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railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
8,152
Location
South Florida
Maybe Amtrak should hire me to do OBS training that would be an interesting experiment.
If that is your wish, then I hope you can fulfill it....but...I think if you did take that job, you might be in for an 'awakening', in that not everyone shares your obvious strong work ethic. Trying to change a corporate culture so ingrained, like that of Amtrak, would be a daunting task, and I fear that you might find it very frustrating. I am not saying that Amtrak can't be improved...it certainly can. But it would be a lot more difficult, if not impossible, to bring it up to the highest level...
 

Seaboard92

Conductor
Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
3,637
Location
South Carolina
If that is your wish, then I hope you can fulfill it....but...I think if you did take that job, you might be in for an 'awakening', in that not everyone shares your obvious strong work ethic. Trying to change a corporate culture so ingrained, like that of Amtrak, would be a daunting task, and I fear that you might find it very frustrating. I am not saying that Amtrak can't be improved...it certainly can. But it would be a lot more difficult, if not impossible, to bring it up to the highest level...
Oh it definitely wouldn't be easy I could tell you that hands down. That being said to change the morale of the OBS you really need to improve the rest of the corporate culture. Like I've said there are plenty of issues that need to be addressed. One being the employees on the ground have little trust in management to help them, understand them, or care about their future. The way people like Mr. Stephen Gardner, and Richard Anderson cut jobs that can cause fear among the workforce which can manifest in bad customer service.
 

Nick Farr

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 25, 2019
Messages
264
Location
Michigan
We see that if we do everything to cater to our passengers because we know that without them we are all unemployed. I've never understood why a decent amount of Amtrak's employees don't understand that theory.
In the case of Private Cars, you're absolutely correct. You're there 100% for the experience, the customers are 100% paying for you to be there. (Even the car owner is ultimately a customer as well.)

On the other hand, Amtrak has several customers: Congress, States and finally passengers. The passengers the OBS see really have little influence on whether or not they continue to have jobs.

This isn't an excuse for inconsistent service or a lack of accountability, but it does begin to explain the issue
 

Palmetto

Conductor
Joined
May 12, 2014
Messages
2,033
Location
Miami
Your misty-eyed version of the Pullman's company attitude toward it employees ignores the fact that company thought of them as enslaved servants.

Agree totally, but that does not take away from the fact that there is no accountability anymore for some Amtrak personnel.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
2,140
Location
Baltimore. MD
Agree totally, but that does not take away from the fact that there is no accountability anymore for some Amtrak personnel.
Do any of us really know what happens when a passenger complains about really bad service? Like a sleeping car attendant not making up the rooms in a reasonably timely manner, disappearing, not getting passengers ready for their stop, refusing to handle luggage, etc.? I've been riding for years, and I've never had any really bad service like that. On the one hand, I may just be lucky, but it also suggests that they do weed out the bad ones, and the people who encounter them just happen to be unlucky enough to get them before they're weeded out.
 

Nick Farr

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 25, 2019
Messages
264
Location
Michigan
Do any of us really know what happens when a passenger complains about really bad service?
Somewhere between the CSR and HR the complaint is either deemed one worthy of merit or just discounted. If I get the name of the OBS wrong, my dates of travel are off or just seem super grumpy, and I'm the only one for that trip that cared, the complaint may never get much further past the call center.

If the complaint is somewhat egregious or easily verified (ADA non-compliance issue, half the passengers for the route call) and HR doesn't intervene, it'll get noted.

Action after that depends on seniority, and at that it's only after a series of repeated complaints. After that it's up to the management at the crew base. The complaints have to be substantiated and repeated. One-offs can be written off as a case of mistaken identity. How well the employee avails themselves of the grievance process with the union and the willingness of the Union to support grievances also affects things.

The only exception to this is if the conductor makes note of the complaint and escalates it, depending on severity. Those almost always hit HR or the crew base.
 
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