Service Reductions effective October 1

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dogbert617

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 19, 2016
Messages
829
This article seems to suggest that but it's not really spelled out. I hope it's not going to happen.
I'd also guess just like others if Texas Eagle was reduced to 3 days a week service, that it'd be for on the 3 days that #421 and #422(the through Texas Eagle cars added and detached from Sunset Limited in San Antonio) run. I really hope this doesn't occur for October 2021, since Amtrak long distance riders already have suffered enough, from all the Anderson cuts of recent years. I.e. Pacific Parlour cars retired on Coast Starlight, full dining car service ended on most eastern long distance routes, continued removal of station agents and amenities(checked baggage, such as in Greenville, SC) from more stations, etc.

Time for me to write my Congressman and Senators, to see what sort of response I get from them. I suspect they'd probably be very concerned Amtrak is trying to reduce this much service, but we'll see what sort of response I get. I hope it isn't an indifferent response where the way it's worded that they more talk about things over than Amtrak, such as COVID in the letter someone wrote to Sen. Kamala Harris in California.
 

toddinde

Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 23, 2015
Messages
108
Don't get discouraged from writing to or calling your congressperson just because some people aren't getting responsive answers to their emails, letters, etc.

Firstly, just because some congresspeople are politically inclined against Amtrak or apathetic about it, and thus don't respond at all or give a vague and unresponsive reply, doesn't mean they all are. One of my senators has sent a responsive email to pretty much every email I've sent regarding Amtrak ... and most of the other issues I've written him about.

More importantly, I was told repeatedly by a non-profit lobbyist* that even legislators who don't personally care about a particular issue and don't send a responsive answer do keep track of the sheer number messages they get on an issue, assigning some staffer to keep a tally of them. If they get enough, they presume for each constituent who bothers to write or call there must be more constituents who agree but don't bother. The lobbyist called it the cockroach theory: for each one you see, there must be hundreds you don't.

*Working for non-profits, he had to work the glad-hand and shoe-leather at the state capitol when the assembly was in session. No $ for bribes. ;)
They most certainly do care and respond to letters and phone calls. But if you aren’t a member of Rail Passenger Association and, as importantly, your statewide rail passenger advocacy, your missing a very important advocacy component. Work locally with mayors, city councils and county boards. Get them to pass resolutions. That’s important because local elected officials wield a lot of power, and state and federal legislators listen to them. All politics is local.
 

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,110
On every Viewliner trip of the past couple of years, the SCA gave me my threadbare blue blankets in their plastic wrapping, leaving me to remake the beds myself. But the price for the so-called "first class" sleeper experience still starts at $300 a night for a roomette or $550 or better for a bedroom. ...The end of dining service was the last straw for me and left me staying home a lot more often.
That's when I save a few bucks by eliminating the tipping. On our last round trip to NYC, no tip to either useless "server" and little to the SCAs for lack of help.
On a following trip from ABQ, on the CONO from Chicago, the server was wonderful, actually providing virtually full service of the garbage meals. She got a BIG tip. On the Crescent from NOL, worthless SCA and "server" meant no tips.
The food quality is independent of the service. I tip the server well when service is provided. No service, whether by direction of management or individual decision means no tipping (I hate those "tip boxes" for someone taking your order and handing you a package) and assisting us in boarding, disembarking and providing service to he room along with a friendly, helpful attitude all affect tip for SCA and the reduction of it to zero sometimes when those things are lacking.
 

Ferroequinologist

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
57
That's when I save a few bucks by eliminating the tipping. On our last round trip to NYC, no tip to either useless "server" and little to the SCAs for lack of help.
On a following trip from ABQ, on the CONO from Chicago, the server was wonderful, actually providing virtually full service of the garbage meals. She got a BIG tip. On the Crescent from NOL, worthless SCA and "server" meant no tips.
The food quality is independent of the service. I tip the server well when service is provided. No service, whether by direction of management or individual decision means no tipping (I hate those "tip boxes" for someone taking your order and handing you a package) and assisting us in boarding, disembarking and providing service to he room along with a friendly, helpful attitude all affect tip for SCA and the reduction of it to zero sometimes when those things are lacking.
What's an appropriate tip for average service in a sleeping car for one night and two night trips?
Also curious: has any sleeping car attendant refused to bring meals to your room? And if they do, do you tip each time?
 

cocojacoby

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 13, 2014
Messages
347
Yeah, that crazy practice of leaving an unwrapped blanket in a plastic bag on your bed really upsets me too. Who the hell thought that one up?

As far as tips, in a restaurant servers are paid a few bucks an hour and make the bulk of their income from tips. Amtrak employees make a good pay and aren't in the same situation. No one expects you to tip on an airplane.

Sleeper attendant gets $5 a night usually and traditional dining car servers usually got $2/$3/$5 for the different meals, but lately the food "service" is not much more than McDonald's and you don't tip there do you?

Now I would rather tip and receive traditional dining car service but it's gone right now.
 
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MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
1,945
What's an appropriate tip for average service in a sleeping car for one night and two night trips?
Also curious: has any sleeping car attendant refused to bring meals to your room? And if they do, do you tip each time?
Because the service people at Amtrak make a living wage, I don't tip the full 15% (or 18% if adding the tip to a credit card) that I would for even mediocre service by someone on tipped minimum wage who needs the money just to get by. For full-service dining or if the flex dining LSA attempts to provide table service (which I did get on the Cardinal), I'll tip $5 for dinner and $2 for breakfast and lunch. For the cafe car, I generally don't tip, though I might throw in 50 cents or $1 for exceptional service. Flex dining with no table service is treated like the cafe car. The Acela First Class attendant gets $2. The sleeping car attendant gets $5 a night, Acela FC and SCA tip is handed out at the end of a trip. I tip redcaps $5. Best $5 you can ever spend if you have to board at New York Penn Station. I would tip more for exceptional service, but while I've always had good service, I've never had anything so exceptional it would deserve a higher tip (except a few times in the Northeast Regional cafe car). Now, maybe if I were billionaire, I'd be more generous. I've also never had service so bad that I would stiff the service person either.

The payment of a tip is not just the money, but it's the way, in our culture, that we show some appreciation and acknowledgement for the people who perform what are generally considered servile, menial tasks. Some of this reflects the history of our country, where many of these tasks were often done by slaves or the descendants of the freed slaves. Having to provide service to another person is, in some ways, a rather humiliating way to have to make a living, whether it's a unionized job or not. Thus, I personally would like to show some appreciation for the working stiffs who earn their living this way. We can't all be rich entrepreneurs, hotshot professionals with fancy college degrees or yeoman farmers or independent tradespeople, some of us have to do the less pleasant jobs. That''s why, as far as I'm concerned, even mediocre service is better than no service at all, and I'm willing to tip for it.
 
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crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,497
I usually tip $10 a night and $2-5 per meal in the diner. My only LD trip since the “contemporary dining” I tipped my SCA $20 since she took my orders, brought me dinner, and brought me a couple of beverages. I didn’t tip the LSA for handing me a yogurt.
 

DryCreek

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 15, 2015
Messages
286
If the Sunset keeps its present days the Eagle will probably match those days otherwise we will know that Amtrak is trying to kill LD service.
I wonder how bad this will disrupt the Heartland Flyer traffic. While not all of its ridership is for connecting to the TE, I would bet that maybe a third of it could be?
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
1,945
How much do you tip a sleeping car attendant for delivering meals to your room?
I've never eaten in my room. I suppose if I did, I would tip the SCA the amount I'd tip the waiter in the dining car. I'd do this even for a flex meal. I'd just include the extra tips in the total amount I give at the end of the trip.
 

OBS

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
1,570
Yeah, that crazy practice of leaving an unwrapped blanket in a plastic bag on your bed really upsets me too. Who the hell thought that one up?

As far as tips, in a restaurant servers are paid a few bucks an hour and make the bulk of their income from tips. Amtrak employees make a good pay and aren't in the same situation. No one expects you to tip on an airplane.

Sleeper attendant gets $5 a night usually and traditional dining car servers usually got $2/$3/$5 for the different meals, but lately the food "service" is not much more than McDonald's and you don't tip there do you?

Now I would rather tip and receive traditional dining car service but it's gone right now.
The blanket procedure was established by corporate several years ago to show/assure the traveler they were getting a freshly washed blanket.
 

cocojacoby

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 13, 2014
Messages
347
The blanket procedure was established by corporate several years ago to show/assure the traveler they were getting a freshly washed blanket.
I know. Yet they still expect me to put my face on a unwrapped pillow they throw on a seat where everyone before me has put their dirty feet and butts!
 

20th Century Rider

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
358
We're all struggling with service levels... when the sleeping car is empty and the attendant is playing games on the computer; doesn't want to be disturbed, doesn't want to make the coffee, doesn't want to clean the upstairs restroom... I've experienced that. I've also had attendants who are always there to help... even keeping a bowl of candy fully stocked along with magazines by the coffee area. So what should our expectations be? Isn't it reasonable to expect the attendant to care with some degree of enthusiasm??? 😡
 

OBS

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
1,570
We're all struggling with service levels... when the sleeping car is empty and the attendant is playing games on the computer; doesn't want to be disturbed, doesn't want to make the coffee, doesn't want to clean the upstairs restroom... I've experienced that. I've also had attendants who are always there to help... even keeping a bowl of candy fully stocked along with magazines by the coffee area. So what should our expectations be? Isn't it reasonable to expect the attendant to care with some degree of enthusiasm??? 😡
Absolutely...and to help get there, report, report, report the underperforming attendants to Amtrak so they can document and build disciplinary files against the poor performers.
 

tim49424

Conductor
Joined
Dec 20, 2010
Messages
2,295
Per Amtrak's website, the Pere Marquette is scheduled to return on Monday, June 29 (eastbound only). Full service to start back up a week from today (6/30)!
 
Joined
Jun 23, 2020
Messages
2
If these changes go into effect, I wonder if extra state supported trains will be added where they overlap on days the long distance trains don't run to fill the gaps in service.
 
Joined
Mar 10, 2016
Messages
945
If these changes go into effect, I wonder if extra state supported trains will be added where they overlap on days the long distance trains don't run to fill the gaps in service.
They certainly could, however, state budgets are going to be very stressed over the next couple of years, so they may be very careful and stingy. I think it's going to be to the point of education or trains or healthcare or....
 

Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
1,841
Also report staff who ARE doing their jobs well. They appreciate it, and it makes clearer to management that the problem isn't with EVERY staff member.
I want to emphasize how important this is. I wrote a snail mail letter to Customer Relations after my January Auto Train with complimentary comments about my SCA and the SA in the Lounge Car. I had names as well as my date of travel so that the individuals could be easily identified by Amtrak. I received a very nice thank you response from Amtrak and assured me that their Supervisors would be notified and asked to give them proper recognition.
 

20th Century Rider

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
358
Also report staff who ARE doing their jobs well. They appreciate it, and it makes clearer to management that the problem isn't with EVERY staff member.
Absolutely! I make it a point to write a complimentary letter and provide a good tip to the service personnel who are doing their jobs well. This ENCOURAGES the kind of service we want to see! :)
 
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