Yet Another Fare Increase

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

niemi24s

Engineer
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,733
The previous fare increases noticed occurred sometime around April, 2021. Now the fares for Family Bedrooms and Bedrooms have increased again as seen during a few spot checks of the TE, SWC and CZ today.

For SWC and TE high bucket Bedrooms:
• 1 Adult fares were $2137, 2173 and 2233
• Increases were 2.6 and 2.8%

For SWC and TE low bucket Bedrooms:
• 1 Adult fares were $1013, 1029 and 1052
• Increases were 1.6 and 2.1%

For CZ high bucket Bedrooms:
• 1 Adult fares were $2108, 2202 and 2261
• Increases were 4.5 and 2.7%

For CZ low bucket Bedrooms:
• 1 Adult fares were $966, 1015 and 1039
• Increases were 5.1 and 2.4%

On the bright side, Coach and Roomette fares have remained constant through these last two increases.

Let the pissing and moaning begin!
 

Devil's Advocate

‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
12,724
Location
EOTL
If it's as simple as supply and demand why is Amtrak auctioning compartments for pennies on the dollar? Something does not add up but today's shorter trains with fewer cars and a higher percentage of rooms blocked for staff might be fooling the yield management system into overpricing buckets. Or maybe Amtrak really thinks their outdated compartments are worth more than every other option on the market.
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
23,539
Location
Austin Texas
The previous fare increases noticed occurred sometime around April, 2021. Now the fares for Family Bedrooms and Bedrooms have increased again as seen during a few spot checks of the TE, SWC and CZ today.

For SWC and TE high bucket Bedrooms:
• 1 Adult fares were $2137, 2173 and 2233
• Increases were 2.6 and 2.8%

For SWC and TE low bucket Bedrooms:
• 1 Adult fares were $1013, 1029 and 1052
• Increases were 1.6 and 2.1%

For CZ high bucket Bedrooms:
• 1 Adult fares were $2108, 2202 and 2261
• Increases were 4.5 and 2.7%

For CZ low bucket Bedrooms:
• 1 Adult fares were $966, 1015 and 1039
• Increases were 5.1 and 2.4%

On the bright side, Coach and Roomette fares have remained constant through these last two increases.

Let the pissing and moaning begin!
The Roomettes Fares Buckets may have stayed steady, but they're still Unaffordable by me.( Coach Fares are still Affordable! Most Days)

Examples: Texas Eagle. AUS-CHI for 1: $786!!!( SWA $212 RT)

TexasEagle. AUS-ALP for 1: $365 ( it was $202 in May on my Trip)

Texas Eagle/Starlight. AUS-EMY for 1: $1537!!!( SWA $246 RT)

COACH Example:Normal Coach Fare is $15-$30 ( Depending on Day and When Booked ) There are currently only 2 Coaches/ 1 Sleeper and 1 CCC on this Train!!!!!

Texas Eagle-AUS- DAL 6/23
#422. $58!!! (1 Left @ this Price)
#22. SOLDOUT

They are only running a 4 Car Consist on the Eagle, even on #421/#422 Days ( CHI-LAX), and still serving Flex Flex Meals in the CCC and there is No Sightseer Lounge between CHI and SAS( 31 Hours!)

This Train has been consistently Full since May and on most Days the Sleepers ate SOLD OUT ( with no Transdorm the Crew takes up 3-4 Roomettes in the Sleeper)

Supply and Demand, Yes, but they've priced me out of LD Trips, so I'll be Flying on Southwest on any LD trips I take, including to the Gathering.( and Driving on Short Trips)
 
Last edited:

Exvalley

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Messages
1,024
If it's as simple as supply and demand why is Amtrak auctioning compartments for pennies on the dollar?
Are you aware of how many bedrooms are being auctioned off at the last minute using “bid up”? For all we know it’s extremely rare.
 

Amtrakfflyer

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Messages
633
I still near from crew members and friends traveling, bedrooms are going out empty more often than not. As a family thats taken 2-3 cross country trips per year the past decade (GBB-LAX) they've lost our business. Family room prices for a family of 3 or 4 are insane on the SWC.
 
Last edited:

Sidney

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
622
I still near from crew members and friends traveling, bedrooms are going out empty more often than not. As a family thats taken 2-3 cross country trips per year the past decade (GBB-LAX) they've lost our business. Family room prices for a family of 3 or 4 are insane on the
The Roomettes Fares Buckets may have stayed steady, but they're still Unaffordable by me.( Coach Fares are still Affordable! Most Days)

Examples: Texas Eagle. AUS-CHI for 1: $786!!!( SWA $212 RT)

TexasEagle. AUS-ALP for 1: $365 ( it was $202 in May on my Trip)

Texas Eagle/Starlight. AUS-EMY for 1: $1537!!!( SWA $246 RT)

They are only running a 4 Car Consist on the Eagle, even on #421/#422 Days ( CHI-LAX), and still serving Flex Flex Meals in the CCC and there is No Sightseer Lounge between CHI and SAS( 31 Hours!)

This Train has been consistently Full since May and on most Days the Sleepers ate SOLD OUT ( with no Transdorm the Crew takes up 3-4 Roomettes in the Sleeper)

Supply and Demand, Yes, but they've priced me out of LD Trips, so I'll be Flying on Southwest on any LD trips I take, including to the Gathering.( and Driving on Short Trips)
I wish there was something between Coach and Roomette. I miss the days when you could buy a sleeper after you board. I'm booked from Chicago to Buffalo in September in Coach. A roomette for basically an overnight trip with that sorry excuse for a breakfast is $450. No way would I ever pay that.
 

Sidney

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
622
$350 is about what I would pay for a one overnight trip in a roomette for 24 hours which would include all three meals. I grabbed that on the Crescent in September. Only downside is flex dining.
 

pennyk

50 year Amtrak Rider
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
11,593
Location
Orlando, FL
Last time I checked, all the bedrooms in the trains I plan to take to and from the October Gathering were sold out. I was unable to book a bedroom on one of the trains when I reserved a few months ago. On a couple of the trains, all the rooms were sold out.
 

Palmland

Conductor
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
1,013
Location
Central Florida
I believe Amtrak has decided to minimize train consist size to reduce maintenance and labor costs, which of course also drives up prices with the reduced ‘supply’. That’s strange economics if you are trying to grow your business - but then, maybe they aren’t!

But ‘bargains’ can still be found. In early October on northbound Auto-Train, traditionally a slow time, you can get a bedroom for $642 and family room for $601. Of course your car is an additional expense. The A-T with six or seven sleepers and lower fares seems counter to the strategy for other LD trains.

The Capitol Ltd for the same time and and also an overnight trip will set you back $1092 for a bedroom.
 

Devil's Advocate

‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
12,724
Location
EOTL
For those who believe today's sleepers are excessively priced the solution seems to be booking coach and then bidding up for a compartment at a fraction of the cost. If the bid fails to succeed you cancel and re-book until you "win" the auction process. My problem is that the only daily train in my area retains Flexicon dining with no observation car and the routes I want to ride most require a mix of flights and hotels to be practical. When I price sleeper tickets every date I check is the same rate, which seems to go against this idea that it's all some sort of yield management strategy.
 
Last edited:

Amtrakfflyer

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Messages
633
My main concern is something more nefarious is going on. Like not allowing coach passengers in the diner, a new dining service that exceeded our expectations but may be over the top expense wise with linen and china. The Capital and Eagle so small they are turning customers away possibly not even big enough to break even during high season. Running two full consist stub trains with sleepers and diners the CS, LAX-SMF and SEA-KFS but not allowing people to book it. Only available to previously booked customers all summer long as of now.

And back to this topic prices so high long time loyal customers aren’t traveling. Sure the website might say bedrooms are sold out but that’s not what a lot of attendants are saying onboard. The stub trains I mentioned earlier also are saying “sold out“ as well when the reality is you just can’t book them.

All the actions listed above COULD be setting up horrible loss numbers for the network trains going forward. Numbers we know members of this management have wanted to show Congress for years. Look management has a horrible track record. Maybe they have changed their tune but look at the whole picture with the long distance trains. Something doesn’t add up. I hope it’s just incompetence and not nefarious but we need to keep our eye on the ball. Labor shortage only doesn’t explain all these snafus.
 
Last edited:

City of Miami

Conductor
Joined
Jan 29, 2004
Messages
1,192
Location
Charlottesville VA
And at the same time our NER (171&176) is cheap. And not just in VA either. My trip cvs-was Friday is $21 right now, not even 2 weeks advance. I checked for cvs-nyp a week later, $43. The lowest saver fare before 3/2020 was $74.
The Cardinal continues to go by here with 2 coaches, 1 sleeper, 0 business class. The app frequently says sold out. Recent summers have seen 3 & 4 coaches, 2 sleepers and business class. Sad.
 

jis

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
29,392
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
And at the same time our NER (171&176) is cheap. And not just in VA either. My trip cvs-was Friday is $21 right now, not even 2 weeks advance. I checked for cvs-nyp a week later, $43. The lowest saver fare before 3/2020 was $74.
Few things...

1. NER fares on corridor is very high is in general a myth. Acela fares are high because the lowest class is BC and the fare usually is close to NER BC. NER fares not so much, though specific runs may get high.

2. CVS to WAS is a Virginia run.

3. NER fares in Coach are generally lower than the Coach fares charged on LD trains on the NER

I suppose as more capacity has come on line fares have been bumped down to fill them and maximize yield at the same time.
 

jruff001

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
274
But ‘bargains’ can still be found. In early October on northbound Auto-Train, traditionally a slow time, you can get a bedroom for $642 and family room for $601. Of course your car is an additional expense. The A-T with six or seven sleepers and lower fares seems counter to the strategy for other LD trains.
That's because the AT does not have the same strategy as other LD trains.

Traffic on the AT is very imbalanced going south in the fall and north in the spring (roughly). It carries the consist and crew for the peak high-traffic, high-fare direction but then has to haul the same consist back in the slow direction to do it all over again. So there are always good deals to be had going against the flow, which includes NB in the fall as the snowbirds start their migration southward.

Other LD trains don't really have seasonal peaks in only one direction and are (roughly) busy in the summer and slow in the winter in both directions, so they can just have a shorter consist round trip both ways during the slow periods.
 

Mr.Technician

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 30, 2021
Messages
27
Location
Minnesota
I'm tentatively planning on riding the CZ from EMY to GBB and have been playing with dates over the past few weeks. All of a sudden it seems only the second and third lowest buckets are available, even 11 months from now. Has the demand for the CZ suddenly increased that much?
 

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
5,311
Location
Washington State
I'm tentatively planning on riding the CZ from EMY to GBB and have been playing with dates over the past few weeks. All of a sudden it seems only the second and third lowest buckets are available, even 11 months from now. Has the demand for the CZ suddenly increased that much?
Amtrak's yield managers have largely stopped routinely allocating inventory to the low buckets when it is first released for sale 11 months in advance.

Now they appear to be allocating inventory based on historical and projected demand, with a pronounced aggressive skew. Often that results in zero initial allocation to the lower buckets 11 months out.

The game has changed and the amount of time before departure is no longer nearly as much of a factor as it was. Easy strategies to ensure getting a low bucket, like grabbing space 11 months in advance, are no longer nearly as effective.

If demand doesn't develop as projected, they will reallocate inventory into lower buckets, if they are managing their yield properly. Getting a lower bucket is much more of a guessing, waiting, and obsessively checking game now.
 
Last edited:
Top