Long Distance Train Coach & Sleeper Fares (Buckets)

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Feb 11, 2015
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This updated version shows the SS sleeper fares increasing to equal those of the SM one month earlier than previously reported (see chart above):30 - 14 Mar 2020 Amtrak Fare Buckets.jpg
There's some possibility the previously reported date for this increase was incorrect.
This update includes the previously unseen low bucket Bedroom fare for the SL and increases of 1.8% and 1.6% in high bucket Bedroom fares for the CARD & LSL(NYP) and the CL:
32 - 31 Mar 2020 Amtrak Fare Buckets.jpg
i prefer coach and find that the rail pass has always been the most cost effective for us, even when the dining car was available to coach
With all the cutbacks and sky high rates in sleepers... which lowers the value... rail passes become an exceptional choice. You are getting the advantages of a large seat, use of the observation lounge, availability of the cafe car, and the beautiful scenery. Also one can bring their own food; and hot water for your cup of soup, or tea or coffee is available in the cafe car free of charge. All this with the extra social distancing space allotted now on passenger cars makes the pass a great idea! ;)
This chart just has the lowest two or three buckets and with two for each train - end points to the current high ridership intermediate point:Partial Buckets 001a.jpg
This updated chart shows fares between the end points of each route, replacing the first four charts in this thread. 33 - 6 Sep 2020 Amtrak Fare Buckets.jpg
Note that fares for the Silver Star and Silver Meteor are now the same (for their entire routes). They were equalized on 1 Jun 2020.
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Thank you , But could you please tell me the procedure so when it is fixed I’ll know how to use it?

i’m actually trying to plan a huge circular ride Los Angeles New Orleans Washington DC Reno....

thank you
Because the Amsnag site is being reconfigured, no one currently knows how it will work, it is an amateur site run by an enthusiast. With the Corona virus causing many timetable alteration issues, I guess it will be some time before we can expect it back.
Broadly speaking, you entered the route, a range of dates you were considering to travel, up to a span of 30 days, and the website brought back the fare info from the Amtrak site, in an easy to follow manner, so by listing all fares for all 30 days, it was easy to spot which dates had cheaper fares.
You can find the info direct from the Amtrak site, but you have to change the departure date one day at a time, and note down the fares. The Amsnag site only tells you the same info in a convenient format, it does not actually sell the tickets.
You might consider a rail pass for your trip, although I am not sure if they are still sold with the Corona virus situation?
When are you thinking of travelling, folk here are often happy to offer route suggestions, etc?

I tried to buy a rail pass, just as an experiment, and although the option is still on the Amtrak website, it does not connect through to allow purchase.
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I really REALLY miss the ol' Amsnag! Being retired, exact travel dates are totally flexible. I was on the A/T almost monthly (til the Covid). It showed me how to save tons just by changing from one day to the next. Hope it comes back. Kudo's to the guy that invented it.
So SS and SM are now the same? Interesting.
This argues in favor of booking based on connection times rather than meal service.. a lot less incentive to try for the SS from the Cap in DC.
Thanks Niemi for the update.
Here's an updated version of the chart in Post #11 with 6 additions/corrections;

33 - 6 Sep 2020 Amtrak Fare Buckets.jpg
Glad there were no fare increases at the start of this fiscal year.
Moderators: After a review of 30 different bucket charts on file, there are 5 charts showing 4 fare increases occurring between 26 Oct 2016 and 3 Dec 2018. Those older charts are not posted here. The 5th fare increase for which I have charts is already posted above (see Posts #4 and #11).

If you think anybody might have an interest in those 5 older charts showing fare increases not already shown here, I'll make them available. However, if added here, I think they should be posted in chronological order. And I don't know how to do that (put them first in order). If you'd like to see them here, please let me know and I'll send all 5 of those charts to you - or whatever else you want me to do with them.
Your work on these bucket charts is most appreciated. It's easy to extrapolate from one or two bits of information to assume a pattern--you've done the hard work of showing us what is actually going on. So, thank you!
Thanks for the kind words. When the next across the board fare increase occurs, coming up with a new bucket chart without AmSnag is going to be an excruciating chore. Started doing this years ago when I got fed up with people complaining about an outrageous fare increase when comparing two fares they'd paid but without knowing what bucket either of them was.

Using the last fare increase as an example, a low bucket Roomette on the EB was $513 in Mar 2020 and up 3% to $527 in Sep 2020. But when unknowingly buying the same thing in at the next higher bucket for $651 in Sep 2020 they'd think fares went up 27%! While they did pay 27% more, they were at different bucket levels. And even if there is no wholesale fare increase, the uninitiated could mistake a fare jumping to a higher bucket as a 23% fare increase. Semantics comes into play here too, as the jump from $527 to $651 is indeed an increase - but not in all the fare buckets, just from one bucket to the next.

Understanding Amtraks bucket system is the key to making sense out of what a ticket costs - whether or not you like what a ticket costs..
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I got fed up with people complaining about an outrageous fare increase ...Understanding Amtrak's bucket system is the key to making sense out of what a ticket costs.

Your efforts have made understanding the bucket system easier to grasp. Thanks for the hard work. However, it will not stop the complaining about the high fares. You do not have to fully understand the "bucket system" to know when you are being overcharged for substandard service.

Flex dining, 3x week service, lack of guaranteed connections and fewer staff does not make any explanation of the buckets high prices more palatable.
I'm sure that if enough complain here about the high fares, Amtrak management will see the complaints, take heed and lower the fares within a few days.

And when you complain, be sure to tell how much (%) they need to be lowered. Otherwise, if they're not lowered enough you'll have to start complaining all over again.