Why Such High Prices for The Silvers in February 2022?

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Qapla

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FWIW, high and low buckets for one adult from BOS to CHI are:
• Roomette, $402 - $748 (unchanged for many months)
• Bedroom, $693 - $1,405 (recently increased by less than 2%)

I guess that makes $748 outrageouser, huh?
Since the coach fare for BOS to CHI is $96, then paying $306 to $652 more for a roomette is, not only outrageous, it's ridiculous. There is not enough true 1st class amenities to warrant that much of an upgrade fee

Think about it, if airlines can make a profit when it costs them $8.15 per passenger and the tickets are so much less than the train, Amtrak should be able to make a much better profit since their passenger cost is only $1.92 - and they should be able to make that profit while cutting their prices in half!

Somehow - the numbers just don't add up
 

joelkfla

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Absolutely yes you can get a voucher at least if the fare goes down - FYI change fees do not apply to premium accommodations (like sleepers.) I have more than once gone to my local ticket office when fares have dropped since I booked (big example during the pandemic) and have gotten a voucher.
So ... if one is willing to live with the higher fares, it would appear that there's really no reason to wait to see if they drop before booking.
 

Exvalley

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This exists at KBOS for their $285 landing fee which applies to all aircraft including general aviation
Logan charges landing fees that are calculated per 1,000 pounds of max landing weight, so commercial aircraft most certainly pay more than your Cessna 172. That said, does Logan have a policy that discourages general aviation? Yes. Should Logan have a policy that discourages general aviation? Absolutely!


The fact of the matter is that airlines don't pay a comparable share of the "cost to exist" that Amtrak DOES pay.
Source? Everything I have seen suggests that Amtrak receives a MUCH higher subsidy per passenger mile than airlines do. In 2019 there were 6.4 billion passenger miles ridden on Amtrak. There was also $234 million in state subsidies and $1.8 billion in federal subsidies. So if we make it an even $2 billion, that equates to a subsidy of 31 cents per passenger mile. The highest I have seen reported for air travel is 6 cents per passenger mile, with most sources saying that it is closer to one cent. The discrepancy could be because the lower estimates back out subsidies that were funded by taxes and fees that were levied on airlines and passengers.

If you really believe that Amtrak should be treated just like the airlines, you may be shocked to see how much more your Amtrak ticket is going to cost you.
 
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Sidney

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I did manage to get a roomette for $448 from Bloomington Il to LA on the Texas Eagle next month. Three nights. Compare that to the $402 on the LS or $450 or so on the Silvers for a one night trip. The more train time,the better.
 

jis

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I did manage to get a roomette for $448 from Bloomington Il to LA on the Texas Eagle next month. Three nights. Compare that to the $402 on the LS or $450 or so on the Silvers for a one night trip. The more train time,the better.
Eastern trains have always been much more expensive in Sleeper than western trains, specially when considered on a per mile basis. That is nothing new. This is partly because the supply-demand situation is much worse in the eastern trains, especially for Bedrooms.
 

Sauve850

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So ... if one is willing to live with the higher fares, it would appear that there's really no reason to wait to see if they drop before booking.
In a word, yes. I have done this many times in the past. After booking several months in advance I continue to check fares and very often the price of the sleeper becomes lower. I call guest rewards to make the change.
 

railiner

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Eastern trains have always been much more expensive in Sleeper than western trains, specially when considered on a per mile basis. That is nothing new. This is partly because the supply-demand situation is much worse in the eastern trains, especially for Bedrooms.
Not just sleeper charges, but base rail fares... I recall that previous to Amtrak, the different regions of the country varied in their per-mile rates...
The so called "trunk lines" between the northeast and midwest had the highest per mile fares, the south and the west had lower fares. One example that sticks in my mind were a couple of trips I made often enough to recall. New York to Chicago coach was $51.25 on PRR or NYC; New York to Atlanta coach was $36.12 on SR or SAL. And a disproportionate amount of the latter was allocated just to NY to Washington leg....
All fares in those days were mileage based for the most part. Yield Management was not even a dream in the ICC era.
 

jis

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Not just sleeper charges, but base rail fares... I recall that previous to Amtrak, the different regions of the country varied in their per-mile rates...
The so called "trunk lines" between the northeast and midwest had the highest per mile fares, the south and the west had lower fares. One example that sticks in my mind were a couple of trips I made often enough to recall. New York to Chicago coach was $51.25 on PRR or NYC; New York to Atlanta coach was $36.12 on SR or SAL. And a disproportionate amount of the latter was allocated just to NY to Washington leg....
All fares in those days were mileage based for the most part. Yield Management was not even a dream in the ICC era.
If you consider those to be fares in the late 60s then considering that a late 60s dollar is worth around $7 today, those were some very impressive fares in today's dollars too, almost Roomette low bucket level fares!
 

MARC Rider

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Not just sleeper charges, but base rail fares... I recall that previous to Amtrak, the different regions of the country varied in their per-mile rates...
The so called "trunk lines" between the northeast and midwest had the highest per mile fares, the south and the west had lower fares. One example that sticks in my mind were a couple of trips I made often enough to recall. New York to Chicago coach was $51.25 on PRR or NYC; New York to Atlanta coach was $36.12 on SR or SAL. And a disproportionate amount of the latter was allocated just to NY to Washington leg....
All fares in those days were mileage based for the most part. Yield Management was not even a dream in the ICC era.
I rode the Broadway Limited (Amtrak) in 1973, and I remember that the coach fare from Philly to Chicago was about $35, or about $213 in today's money. Airfares between PHL and ORD were about $50 (~$300 in today's money) for coach, and $35 for stand-by coach (which was the only discount you could get.)
 

Oreius

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At this point, I might just save my points and fly down, though I am now going to Miami just two months later than WDW. Going on a transatlantic cruise to Barcelona in May 2022. We’ll see.
 

jruff001

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I know this will be unpopular here, but I am glad sleeping car fares are kinda high. If they were as low as some people here want, they would sell out the moment they become bookable.

I am contemplating a trip in August but haven't confirmed things enough to pull the trigger yet. At least there is still the option of a sleeper, even though expensive. If the fares were as low as some here want, that wouldn't even be an option by now.
 

Exvalley

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The thing to keep an eye on is whether or not the prices drop closer to departure. This will tell us if Amtrak is really pricing to the market, or if they have an elevated expectation of the market.
 

MARC Rider

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That’s a macro study. I was thinking that Amtrak pays higher wages and offers better benefits than private companies did - at least for waiters and other traditionally tipped staff. I could be wrong, though.
Why do you think the private companies back then paid less (accounting for inflation) than Amtrak does now? They were unionized back then, and they're unionized now.

I think back then, the wages of low-wage service workers had more buying power than they do now. Back in 1976, after I graduated college, I was having trouble finding a career level job. I finally applied to grad school, but faced the possibility of nearly a year before I would know whether I was accepted. Among other things, I looked into fast-food burger flipper type jobs, just to pay the bills. It turns out that those jobs back then, paid enough to live on. Maybe not in great luxury, but about what I later made as a graduate research assistant, and I lived decently on that pay (around $3,000 a year, if you really want to know.)

That doesn't even include the fact that back then, you would get a fixed shift and guaranteed hours, unlike today, where if business is slow, they send you home and you get nothing. They also had more full-time jobs back then. Indeed, in 1971, you could make a career as a waiter.

In short, it's likely an Amtrak OBS job may be better today than most private-sector jobs in the hospitality industry (aside from weird hours and the constant travel), but that probably wasn't the case in 1971.
 

Ryan

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The thing to keep an eye on is whether or not the prices drop closer to departure. This will tell us if Amtrak is really pricing to the market, or if they have an elevated expectation of the market.
You need to look at availability rates as well. If prices remain high and a large number of rooms are sold, Amtrak's expectation of the market is accurate.
 
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Exvalley

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Why do you think the private companies back then paid less (accounting for inflation) than Amtrak does now? They were unionized back then, and they're unionized now.
I recall reading that African-Americans were paid very low wages in Pullman service. But that was longer ago, I know.
 

MARC Rider

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I recall reading that African-Americans were paid very low wages in Pullman service. But that was longer ago, I know.
The Pullman Porters - HISTORY

The name to remember is A. Phillip Randolph. I believe there's a statue of him in the concourse of Washington Union Station.

His union finally forced the Pullman company into an agreement in 1937. Pullman apparently ended service in 1969, presumably sending their sleeping car attendants to work for the private railroads, and then they were absorbed into Amtrak in 1971. My recollection is that Amtrak kept all of the existing union agreements. So in 1971, it is likely that sleeping car attendants were unionized. If anyone knows what their pay was, in constant dollars relative to what they pay them today, I would be interested. However, I know that in the vast majority of cases, most workers today aren't being paid (in constant dollar equivalents) what people doing their jobs were paid in 1971. I know that's true for me, I imagine it's true for Amtrak workers.
 

Bob Dylan

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Why do you think the private companies back then paid less (accounting for inflation) than Amtrak does now? They were unionized back then, and they're unionized now.

I think back then, the wages of low-wage service workers had more buying power than they do now. Back in 1976, after I graduated college, I was having trouble finding a career level job. I finally applied to grad school, but faced the possibility of nearly a year before I would know whether I was accepted. Among other things, I looked into fast-food burger flipper type jobs, just to pay the bills. It turns out that those jobs back then, paid enough to live on. Maybe not in great luxury, but about what I later made as a graduate research assistant, and I lived decently on that pay (around $3,000 a year, if you really want to know.)

That doesn't even include the fact that back then, you would get a fixed shift and guaranteed hours, unlike today, where if business is slow, they send you home and you get nothing. They also had more full-time jobs back then. Indeed, in 1971, you could make a career as a waiter.

In short, it's likely an Amtrak OBS job may be better today than most private-sector jobs in the hospitality industry (aside from weird hours and the constant travel), but that probably wasn't the case in 1971.
I had the same expierience in the 60s ( I'm Old! Lol).

Thought I was Rich when I hit $400 a Month with Health and Life Insurance! And we were a One Income Family, my Wife was able to stay home with our Daughter and we were even able to buy a House!( $ 12,000!!!! All the Money in the World! 😄)

Since I ended up making Governmemt Service a Career, I now have a Pension and Good Insurance, which today are a rare thing in Private Sector Jobs.
 

Bob Dylan

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I recall reading that African-Americans were paid very low wages in Pullman service. But that was longer ago, I know.
And were treated like "indentured servants", but they were still considered highly desirable jobs for People of Color.
 

Tlcooper93

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I can personally attest to income and wage related things being different now, as a 20 something living in Boston.

Blacks back then actually liked railroad jobs. it was a shame that the railroads declined like they did, as it put so many black folks out of work. Combine this with the fact that interstate highway construction routinely destroyed black neighbourhood, and the decline of the railroads looks a lot more sinister than "cars are better."

But hey, who knows for sure.
 

Exvalley

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This article is pretty fascinating. It was written in 1971. Apparently a lot of railroad workers were not happy to see Amtrak come into existence because they were being pushed from passenger service into freight service.


This quote was pretty interesting:
James G. Robinson of Omaha, a 58‐year‐old dining car waiter who quit law school in the Depression for the “security” of a railroad job...

But this quote has me wondering:
Tips help make up the difference in my life between a substandard wage and an average wage.”

Would an Amtrak employee say that they are paid a "substandard wage?"
 
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