Is Solo a Good way to Travel Amtrak?

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Winecliff Station

Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 10, 2019
Messages
156
Location
Hudson Valley
The sanitation habits of pet owners range from incredibly clean to absolutely disgusting and the last thing I want when I board is several hours of some prior occupant's stomach churning pet funk at Amtrak's sleeper prices. Amtrak compartments are full of fabric and carpeting so it's not like they can be sanitized after an accident. This is one area where Amtrak and I see eye-to-eye and if it were up to me no pets would be allowed onboard. That being said the government's mandated acceptance does not appear to have caused major problems as currently implemented.
While I can assure you I am in the former category of pet owners, I acknowledge that not all are like me and completely understand the reason for the rule. Also, I am not sure I would enjoy the ride as much if I had to worry about certain things.... like finding a station where there is grass near the platform, or my dog catching a scent of something she deems suspicious in the middle of the night and feeling the need to loudly warn me about it much to the dismay of my fellow passengers.
 

cassie225

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 30, 2012
Messages
311
Location
Louisiana
While I can assure you I am in the former category of pet owners, I acknowledge that not all are like me and completely understand the reason for the rule. Also, I am not sure I would enjoy the ride as much if I had to worry about certain things.... like finding a station where there is grass near the platform, or my dog catching a scent of something she deems suspicious in the middle of the night and feeling the need to loudly warn me about it much to the dismay of my fellow passengers.
So true and my Yorker is a loud yapper lol but what about service dogs and sleepers, they have to be in a carrier also.
 

jis

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
29,192
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
So true and my Yorker is a loud yapper lol but what about service dogs and sleepers, they have to be in a carrier also.
I doubt that any service dog has to be in a carrier. That would defeat the entire purpose of a service dog, no? How is a visually impaired person going to be guided by a service dog in a carrier?
 

joelkfla

OBS Chief
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
811
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
No, service dogs do NOT need to be in carriers. And they are trained to be quiet, etc.
@HenryK , care to chime in on this? :)
That's the problem with so-called "emotional support" animals. Real service animals are highly trained to be calm and inconspicuous, which is not the case for random pets for whom the owner has purchased a vest on the internet.
 

Devil's Advocate

It's just a scratch.
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
12,628
Location
Siding of Excellence
I give 100% support to the right of disabled people to bring a trained service animal anywhere they want to go but I struggle to support the ADA's need to fight any system that might ensure only genuine service animals are allowed. I also support using tax dollars to cover the costs of any verification system so that no fee or financial obligation is passed onto the recipient. In the activist arena it seems like half of us are concerned with the struggles and mistreatment of the less fortunate while the other half are mainly concerned with how basic everyday interactions might affect someone with a victimhood complex.
 
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Winecliff Station

Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 10, 2019
Messages
156
Location
Hudson Valley
I give 100% support to the right of disabled people to bring a trained service animal anywhere they want to go but I struggle to support the ADA's need to fight any system that might ensure only genuine service animals are allowed. I also support using tax dollars to cover the costs of any verification system so that no fee or financial obligation is passed onto the recipient. In the activist arena it seems like half of us are concerned with the struggles and mistreatment of the less fortunate while the other half are mainly concerned with how basic everyday interactions might affect someone with a victimhood complex.
I think the problem is that it’s hard for most travelers to distinguish between service dogs, which have all the ADA protection, and emotional support animals which do not. Also, many people assume service dogs are only for the blind, however they’ve now become trained to pull wheelchairs and open doors for the physically disabled and detect the onset of diabetic shock or epileptic seizures before they happen. Something to do with a scent they pick up when it’s about to happen. What makes things even more confusing is that airlines allow emotional support animals as well, ostensibly due to the fear of flying, thought I’ve read this is being changed among several airlines. Finally, there are grey areas such as PTSD where experts disagree on whether a service dog is warranted.

F4ADECAD-1C11-4B23-8156-BAE709CA4AE9.jpeg
 

AmtrakBlue

Engineer
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
12,869
Location
Delaware
I think the problem is that it’s hard for most travelers to distinguish between service dogs, which have all the ADA protection, and emotional support animals which do not. Also, many people assume service dogs are only for the blind, however they’ve now become trained to pull wheelchairs and open doors for the physically disabled and detect the onset of diabetic shock or epileptic seizures before they happen. Something to do with a scent they pick up when it’s about to happen. What makes things even more confusing is that airlines allow emotional support animals as well, ostensibly due to the fear of flying, thought I’ve read this is being changed among several airlines. Finally, there are grey areas such as PTSD where experts disagree on whether a service dog is warranted.

View attachment 24391
A couple of other types of service dogs are for hearing assistance & autism.
 

HenryK

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 12, 2015
Messages
261
As a service dog handler all I can say is that Amtrak, for the most part, has been very hospitable to us. Attendants and conductors have been understanding and soliticous, except for one on the California Zephyr who was a clear dog-hater and forbade us to go to the dining car. Other conductors have held trains at short stops in emergencies for Trooper's relief.

On every trip I consult with sleeper attendants about the likeliest pee stops. For instance, every time we ride the eastbound Capitol Limited to Washington, I ask the attendant to let us off at South Bend for a quick whiz. That's not a smoke stop but a baggage handling stop, giving us time to get on and off without delaying the train, and we're good for the night until Pittsburgh. We've never been refused, even when extra board attendants may be at first unfamiliar with the protocol.

It's a mistake to think that all service dog handlers want everything their way. Most of us try hard, and usually succeed, at negotiating conditions that work for all parties.
 

Oaxacajo

Train Attendant
Joined
May 10, 2021
Messages
25
Location
Chicago
As a service dog handler all I can say is that Amtrak, for the most part, has been very hospitable to us. Attendants and conductors have been understanding and soliticous, except for one on the California Zephyr who was a clear dog-hater and forbade us to go to the dining car. Other conductors have held trains at short stops in emergencies for Trooper's relief.

On every trip I consult with sleeper attendants about the likeliest pee stops. For instance, every time we ride the eastbound Capitol Limited to Washington, I ask the attendant to let us off at South Bend for a quick whiz. That's not a smoke stop but a baggage handling stop, giving us time to get on and off without delaying the train, and we're good for the night until Pittsburgh. We've never been refused, even when extra board attendants may be at first unfamiliar with the protocol.

It's a mistake to think that all service dog handlers want everything their way. Most of us try hard, and usually succeed, at negotiating conditions that work for all parties.
I thought this was about solo traveling on Amtrak? How did it evolve into Amtrak's pet policy. Shouldn't that be a different topic?
 
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