Rude Employees

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Devil's Advocate

‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
12,971
Location
EOTL
I think it is pretty humorous to see people come to a public forum like this to gripe about people complaining in a larger public forum. People have no problem going on and on about grievances here on this site (even when they have no facts to back them up) because they know they have an audience, and certainly would continue to do it if they had the power to go on stage or on TV and continue complaining.
Um, I'm not griping about Kevin Smith's complaining. That's his right and it's certainly possible he was treated extremely poorly for no reason. I just don't think his story is the big black eye that other folks may see it as. If Amamba herself had a bad experience I'd take it a lot more seriously than a Kevin Smith podcast. But maybe that's just me. In any case I don't want Mr. Smith to be silenced or anything. If he's had a series of really nasty experiences with a specific carrier then by all means get the word out. Although I may not be his biggest fan I've watched his movies and specials from time to time and if I'm in the right frame of mind I can enjoy them as much as anyone.
 

Tumbleweed

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 2, 2010
Messages
929
Location
Sunny North Dakota
I really think that AMTRAK should periodically utilize "Mystery Shoppers" (if they don't already) and have them complete a report on each employee anonymously.....sneaky, I know, but very effective documentation. And I wish to be the first to volunteer if it involves free travel.....
 

Big Iron

Conductor
Joined
Nov 13, 2009
Messages
1,030
Location
Virginia
I'm a member of the Teamsters Union and I drive for a large Union Package delivery company....and for 3 years the non-union employee of my competition nickname was "Mean Dean" cuz the non-union guy was the most grumpy, mad and rude delivery guy anybody on my delivery route had ever seen. He was very easy to sell our services against his cuz he was such a jerk. So, please throw out the union thing because I get compliments called in on me for the service and attitude I bring to my customers. "Mean Dean" is now somewhere else (he quit, he didn't get fired) making life miserable for whomever he's working for and he's probably not carrying a union card. :giggle:
The folks that drive those big brown vans are some of the nicest people I've ever met. It is evident to me that they enjoy what they do. Even in the very short customer interactions they make you feel like they appreciate your business.
 

Donctor

Conductor
Joined
Jul 11, 2009
Messages
1,120
Location
CHI
My most recent LD trip introduced me to the best dining car crew I've ever encountered (including an LSA who should be given a crown), one of the best conductors I've ever encountered (she voluntarily helped a little bit in the diner when not otherwise occupied), and one of the best SCA's I've ever had. I also met the second-worst café attendant and worst coach attendant I've ever seen. Every experience is mixed.

Yes, the LSA might make a decent wage (she has a ranch-type property in Virginia), yes her servers may get to provide service in a real diner with real dishes again, yes the cooks may know and like the route. However, to work as a true team, to be attentive and friendly, to have food cooked precisely to order, and to stagger seatings out of accordance with the typical SDS-style arrangement—this takes dedication and effort miles above what almost anybody else seems to be putting in.

Yes, the coach attendant may have been given an additional coach full of people CHI-PGH without advance warning, but that does not justify her hiding at the head of the train to avoid doing her job, nor does it justify her staunch refusal to let passengers move cars when the one occupied by said passengers seemed to lose A/C and started to smell like feces. Yes, the café attendant may have been exhausted by customer load, but that by no means justified his sleeping in a booth in the middle of a manageable shift, or his need to be texting while passengers were trying to pay.

Some employees are great. Some are s**t. Maybe that the employees who work first class have an actual product to sell has something to do with it. Maybe it's because some have already dealt with bidding and now have regular assignments. Maybe it's because some employees have to deal with more stops (particularly for coach) than others (for sleeper). Maybe it's because it's pretty difficult for employees to take their jobs seriously when they are given little reason to take their jobs seriously. Maybe it's because certain crew bases are better than others (*cough* Chicago *cough*). Maybe it's because Thor or Joseph Smith or Almighty Rain God or Jesus or Zeus or Steve Jobs directed the fates in favor of a particular employee.

The only consistent factor seems to be the employee him- or herself. If the employee in question looks at each passenger as a "friend I have not met," it is likely that he or she will receive compliments or commendations.
 
Joined
Aug 3, 2011
Messages
3
Being old enough to remember when Amtrak began, and having ridden both long-distance and corridor trains over the years, it is the inconsistency of Amtrak's service that is the most frustrating to me. You could have a great SCA but the diner crew is poor. The conductor could be helpful and friendly, but the LSA in the cafe car doesn't even crack a smile. Some stops are announced while others are not. This inconsistency, I believe, does relate to the situation Amtrak inherited from the private railroads in 1971. It would be interesting to go back and read Trains articles during Amtrak's first years to get a good idea of what Amtrak had to work with. ( The famous Trains editor David P. Morgan had some excellent travel articles during this time period. I wish I could remember when these were, but I do not. ) While management has tried to improve the consistency of customer service, they have not been totally successful.

Bottom line is, Amtrak has improved greatly in many areas over the years and overall customer service is better, but it is not where it could or should be. I believe that the happier Amtrak's customers are the more they will support the system when it comes under the almost annual attacks from its political enemies. Compared to Disney or some of the better cruise lines Amtrak does need to improve. It can be frustrating...writing specific letters to Amtrak management is the best way to deal with the situation. Whether it does any good I don't know, but it does provide some feedback to Amtrak management.
 

Everydaymatters

Engineer
Joined
May 15, 2006
Messages
3,304
Location
Just North of Normal, Illinois
"or his need to be texting while passengers were trying to pay."

On board employees are allowed to text??? I read somewhere a while back that engineers were not allowed to use cell phones. Doesn't that policy extend to other on board crew as well?
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2008
Messages
3,889
Location
Florida
I think I read that after the California commuter rail accident in which the engineer was

on his cell phone, they have been banned by the engineers on most trains.

Betty, what are you doing being up at 4:42am??
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2008
Messages
3,889
Location
Florida
I think I read that after the California commuter rail accident in which the engineer was

on his cell phone, they have been banned by the engineers on most trains.

Betty, what are you doing being up at 4:42am??
Yeah, I know, it's early a.m. Having eye surgery today and it has me kind of hyper.
Betty, I hope all goes well for your eye surgery. Do take it easy in your recovery.

Let us know how things went for you when you are able. Good Luck!!
 

jis

Chief Dispatcher
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
30,472
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
So the LSA is allowed to be texting his or her boyfriend/girlfriend instead of helping a overwhelmed dining car staff?
As far as FRA is concerned that is fine. As far as Amtrak is concerned it should not be fine. But there is no safety issue involved so FRA is OK with it.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

had8ley

Engineer
Joined
Feb 27, 2006
Messages
4,090
Location
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
I think I read that after the California commuter rail accident in which the engineer was

on his cell phone, they have been banned by the engineers on most trains.

Betty, what are you doing being up at 4:42am??
Yeah, I know, it's early a.m. Having eye surgery today and it has me kind of hyper.
You ought to know Betty bugles her chickens and turkeys up before first light. Hope all went well my friend. :) :) :)
 
Joined
Apr 25, 2012
Messages
1
With so many excellent people looking for work it's a shame that jerks with poor people skills have jobs in service industries! Unions have no choice but to represent any member brought up on disciplinary charges, but Management is to blame, they do not document, follow procedures etc! Basically as others have said ,they sit in their offices collecting the big bucks and are Shocked! Shocked! when a bad apple causes problems!

We can all do our part to help in this area by reporting such unacceptable behaviour by employees to management! If you get the brush off by say the Store Manager, write/call Customer Relations and cc the CEO in his palacial offices in Corporate Headquarters! (In Amtraks case thats Joe Boardman, 60 Mass, Washington, D.C.)

Im really surprised that someone who was dismissed for Cause is still drawing unemployment three years later?? :eek: Most states have procedures for challenging inelgible ex-employees, and I thought Congress had cut off UE extension after 2 years! If its California that might explain it, but most places they wouldnt have gotten a Dime if they were fired for cause! Shouldnt it be that way?? :help:
I know for a fact most Railroad Companies like: Amtrak, Long Island Railroad, New JerseyTransit, Metro North and I’m sure MTA - the higher ups such as: Supervisors and Managers get away withmurder. I’ve seen and heard customersspeak to them any kind of way and the Supervisors and Managers talk right backto them in the same manner. You’re notsuppose to speak back to the customers the same way they speak to you, becausethe “Customer Is Always Right”, yeah right. When a customer wants to complainabout the Supervisor or Manager nothing gets done to them. They don’t get disciplineor put out of service, they are still there to this day. You know why, becausethey all stick together, unless you’re a supervisor or manager that’s notliked. I was told that people makecomplaints about them all the time and it get’s swept under the rug, like itnever happened. It’s so unfair how thehigher ups never get fired for their wrong doings on how rude they can be when theyspeak back to the customers. I couldmention some names, but I will not go there. It’s really messed up though...
 
Last edited by a moderator:

amtrakwolverine

Engineer
Joined
Mar 14, 2008
Messages
4,002
Location
Warren MI
So the LSA is allowed to be texting his or her boyfriend/girlfriend instead of helping a overwhelmed dining car staff?
As far as FRA is concerned that is fine. As far as Amtrak is concerned it should not be fine. But there is no safety issue involved so FRA is OK with it.
Ok or not I should not have to wait for a hour only to have my food served cold cause they were short handed and the cook had to serve the food also cause the LSA was too busy texting lubby dubby with his or her boyfriend girlfriend. Yet nothing gets done about it. There needs to be more supervisors on the trains then there are and someone needs to make sure the supervisors do there jobs and just hid a room all day never to be seen. This is why there are so many bad employees. They know they are not being watched and can get away with it.
 

kdeschner

Train Attendant
Joined
May 1, 2015
Messages
43
Hello All,
I could use some assistance. I have an issue I feel that lies beyond the normal customer service phone line. I am currently on the eastbound Cardinal (8/25). The crew is TERRIBLE. Worst crew in my extensive 100,000+ miles of train travel. The only good crew member is the view liner attendant. I didn’t get my full meal I ordered, and tried to resolve it. No luck. I was sitting in the lounge, and was kicked out as they were closed. This shouldn’t be the case as on the website it show the flex dining lounges open 24/7. The timetable shows flex dining. I don’t really care if this isn’t the case on “this train”. Quite frankly, they advertised it as such, and should deliver. I asked one of the attendants if there was any place we could finish up a card game out of their way, and was rudely asked if I didn’t hear well, and that I was told the lounge was closing soon. I asked about the flex dining lounge being open, and I was to give an example. I was then told the Lakeshore Limited was a double decker train, and therefore was different. Once I picked my jaw off the floor from a crew that goes in to NYP, and therefore should know the clearance restrictions saying this, I decided to reach out. This trip has been really rough. I purchased 2 rooms for my group, and the rooms are so worn that one of the doors doesn’t even lock. Also, as of when did they close the long distance lounge seating at night? I know when arriving/ departing terminus points they do, but this is new for me.
Thanks for any help!
 

flitcraft

Conductor
Joined
Jan 10, 2018
Messages
1,159
We can't help you--only Amtrak customer relations can. We aren't affiliated with or part of Amtrak. We are just folks who use and value trains, and thus not anyone who has the ability to rectify a bad customer service situation. I urge you to contact customer relations and make your bad experience known. Let us know what response you get.
 

brianpmcdonnell17

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2016
Messages
1,537
Location
Chicago, Illinois
Regarding the lounge seating closing at night, that has been my experience every trip I have taken on the Cardinal specifically as far back as 2017. Due to limited seating, I have also been told that only customers making purchases can sit in the lounge on the LSL during my past few trips, as well as on the Capitol Limited and Texas Eagle since they lost their SSL. However, with the exception of early on in the pandemic, I have never had issues staying in the lounge overnight on the trains with SSLs, the Florida trains, or the Crescent.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cal

pennyk

50 year Amtrak Rider
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
12,204
Location
Orlando, FL
Hello All,
I could use some assistance. I have an issue I feel that lies beyond the normal customer service phone line. I am currently on the eastbound Cardinal (8/25). The crew is TERRIBLE. Worst crew in my extensive 100,000+ miles of train travel. The only good crew member is the view liner attendant. I didn’t get my full meal I ordered, and tried to resolve it. No luck. I was sitting in the lounge, and was kicked out as they were closed. This shouldn’t be the case as on the website it show the flex dining lounges open 24/7. The timetable shows flex dining. I don’t really care if this isn’t the case on “this train”. Quite frankly, they advertised it as such, and should deliver. I asked one of the attendants if there was any place we could finish up a card game out of their way, and was rudely asked if I didn’t hear well, and that I was told the lounge was closing soon. I asked about the flex dining lounge being open, and I was to give an example. I was then told the Lakeshore Limited was a double decker train, and therefore was different. Once I picked my jaw off the floor from a crew that goes in to NYP, and therefore should know the clearance restrictions saying this, I decided to reach out. This trip has been really rough. I purchased 2 rooms for my group, and the rooms are so worn that one of the doors doesn’t even lock. Also, as of when did they close the long distance lounge seating at night? I know when arriving/ departing terminus points they do, but this is new for me.
Thanks for any help!
I had very similar issues on the Cardinal in October. I routinely travel on the Silvers and was very surprised and disappointed to see such a big difference between the Silvers and the Cardinal.
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2014
Messages
3,166
A second class train with second class support breeds low morale which leads to even worse service. None of this is excusable.
I am wondering what has gone wrong with the Cardinal.

I haven’t been on the Cardinal for several years, but before that I had taken it to ALX a few times (in a roomette, when the short-distance prices for roomettes were more reasonable) and also to/from the Portland Gathering (I forget the year) in a roomette.

On all those trips, the crew — SCA and dining car staff— was good to outstanding. Professional, friendly, and obviously loved their train and enjoyed working together.

The crew on the way back from Chicago had been on a delayed train (freight derailment, I think), had to get everything ready for the way back, and was our crew on barely any sleep. They helped each other out and were pleasant and efficient. Never complained to the passengers and did not shirk any of their work.

One reason I used to choose the Cardinal over the NER for the shorter trips was the crew. It was a second-class train with second-class support then, too—but the crew was wonderful. What on earth happened? Did most of them retire? Or change to different trains?
 
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Messages
6,335
Location
Chicago
I suspect the better ones gained seniority and then bid on more desirable jobs. I’ve had some good crews. Then some not do good ones. I’m sure with the COVID layoffs a Lot of good employees were released. I knew one personally and when it happened to her she had a pretty harsh, emotional post about forgetting Amtrak. They were lucky to get her back.
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Messages
795
Location
Brownsburg IN
The laziest OBS employee I’ve ever seen in my life works the Cardinal - which is my home train. He’s probably worked at least half of a dozen of my trips over the years, and I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen him standing.

There are some really good conductors / assistant conductors - but even with them they mostly treat the sleeper end of the Lounge car as a crew lounge.
 

Skylark

Train Attendant
Joined
May 1, 2012
Messages
32
Location
Chicago
Customer relations is kind of a nasty cycle nowadays. It's easy for both sides to come in expecting the worse and it just breeds hostility from there. Companies bending over backwards to "satisfy" customers who are clearly out of line has created monsters - akin to giving in and buying the toy a toddler having a tantrum was crying about.

That being said "tantrum" is the key word there - a customer politely requesting services they paid for is not a tantrum. Or asserting themselves if they didn't receive something/the wrong thing etc. Asking a question is no reason to be barked at, nor is accidentally sitting in the wrong seat/car and being willing to move to the correct one.

Certainly, customer relations can feel a bit like walking though a minefield from both sides.
I just try to be as cordial as possible - say "please" and "thank you," try to clearly explain my needs, etc. My Amtrak service has definitely been hit and miss for the 10 years or so I've traveling. Probably about 50/50 on any given trip. I've never gotten into an altercation with anyone, that's not my way, just certainly experienced lack of service despite approaching things politely. While I believe being polite to others is key, I still paid (a lot) for a service and I expect it. There are definitely attitude issues going on within Amtrak. Inattentiveness also. I'd definitely travel Amtrak more often if I had better than 50/50 odds.
 

uncleboots

Train Attendant
Joined
Apr 27, 2009
Messages
32
I really think that AMTRAK should periodically utilize "Mystery Shoppers" (if they don't already) and have them complete a report on each employee anonymously.....sneaky, I know, but very effective documentation. And I wish to be the first to volunteer if it involves free travel.....
I was asked once by the Dining Car Stewart if I was an Amtrak Spy, I just laughed.
 
Top