New dining options (flex dining) effective October 1, 2019

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Devil's Advocate

Conductor
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,352
Imagine you work for Amtrak. Positions are being cut left and right. There is a high likelihood the long-distance network will not be here a year from now, and if it is there will be much fewer positions to fill. How positive would your employee attitude be?
It's hard to envision someone clueless enough to assume Amtrak was a rock solid career choice also being fazed by rumors that it could be defunded in the next budget debate. Nearly every nonessential job is at risk right now but I don't see every employee shrugging their shoulders or giving me the stink eye just because they don't know what might happen tomorrow. If anything most seem thankful to have a job in an era of severe adversity and I feel the same way.
 
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Green Maned Lion

Conductor
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
8,209
That would be a valid point if this were a recent phenomenon. We all know it’s not.
Your point would be valid if my point was an entirely recent phenomenon; it isn't. Amtrak has been threatened with discontinuations and elimination since at least May 1st, 1971.

To underserve, be rude, or to abuse an innocent passenger is not ok, regardless.
I do not dispute you, at all. Just because I am identifying a empathetic reason for why some at Amtrak are grumpier and less pleasant than they should be does not justify the behavior. I am suggesting a reason; I do not suggest an excuse.

It's hard to envision someone clueless enough to assume Amtrak was a rock solid career choice also being fazed by rumors that it could be defunded in the next budget debate. Nearly every nonessential job is at risk right now but I don't see every employee shrugging their shoulders or giving me the stink eye just because they don't know what might happen tomorrow. If anything most seem thankful to have a job in an era of severe adversity and I feel the same way.
I got a friend, which is remarkable, frankly. Well there might be two or three on earth, especially if you can consider family friends, but I'm referring to one of them. He is transit dependent, lonely, and historically not happy about it. I cite him as an example because I know so few people personally, and consider myself weird enough that self-citing as an example is unreasonable, although in my way I concur with him.

All he can think about is that the coronavirus is coming for his transit, and how the social distancing prevents him from meeting people. At present I can drive a car, and as far as I'm concerned, social distancing is generally speaking a pleasure. But my point is, all he sees is how it impacts him. All I can think about is how this is impacting my income and my money. I recognize the rest; infact I am aware that if your name isn't Jeff Bezos, this pandemic is inflicting upon everyone pain.

But the truth is, Amtrak employees who are grumpy and obnoxious are probably also self-facing and looking at the negative sides of how this effects them. Some people can see the positive and experience gratitude at what they really do have; those people are usually the cheerful ones. Some can't see the positive when there are any negatives present- those are the Amtrak workers you complain about.

The truth is, Mr. Advocate, job security has not really been a thing for about 50 years now. No matter what you do. I know, because I have constantly suffered from problems of job security, and I generally own the employer.
 

Rasputin

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
700
My wife and I traveled on the Lake Shore round trip in May 2018 (if I have the year correct) just a couple weeks before the discontinuance of the diner-lite service and the introduction of contemporary dining. I was expected to encounter demoralized crews in the dining car but to my surprise service was great and crew morale seemed to be very good.
 

20th Century Rider

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
318
Out of fairness to both Amtrak employees and patrons, we all want the trains to keep running, and keep running well. We are ALL dealing with unstable and inconsistent administration, funding, and national priority. As for justification for a national rail system… well, er, ummm… global warming, fuel issues, highway congestion, and choice for those who prefer not to own a car or pack in like a sardine in the flying tubes. They there is the natural beauty of the country which can best be enjoyed while relaxing in the train. It’s also about national pride and travel support for the citizenry. Every developed country in the world enjoys growing mass transit and high speed long distance service with the support of the government as a service for its people. Do a Google check out not only Europe and Asia, do check out India, Turkey, North - Central - and South Africa. Why can't we do that too??? Check out below on fast developing plans for extensive rail system in Africa and India. 🤠

Screen Shot 2020-06-05 at 10.58.10 AM.png
Screen Shot 2020-06-05 at 11.00.35 AM.png
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
19,716
Imagine you work for Amtrak. Positions are being cut left and right. There is a high likelihood the long-distance network will not be here a year from now, and if it is there will be much fewer positions to fill. How positive would your employee attitude be?
That's why the Union and we need to get busy letting our Congress Critters to fully fund Amtrsk and save the OBS jobs and LD Trains!!
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
19,716
Your point would be valid if my point was an entirely recent phenomenon; it isn't. Amtrak has been threatened with discontinuations and elimination since at least May 1st, 1971.



I do not dispute you, at all. Just because I am identifying a empathetic reason for why some at Amtrak are grumpier and less pleasant than they should be does not justify the behavior. I am suggesting a reason; I do not suggest an excuse.



I got a friend, which is remarkable, frankly. Well there might be two or three on earth, especially if you can consider family friends, but I'm referring to one of them. He is transit dependent, lonely, and historically not happy about it. I cite him as an example because I know so few people personally, and consider myself weird enough that self-citing as an example is unreasonable, although in my way I concur with him.

All he can think about is that the coronavirus is coming for his transit, and how the social distancing prevents him from meeting people. At present I can drive a car, and as far as I'm concerned, social distancing is generally speaking a pleasure. But my point is, all he sees is how it impacts him. All I can think about is how this is impacting my income and my money. I recognize the rest; infact I am aware that if your name isn't Jeff Bezos, this pandemic is inflicting upon everyone pain.

But the truth is, Amtrak employees who are grumpy and obnoxious are probably also self-facing and looking at the negative sides of how this effects them. Some people can see the positive and experience gratitude at what they really do have; those people are usually the cheerful ones. Some can't see the positive when there are any negatives present- those are the Amtrak workers you complain about.

The truth is, Mr. Advocate, job security has not really been a thing for about 50 years now. No matter what you do. I know, because I have constantly suffered from problems of job security, and I generally own the employer.
Lots of valid points Lion! Chris has them too! Yall arent as far apart as you might think on your positions!
 

niemi24s

Conductor
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,233
The Indian picture shows more tracks together than we can see any where in the USA
I wonder if the fact that we have about 38 times more cars (on a per capita basis) than in India... List of countries by vehicles per capita - Wikipedia ... could possibly have something to do with it?

Perhaps the solution is to reduce the number of cars on the roads in the USA by draconian taxation so we could enjoy the resulting benefits of rail travel travel like the folks here: The tough task of reviving India's decaying railways
 
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Devil's Advocate

Conductor
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,352
I wonder if the fact that we have about 38 times more cars (on a per capita basis) than in India... List of countries by vehicles per capita - Wikipedia ... could possibly have something to do with it?
Well of course that explains it. I mean the cars got here first and then the trains showed up and people were like why would we rip up perfectly good roads to put tracks down that's just stupid. Oh, wait.

TrueHistoryHere.png
 
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crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,473
For whatever reason, this country has chosen to embrace personal vehicles and air travel. The amount of short-range flights that operate in this country is pretty odd, imho.

While flights will always win for travel time on long distance, cross country trips. They really don’t make sense for short hops that should be traveled by rail or efficient inter-city bus.

When you spend more time pushing back and getting to the runway than your actual travel time, it’s just PLANE (pun intended) silly!
 

20th Century Rider

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
318
I wonder if the fact that we have about 38 times more cars (on a per capita basis) than in India... List of countries by vehicles per capita - Wikipedia ... could possibly have something to do with it?
Yes... for sure India has greater population density; however, the megalopolis areas in the USA would certainly warrant corridor rapid transit... not only in the Washington to Boston east, but in the Detroit - Chicago - St. Louis corridor... which has high speed rail underway but due to funding problems doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Also high speed is planned in FLA as well as Texas; and the San Francisco - LA - San Diego - Las Vegas areas. Difference is the lack of priority here and how slow the progress has been... pushing rail development well behind that of other countries.
 

20th Century Rider

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
318
Well of course that explains it. I mean the cars got here first and then the trains showed up and people were like why would we rip up perfectly good roads to put tracks down that's just stupid. Oh, wait.

View attachment 17724
What a sad sight! All those absolutely gorgeous trolley cars junked!?!?!? So... after we ripped up the rails and made them into trails and roads... we realize that there is a connection between global warming and the smog coming out of the car exhaust. If you look at the above picture, all those 36 rail cars with the potential of carrying 1000 passengers had less exhaust than one car carrying one person. Hindsight now, but let's rewind. Let's rebuild. And it's happening in cities everywhere!
 

niemi24s

Conductor
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,233
. . .all those 36 rail cars with the potential of carrying 1000 passengers had less exhaust than one car carrying one person.
Of course they had less exhaust - being electric, they had NO exhaust. Of course the power plant that provided their electricity was probably coal-fired. And we all know old coal-fired power plants had virtually no exhaust. Don't we? Sure we do! For I have decreed that to be the truth!!!
 

20th Century Rider

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
318
Of course they had less exhaust - being electric, they had NO exhaust. Of course the power plant that provided their electricity was probably coal-fired. And we all know old coal-fired power plants had virtually no exhaust. Don't we? Sure we do! For I have decreed that to be the truth!!!
... and dams harnessing power from falling water not requiring coal
 

cocojacoby

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 13, 2014
Messages
347
The attitude thing has been going on for years. I often went into a grumpy atmosphere dining car and wondered why Amtrak employees hated their job so much.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
1,924
The attitude thing has been going on for years. I often went into a grumpy atmosphere dining car and wondered why Amtrak employees hated their job so much.
Where are these "grumpy atmosphere" dining cars? I've been riding long distance trains once or twice a year for the past 20 years, and I've never had an experience with rude staff, and when the service hasn't been as efficient as it could be, that's more of an issue of the way the operation seems to be managed, not because the workers appear to be lazy or have "bad attitude."
 

jloewen

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
64
Two of the common sources of poor customer experiences mentioned in this thread are the frequency of the food items being sold out early, and the ability of an Amtrak employee with a "difficult" personality to put a damper on a trip. Both of these often result in vouchers being given to customers as compensation for Amtrak not meeting basic expectations, and many of the commenters point out Amtrak's limited budget. I recognize that Amtrak has plenty of wonderful employees, but I can't think of any other business that wastes so much money due to what seem to be poor inventory management and the almost-expected poor attitudes of so many customer-facing employees. The grumpy employees must also have a huge morale impact on the numerous friendly employees. Just imagine how much Amtrak could save financially in terms of revenue lost via vouchers, and in terms of revenue gained via repeat customers, by simply planning ahead for a better supply of meal items and finding a way to improve employee attitudes. Maybe I'm oversimplifying these issues or their solutions, though.
You are exactly right. There should be no room for employees who are OK with being rude to customers.
 

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,092
Imagine you work for Amtrak. Positions are being cut left and right. There is a high likelihood the long-distance network will not be here a year from now, and if it is there will be much fewer positions to fill. How positive would your employee attitude be?
The complaint is justified. But taking it out on the customer is the opposite of what one should do. It's the customer who can help by writing to Amtrak. Instead of getting the union to better publicize the plight of employees, those that take it out on their potential supporters are just pushing their jobs over the cliff if people just get so disgusted, they stop taking the train.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,473
Where are these "grumpy atmosphere" dining cars? I've been riding long distance trains once or twice a year for the past 20 years, and I've never had an experience with rude staff, and when the service hasn't been as efficient as it could be, that's more of an issue of the way the operation seems to be managed, not because the workers appear to be lazy or have "bad attitude."
With odds like that I’d buy a lottery ticket if I were you!

There are wonderful Amtrak dining car employees out there. But there are some truly bad ones too.
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
7,851
I’ve gotten vouchers for dining car complaints regarding staff behavior.
Now that truly surprises me...I can understand getting them for being inconvenienced by a documented very late arrival...but due to perceived rudeness? That is a subjective opinion, that unless verified somehow with a video, or witness testimony, cannot be documented. I am not disputing that employees have indeed been rude, just surprised that a complaint proves sufficient grounds for being compensated...
 

cocojacoby

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 13, 2014
Messages
347
Where are these "grumpy atmosphere" dining cars? I've been riding long distance trains once or twice a year for the past 20 years, and I've never had an experience with rude staff, and when the service hasn't been as efficient as it could be, that's more of an issue of the way the operation seems to be managed, not because the workers appear to be lazy or have "bad attitude."
Silver Service mostly. They make you feel as you enter the car like you are invading their space. The attitude is there. And don't get me started on how they take up two tables for all of their setups and personal stuff.

One trip to Tampa on the Star we went into the dining car around noon. We were due in around 12:45 I believe. The crew was all sitting around chatting and told us they wouldn't be opening until after Tampa! What?

We went back to our room and the attendant asked us why we were back so fast so we told her what happened. She said you go back there and tell them that you are entitled to your lunch and serve you. We did. They reluctantly cooked us up two burgers. We were the only passengers in the car. The attitude is bad, period.
 
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