrak to make reservations. Has anyone tried it with respect to the post-Oct 3 days a week train schedule? If so, how did it go? The first time I used Amtrak, I made the reservations over the phone. The person I got was very helpful and gave me information that I didn't even think about asking about. I had purchased a 3? week pass and she gave me tips and tricks of how to get the most out of the system. She also told me about the 3 stations in Boston and options to get to the North station for the Downeaster.
 

lordsigma

OBS Chief
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It sounds to me that it would possibly be better if people called Amtrak to make reservations. Has anyone tried it with respect to the post-Oct 3 days a week train schedule? If so, how did it go? The first time I used Amtrak, I made the reservations over the phone. The person I got was very helpful and gave me information that I didn't even think about asking about. I had purchased a 3? week pass and she gave me tips and tricks of how to get the most out of the system. She also told me about the 3 stations in Boston and options to get to the North station for the Downeaster.
I only deal with the website just for general pricing and only book there when I Am using points. Otherwise i go to my local station at times I know the best agent is working.
 

jiml

Conductor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
1,912
Location
Somewhere in Southern Ontario
Otherwise i go to my local station at times I know the best agent is working.
That used to be the tried and true method "back in the day" before websites and online booking. When we used to live in Toronto VIA was supposed to issue Amtrak tickets, but usually refused or gave up part-way through the process since they had to be hand-written. So we'd set off on the 2-hour drive to Buffalo-Depew, where the Amtrak agents were always patient and helpful. It's important to remember that the tickets then usually consisted of several "coupons" or vouchers covering each segment of travel and our usual routing (Toronto > Hammond-Whiting > Philadelphia (or Washington) > Orlando and back involved 3 or more each way depending on accommodation choices.
 

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,403
Location
Gator Country Florida
Since Palatka in a "NO" station

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and only somewhat closer - I would have to drive to Jacksonville for "in person" help with tickets. I find the website (as clunky as it is) and the phone the best way to book
 

niemi24s

Conductor
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,390
Since Palatka in a "NO" station. . .I would have to drive to Jacksonville for "in person" help with tickets.
Gee, it's an hour drive between those two stations. Well I think that's just deplorable! Simply deplorable!!
 
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mitako

Train Attendant
Joined
May 21, 2018
Messages
73
It is insanely complicated now to plan a long trip that involves more than one train, and I cannot imagine anyone except the most hardcore Amtrak fan is going to make the effort.

I love the train, and I'm in the process of trying to plan a trip for next year that's Los Angeles to Chicago, Chicago to DC, and then reverse. Let me tell you, it is ridiculous how tough it is to plan because of the 3x weekly scheduling and I am using a blank calender page and print out of the train schedules to try and figure it out.

Because the Capitol Ltd and the Cardinal are BOTH only leaving DC for Chicago on Sun/Wed/Fri, I either have to spend fewer days than I want in DC or stay longer than I want. Figuring out days of the week for two-night LD trains is really confusing, because depending on where you board, you have to remember that a train that left Chicago on Fri is going to reach Denver on Sat, for example, so if you are boarding in Denver, you have to take that into account and not the schedule put out by Amtrak.

Anyway, it's a mess and I cannot see much hope of a surge of riders when it's so friggin' hard to plan a trip with multiple legs, and the $$$$$$$ for a roomette or sleeper with subpar meals is insane.
 

Sidney

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
93
You can get to Chicago from LA direct every day except Wednesday. Why the three Chicago to NY/DC trains run on the same days makes no sense.

I agree,most people aren't going to bother to make reservations with this tri weekly schedule and the substandard food is certainly not an incentive. I remember I used to look forward to meal times. Now it's just the need to eat. Why Amtrak is still charging high prices for sleepers is beyond me. I have taken three circle trips since May and the sleepers have been half empty.

What a way to run a railroad.
 

Lonestar648

Conductor
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May 17, 2015
Messages
2,743
I found if I use a pad with the departure days and arrival days of all the trains carefully blocked out, I can now work to plan a loop trip. Some same day connections are possible, like the SL west to LA connect to CS north. Connecting through Chicago is problematic without a overnight stay. Of course the online Amtrak site is less than helpful, then because the trip is more segmented the cost is obviously much more. This has to be an intentional effort to discourage any traveler from traveling on the long distance system.
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,910
Location
Ithaca, NY
As usual, write your Congresspeople and Senators and tell them that Amtrak management is deliberately sabotaging the service. This is NOT what Congress wants.

The House of Representatives has already passed a bill requiring daily service. It has Democratic support in the Senate. Republican Senators saying they support it, but it was blocked by the Republican leader Mitch McConnell in the Senate. As far as I'm concerned that tells you how to vote if rail is your #1 issue.
 

TheVig

Train Attendant
AU Supporter
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Jun 22, 2020
Messages
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Location
Charlotte NC
I recently booked a trip from CLT to WBG and back for the end of November. Needed to leave on Nov 29 and return on the Dec 1. Trying to book round trip was impossible. Basically the return couldn't happen until Dec 3. Supposedly no trains available home on Dec 1.

So to book the dates I wanted, I booked using the multi-city feature. No problem getting the return date I wanted using multi-city booking. Nov 29 CLT-RVR-WBG then on the Dec 1 WBG-RVR-CLT.

So to the newbs out there, don't think you can't take the trip you want, on the dates you want. When trying to book round trip, the system doesn't always take into account all the possible scenarios. Try multi-city booking if round trip isn't producing the results you want. Just make sure when using multi-city booking, you give yourself plenty of time to make connections.

And for the peanut gallery, yes I know I could drive the trip a lot faster. But it's my time, and hey any excuse to ride the rails is a good excuse.
 

Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
2,296
Republican Senators saying they support it, but it was blocked by the Republican leader Mitch McConnell in the Senate
I thought I once learned that each House of Congress had a Rules Committee that determined the "flow" of Bills presented on the floor of their respective bodies.

If so, how has it happened that the Speaker in the House or the Majority Leader in the Senate can determine what Bills are or are not considered by their Members?
 

neroden

Conductor
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Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,910
Location
Ithaca, NY
I thought I once learned that each House of Congress had a Rules Committee that determined the "flow" of Bills presented on the floor of their respective bodies.

If so, how has it happened that the Speaker in the House or the Majority Leader in the Senate can determine what Bills are or are not considered by their Members?
51 Republicans in the Senate vote to let the Majority Leader control things.

If the majority of Senators vote for that, that's what they get. It's not really very complicated.

The House has the "discharge petition" which allows bills to be voted on without the support of the Speaker, and it's been used. It requires a majority.
 

Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
2,296
51 Republicans in the Senate vote to let the Majority Leader control things.

If the majority of Senators vote for that, that's what they get. It's not really very complicated.

The House has the "discharge petition" which allows bills to be voted on without the support of the Speaker, and it's been used. It requires a majority.

So, the bottom line is this? It's the Rules that each House adopted that determine the flow of legislation? If the Speaker says: No to a Bill to their caucus and the Majority Leader says No as well to whatever Bill, where does the interest of "We, the People" have a part to play in either House?

What then, as I asked, is the role of the Rules Committee of both Houses other than whomever is Chairperson of such a Committee probably "earning" an extra stipend for doing such "difficult work"?

It's really no wonder that those of us who are concerned about Amtrak as well as other issues of the day seem to have our voices rarely heard, respected, and appropriately responded to on Capital Hill.
 

jruff001

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
108
Which three days of the week Amtrak chooses to run a train through Lower Nowhere, KS is pretty low on Congress' list of priorities right now. (At least I hope it is.)

In fact, it might be more in the public interest to stop the LD trains and other interstate travel completely for a while until the pandemic calms down a bit, since apparently so many people can't be bothered with simpler prevention methods.

But carry on . . .
 

niemi24s

Conductor
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,390
It's really no wonder that those of us who are concerned about Amtrak as well as other issues of the day seem to have our voices rarely heard, respected, and appropriately responded to on Capital Hill.
Did you manage to get your name on the ballot?
 

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,592
Location
Virginia
A CR with level funding won’t cut it. Amtrak has stated they need 1.5 billion or so extra this year for 3x a week and the current level of furloughs - 5 billion for business as usual. Level funding for Amtrak all year this year could result in much worse cuts - possibly suspension of all LD except auto train and suspension of some corridors and deep frequency cuts on the NEC.
The thing is, these numbers are a crock. Amtrak has estimated net savings of like $216m/yr or so (IIRC TOTAL ALLOCATED operating COSTS on the LD trains sit at about $1.0-1.1bn), so Amtrak saying they need $1.5bn is smoke up everyone's you-know-what.

Likewise, total operating costs for FY19 were about $3.3-3.4bn...and revenue isn't gonna be $0 (while there are at least SOME savings to be had with running fewer NEC trains and state trains are, well, contract operations where that number also won't be $0). It doesn't hurt that Amtrak was posting lower "losses" than appropriated for for a while, either.
 

lonewolfette9847

Train Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Apr 17, 2018
Messages
32
Location
Massachusetts
I get that less people are riding but I think having more trains allows people to spread out rather than crammed in to 1 train every 3 days. (Virus, you know.) I get that Amtrak doesn’t want to lose $ but I think safety is pretty important. 🤷🏻‍♀️
 
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