Is "socially distant" seating no longer used?

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TylerP42

Conductor
Joined
May 22, 2015
Messages
1,223
Location
Detroit, Michigan
I just boarded the Cardinal and it appears socially distanced seating has been thrown out the window.

I'm noticing there are no more seating assignments, people sitting directly infront/behind each other and across the aisle from eachother. I'm also seeing people who don't know eachother seated next to eachother. Mask wearing doesn't appear to be enforced, but someone was kicked off for smoking Marijuana.

On a side note, the park guide narrator is back from Charleston to Clifton Forge, after a year-long hiatus.
 
Joined
Jan 9, 2021
Messages
820
Location
Boston
Probably differs train to train.
All the routs I've taken have been very good about both masks and social distancing.
When I took the Cal Zephyr back in November, someone was almost kicked off the train for not masking up, and they strictly enforced all rules.
Its possible people tire of everything and the rules are relaxing.

I took the Downeaster in February and the same situation applied (with significantly less ridership however).
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
2,080
Location
Long Island, NY
I just boarded the Cardinal and it appears socially distanced seating has been thrown out the window.

I'm noticing there are no more seating assignments, people sitting directly infront/behind each other and across the aisle from eachother. I'm also seeing people who don't know eachother seated next to eachother. Mask wearing doesn't appear to be enforced, but someone was kicked off for smoking Marijuana.

On a side note, the park guide narrator is back from Charleston to Clifton Forge, after a year-long hiatus.
Tyler...nice to see you back and posting...
 

Sidney

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
870
If there is any positive out of this pedemic,it is the social distancing on Amtrak and having both seats to yourself. I really hope Amtrak keeps this policy going.
 

TylerP42

Conductor
Joined
May 22, 2015
Messages
1,223
Location
Detroit, Michigan
I decided to attempt to upgrade my seats for the return trip to a roomette (with my mother).

I had two separate reservations (one for me, one for my mother). I call in, and tell them about what happened. The reservation agent apologized and sent me to customer relations.

The relations representative said they made a report, but couldn't offer compensation. I understood, still wanted to upgrade. She said it would be $150 extra... fine.

She then says she needs to charge me an extra 20 for an open ticket. An hour into the call, she advises me we can't travel together.

I then recommend she refunds my seperate reservations and puts us both in a room together. She sighs, puts me on hold for another 20 minutes. Charges me 200 dollars, refunds the 150$ I spent to upgrade.

So now my bank account is currently 350$ lighter until the refund processes, but at least we're in the room. In total this return trip will cost about 200$, versus the $30 i originally paid, just so I can be safer in the room away from those not wearing masks.

Oh well... life happens I guess.
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2011
Messages
1,399
Location
Spring Creek, NC
I decided to attempt to upgrade my seats for the return trip to a roomette (with my mother).

I had two separate reservations (one for me, one for my mother). I call in, and tell them about what happened. The reservation agent apologized and sent me to customer relations.

The relations representative said they made a report, but couldn't offer compensation. I understood, still wanted to upgrade. She said it would be $150 extra... fine.

She then says she needs to charge me an extra 20 for an open ticket. An hour into the call, she advises me we can't travel together.

I then recommend she refunds my seperate reservations and puts us both in a room together. She sighs, puts me on hold for another 20 minutes. Charges me 200 dollars, refunds the 150$ I spent to upgrade.

So now my bank account is currently 350$ lighter until the refund processes, but at least we're in the room. In total this return trip will cost about 200$, versus the $30 i originally paid, just so I can be safer in the room away from those not wearing masks.

Oh well... life happens I guess.

When you get home, please write Customer Relations a letter with the details of what you experienced, and ask for a refund. It's outrageous that you should have to pay so much additional money because Amtrak failed to provide you with the Covid-safety conditions they so prominently advertise. You already PAID for those conditions when you booked your original ticket.

Perhaps copy that letter to the Office of the Secretary of Transportation, with a cover note asking that Amtrak actually live up to its Covid safety promises and that you be informed about what action is taken to accomplish that.
 

crescent-zephyr

Engineer
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
4,182
I decided to attempt to upgrade my seats for the return trip to a roomette (with my mother).

I had two separate reservations (one for me, one for my mother). I call in, and tell them about what happened. The reservation agent apologized and sent me to customer relations.

The relations representative said they made a report, but couldn't offer compensation. I understood, still wanted to upgrade. She said it would be $150 extra... fine.

She then says she needs to charge me an extra 20 for an open ticket. An hour into the call, she advises me we can't travel together.

I then recommend she refunds my seperate reservations and puts us both in a room together. She sighs, puts me on hold for another 20 minutes. Charges me 200 dollars, refunds the 150$ I spent to upgrade.

So now my bank account is currently 350$ lighter until the refund processes, but at least we're in the room. In total this return trip will cost about 200$, versus the $30 i originally paid, just so I can be safer in the room away from those not wearing masks.

Oh well... life happens I guess.

Call back and speak to another agent... if they can’t offer you anything ask for a supervisor.

Amtrak must enforce maks by law and they are clearly advertising that they are blocking off seats.
 

crescent-zephyr

Engineer
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
4,182
Quick glance at Amtrak’s Facebook page and it looks like this is a common complaint.

So Amtrak isn’t following the law. Interesting.
 

TheCrescent

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 24, 2020
Messages
386
On the Acela recently, I was seated with one person right in front of me and another person right behind me (in the single seats along one side of the car).

So much for social distancing there, too.
 

Devil's Advocate

🚂〰️〰️〰️〰️
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
13,414
Location
🇺🇸
How about, If Amtrak knows a train isn't at capacity, you just be able to "bid" on getting an empty seat next to you like their new business class upgrade bids.
I think both sides can benefit by being able to book two paid seats per person up to 24 hr before first departure, maybe charging a $5 admin fee to merge & mark them, and then bidding for any excess inventory in the last 24 hours.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Messages
614
Location
Portsmouth, VA
I thought that they only promised that you would not sit shoulder to shoulder with a stranger. I didn't realize that they also blocked off seats directly behind and in front of you.
My thing is: as long as there's no one in the seat next to me, I'm fine. Granted, I was like this prior to COVID-19, and not for health reasons. As far as I'm concerned, people can sit in the rows in front of and behind me. I gotta wear a mask anyway, so.......
 

daybeers

Conductor
Joined
Jan 6, 2016
Messages
1,656
Location
NHV
I thought that they only promised that you would not sit shoulder to shoulder with a stranger. I didn't realize that they also blocked off seats directly behind and in front of you.
Yup, each car is limited to 50% capacity, meaning one person per seat pair maximum. I think that's fine as long as everyone is wearing a mask.

But seeing as that wasn't the case and you saw passengers sitting next to one another who weren't in the same party, I agree with writing a letter.
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Messages
889
Location
Brownsburg IN
I just boarded the Cardinal and it appears socially distanced seating has been thrown out the window.

I'm noticing there are no more seating assignments, people sitting directly infront/behind each other and across the aisle from eachother. I'm also seeing people who don't know eachother seated next to eachother. Mask wearing doesn't appear to be enforced, but someone was kicked off for smoking Marijuana.

On a side note, the park guide narrator is back from Charleston to Clifton Forge, after a year-long hiatus.
I just got off the Cardinal on Tuesday morning westbound, and I saw none of this.

Also, when was there a restriction on sitting behind somebody? The only restrictions that they have in place that I am aware of are that you have two seats to yourself, if you are traveling by yourself. But if somebody is directly in front of you, it doesn’t mean you can’t sit behind them. And I’m not trying to be contradictory, but how do you know the people sitting next to each other aren’t traveling together?
 

TylerP42

Conductor
Joined
May 22, 2015
Messages
1,223
Location
Detroit, Michigan
I just got off the Cardinal on Tuesday morning westbound, and I saw none of this.

Also, when was there a restriction on sitting behind somebody? The only restrictions that they have in place that I am aware of are that you have two seats to yourself, if you are traveling by yourself. But if somebody is directly in front of you, it doesn’t mean you can’t sit behind them. And I’m not trying to be contradictory, but how do you know the people sitting next to each other aren’t traveling together?

A. I was going eastbound, yesterday. Glad your cardinal trip was nice and safe.

B. I saw people get on at different stops and sit next to people. I mean, I can't be 100% obviously but they didn't talk much or act like they knew eachother at all.

C. My main issue was the lack of mask wearing and lack of enforcement.
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Messages
889
Location
Brownsburg IN
A. I was going eastbound, yesterday. Glad your cardinal trip was nice and safe.

B. I saw people get on at different stops and sit next to people. I mean, I can't be 100% obviously but they didn't talk much or act like they knew eachother at all.

C. My main issue was the lack of mask wearing and lack of enforcement.

That’s too bad - I’m sorry for your experience. As you said, getting on at different stops is a pretty good clue that they’re not likely traveling together.

No excuse for the crew not to be making a concerted effort to enforce mask wearing. Believe me, I heard lots of announcements on four different trains during my recent travels. Many included not-so-veiled threats of removal from the train for noncompliance. It can be done in a friendly, positive way - but they’ve got to be firm with this.

Thanks for the report.
 
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