One of my daughters just said (she will not be taking Amtrak for a long time)

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McLeansvilleAppFan

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"I doubt any of us will be taking Amtrak for a long time." The us referred to her two sisters and mom, and she clarified it did not include me.

Her sister is sitting at Washington Union Station with a unusable engine waiting for a new engine without power which means no air conditioning and only the power of her laptop to do some work. She took a NE Regional form Richmond to DC to see a friend for the weekend and the return trip is NOT going good.
 

McLeansvilleAppFan

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Just curious ... would she feel the same way about flying if she had flown and her flight got cancelled or the plane had mechanical problems? - or, about driving if she had driven and her car broke down?
Good question. My wife and now both younger twin daughters have had some recent bad trips on Amtrak, which is why the comment was made by the one at home.

Note the comment about me not being deterred from Amtrak. I might be taking a trip to Raleigh in a few days to see the oldest daughter, and I might just take Amtrak.
 
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flitcraft

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I fly a great deal, and have had my share of nightmare flights and cancellations, but it doesn't mean I won't fly again. I got stymied by an accident on !-17 that delayed my getting back to Phoenix by almost 12 hours, but it doesn't mean I'll never travel on the interstates again. I've been bustituted and delayed on Amtrak, and subjected to flex meals, but it doesn't mean I'll never travel by Amtrak again.

All means of transportation can fail...
 

Rasputin

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I wonder if anyone has done a statistical study on the rate of failure of Amtrak services compared to that of other transportation companies and other forms of transportation. I will vote for Prof. Arnold Barnett of MIT to undertake this project.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Does WAS lack switchers and power connections? I suffered a series of delayed and cancelled flights on American and was even bumped back into coach on paid First Class tickets. AA kept blaming the weather despite numerous industry articles pointing to layoffs and low pay as the cause. After flying became an ordeal I started driving to avoid the DFW cluster fork. Hopefully my next trip will go smoother.
 

Rasputin

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Please excuse my naivete but what is the range of available public transportation services between DC and Richmond besides Amtrak? These cities are relatively close. I assume there must be bus services. Is there much commercial airline service? And how do the costs compare? Thanks.
 

McLeansvilleAppFan

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Please excuse my naivete but what is the range of available public transportation services between DC and Richmond besides Amtrak? These cities are relatively close. I assume there must be bus services. Is there much commercial airline service? And how do the costs compare? Thanks.
I have no idea of what is available myself, though it is a great question. My gut was telling me there was not a lot of flights from Richmond to DC, but there may be more than I realize. I never looked. I know the drive is about 2 hours according to Google maps, which always surprises me as I always think it is closer than that distance. I am in Greensboro and we are an hour from Raleigh and 90 minutes from Charlotte driving. I always feel like Richmond to DC is like 45 minutes. Obviously I am not driving in that part of the country very often as that is not reality.

In the case of my daughter, she is in grad school in Richomd and wanted to use the time there and back for some school work and her car is old and high mileage. I personally did not want her driving the hell that can be I-95 in that area. I am not sure what her other options were. Personally I would be OK with her taking Greyhound. I would not be as happy with her taking the non-union bus lines that likely travel in that area.
 

Bluejet

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The airlines aren’t any better lately. This comes from an airline pilot. I’ve never seen anything like this. Part of it is lack of staff, too slow a ramp up after vaccine distribution, and a significant part has been absolutely lousy weather in the northeast, which obviously effects us more then Amtrak. What’s Amtrak’s excuse? This isn’t me trying at all to be derogatory, my guess they too are experiencing staff shortages. I have no idea if locomotives and rolling stock have this same problem, but jets like to be run, run a lot, and if you keep using the equipment it generally runs pretty well. When you idle the equipment, especially for days weeks and months like we did with covid, the equipment takes a while to get back into reliable shape. We are seeing a lot of maintenance issues because these things sat in the desert for months and little gremlins are popping up. Nothing serious, but enough to take a significant portion of our fleet out daily for unscheduled repair, which is impacting operational reliability. It’s an extremely frustrating problem.
 

Dakota 400

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I have no idea if locomotives and rolling stock have this same problem, but jets like to be run, run a lot, and if you keep using the equipment it generally runs pretty well. When you idle the equipment, especially for days weeks and months like we did with covid, the equipment takes a while to get back into reliable shape
Your comment also applies to cruise ships. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines Borealis (the former Rotterdam VI of Holland America Lines) had/has mechanical issues on her second cruise since that Company re-started. Some of the guests are very upset.
 

flitcraft

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I have no idea of what is available myself, though it is a great question. My gut was telling me there was not a lot of flights from Richmond to DC, but there may be more than I realize. I never looked.
United has a direct flight for about 200 dollars; that's it except for connecting flights, which run closer to 400-500 and who in their right mind would spend hours on a connecting flight for that kind of money, anyway? So it seems like United is it--at least as far as I could see. I still think 200 dollars and all of the inconvenience of getting out to the airport and having to arrive early makes the train the clear winner here.
 

McLeansvilleAppFan

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United has a direct flight for about 200 dollars; that's it except for connecting flights, which run closer to 400-500 and who in their right mind would spend hours on a connecting flight for that kind of money, anyway? So it seems like United is it--at least as far as I could see. I still think 200 dollars and all of the inconvenience of getting out to the airport and having to arrive early makes the train the clear winner here.
My daughter's ticket was $80 round-trip, which seems reasonable for that route, especially if air is $200 (one way I assume from how you worded it.) I just checked Greyhound for a round-trip in a few weekends and it was coming in at at $75 or so on the cheap end, and taking 2 hr 25 min. Amtrak is very competitive here to say the least. If one includes wear and tear and not just gas on a car I guess we are looking at near the same price.

I am not sure if Megabus stops in Richmond but if it does it will be at a street corner. The drivers for Megabus are part of an independent union after being Teamsters for a few years, instead of ATU as is Greyhound. I am not sure about Megabus maintenance and such, and I am not sure how their wage rates compare to Greyhound. Megabus seems low for wages when I read a few articles from a few years ago trying to learn more about them.
 
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me_little_me

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I fly a great deal, and have had my share of nightmare flights and cancellations, but it doesn't mean I won't fly again. I got stymied by an accident on !-17 that delayed my getting back to Phoenix by almost 12 hours, but it doesn't mean I'll never travel on the interstates again. I've been bustituted and delayed on Amtrak, and subjected to flex meals, but it doesn't mean I'll never travel by Amtrak again.

All means of transportation can fail...
It's all in how well it is handled. I remember at a Marriott a few years ago when all their computers failed and the wait on line was 2 hours long. They came around with complimentary soft drinks and snacks and when you got up to the clerk, you were offered a fixed amount off whatever your room price was or a slew of points - your choice. On the other hand when airlines refuse to do anything to help - not even get extra agents to help people rebook other flights or when Amtrak does a poor job of bustitution, one always says "never again!" Even if one does go back, one bad experience cancels out 10 good ones and the one bad one can be mitigated or worsened by management or staff actions. Even now, I don't promote Amtrak to friends like I used to and my wife always throws in negatives when I do say something positive because she is even more disappointed than I. When I'm gone, I doubt she'd ever take an Amtrak trip again.
 

McLeansvilleAppFan

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Just talked with my daughter and she did mention the rudeness of the conductor when she asked him a question just before they arrived at Richmond-Main Street. And she had a complaint about the lead time of the announcement of what gate to use for train boarding at Washington Union Station.

I did ask her if she would take Amtrak again and she did say she would. So there is that. :)
 

Ziv

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Three of my last 12 flights have been delayed more than 2 hours, and the follow on delays for the next flight were a mess as well. All I can say is, if you are flying this summer, don't start your first flight after 11am. Afternoon thunder storms have been shutting down airports and the delays cascade into the evening.
Lots of flights being cancelled - equipment failures and crew shortages.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Flix Bus is running in the US now.

10 to 14 dollars for Washington DC to Richmond VA.
 

McLeansvilleAppFan

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Flix Bus is running in the US now.

10 to 14 dollars for Washington DC to Richmond VA.
They have a route out of my city of Greensboro. They seem to follow the route of the Crescent in the southeast when one looks at the stations. I am not one to be overly fond of the gig economy and have yet to use Uber or Lyft and this bus company is in that mode of operation from what I read. However it is an option for some.
 

Qapla

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Just curious - especially since I don't fly

I have read numerous comments about how rude some of the Amtrak employees are (I have not personally experienced that) so the question is, "are there never any rude employees encountered in flying?"
 

Just-Thinking-51

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They have a route out of my city of Greensboro. They seem to follow the route of the Crescent in the southeast when one looks at the stations. I am not one to be overly fond of the gig economy and have yet to use Uber or Lyft and this bus company is in that mode of operation from what I read. However it is an option for some.
Flix Bus, and Flix Train is a contract out service provider in Europe. Flix is a platform for booking only. They do have service levels required if you want to be there subcontractor. Not sure what they doing here in the USA, but the bus I saw the other day, was a newer double decker, in there the Flix Bus green color.
 
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