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Seat assignments (Acela pilot Feb 2018)


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#161 Lonestar648

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 08:26 PM

The Passenger does not get to choose their sleeper room on line.  Yes, the system assigns one, but you have no choices.



#162 daybeers

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 11:42 AM

What I don't get is why you can't see what seats are available or choose one before you commit to paying! As of now, you can only choose a seat after the reservation has been paid and confirmed.


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#163 Lonestar648

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 01:23 PM

Remember this Application is in the testing phase.  Though some airlines will display a non active screen of the available seats, they caution that between viewing this screen and purchasing your ticket and then selecting your seats, the availability can change.

 

Right now I am sure they want to limit the number of accesses to only those people who have purchased a ticket on a qualified train, this way when or if there are database issues, this keeps the number of attempts on the database limited.  

 

Once the coding is determined to be correct, having access to available seats on a view only query, is not complicated to set up.



#164 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 02:19 PM

This is not an unheard of concept... red coach in florida (a regional bus line) offers passenger selected, reserved seating. They have passengers getting on and off en route. And they have 2 different types of busses... A 1st class bus with 2x1 seating, and a more traditional 2x2 seating. They seem to have been able to make it work.

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#165 Bob Dylan

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 02:23 PM

Mega Bus has the same feature, but you pay extra to pick "Premium" Seats, sort of like the Airlines and something Amtrak should offer PDQ!!!
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#166 Thirdrail7

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 03:10 PM

I'm not a Mega Bus rider but does it typically make 25+ stops on a single journey? Along a route with a high number of stops, a few well placed intermediate stop to intermediate stop selections can seriously curtail through ridership to selected points.

 

That was one of the problems with passenger selected seat assignments last time and something they've noticed this time. You have to make sure you do this in a way that does not impact through ridership and revenue and doesn't require anyone to move at some point during the trip.  Currently, the reservations system controls this function automatically. If it see a room being reserved for a portion of the trip, when it see another reservation for another portion of the trip, it will assign the same room to leave as much through space as possible.  The same goes for coach seating. It calculates the space based upon maximums along the route between each pair. Without assigned seating, it calculates the "pure space." With assigned seating, you can only hope that intermediate trips come later or you can sell space to that intermediate pair...unless you only set aside certain seats for certain pairs. If that is the case, I don't really consider that "genuine seat selection." You are merely letting the passengers select from a pool of seats that has been offered to them.

 

That is why I'm betting all eyes are on 2103.


Edited by Thirdrail7, 15 April 2018 - 03:10 PM.

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#167 PaulM

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 03:22 PM

What I don't get is why you can't see what seats are available or choose one before you commit to paying! As of now, you can only choose a seat after the reservation has been paid and confirmed.

 

I'm guessing that it is to prevent the following scenario: passenger X books room A CHI-DEN and passenger Y books room B DEN-EMY.  Now two rooms are not available for CHI-EMY, or Fort Morgan to Fraser for that matter.

 

The computer would assign room A to passenger Y, making room B available.


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#168 Lonestar648

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 03:47 PM

I would expect Amtrak is trying to measure revenue and overall trip capacity comparing this to non online seat assignment  measurements.  It doesn't make good business sense to loose money by having a seat selection application for customers.  Also, Conductors have tried to group passengers on LD trains by city or over night stops.so it is easier to make sure people get off at the right stop. Does the system ignore this or limit selection to a certain car on say a three Coach LD train.  



#169 AcrossTheOcean

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 02:31 PM

I really hope this works out not only for the Acela, but gets expanded to the system as a whole.

 

A couple days ago I had to make a number of ticket bookings for train travel through Germany and was pleasantly surprised that I could now select not only which seat I wanted to sit in, but even which coach.

Which is nice, because I was actually able to select "seat 17" in the first coach on one of the InterCity Express trains (my screen name and favorite seat on any train).

 

Actually I have a pretty good idea what it takes to do this sort of stuff since I have been peripherally involved in similar projects, most closely with the system used by United Airlines (SHARES). Also have followed the work of the folks who did the system used by Indian Railways, which by the way has assigned accommodation for all reserved accommodation, which if anything is way more complex and massive compared to anything that Amtrak could conceivably dream of, in terms of number of stations served, number of trains operated, number of seats/berths per train and number of passengers carried in reserved accommodation. It really is not as spectacularly difficult as is made out by folks here, and is not really rocket science either.

 

I agree with jis that if a country like Germany or India with much more complex routes and diverse rolling stock can figure it out, then it shouldn't be all that hard for Amtrak to do.

 

Perhaps a good way to go about funding this would be to do as the Deutsche Bahn (German railways) does, where you have to pay 4.50EUR (about $5.75) to reserve a seat?

 

When did the opportunity to pick your actual seat(s) on the ICE (not just to guarantee a certain type of seats) start?  Any idea if that is just first class, or does it apply to second class, too?  It has been several years since I rode an ICE far enough to make reserved seating worthwhile.


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#170 Lonestar648

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 04:30 PM

The initial test was just first class on just a few specific trains, not all. Again this is a test to work out the bugs in the software, so do not expect perfection.

#171 Acela150

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 10:08 PM

Any updates on how the pilot program is going with the few selected trains? 


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#172 Acela150

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Posted 19 August 2018 - 06:15 PM

I just did a test booking for 2160 in Mid-October from PHL-RTE for a personal trip and Seats are being assigned in FC for that train. I'll play around with other trains shortly. 


Edited by Acela150, 19 August 2018 - 06:16 PM.

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#173 Acela150

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Posted 19 August 2018 - 06:47 PM

After playing around. It seems like 2160 is the only train being added for now. 


These posts are my views and opinions.

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#174 cocojacoby

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Posted 19 August 2018 - 09:03 PM

I'm not a Mega Bus rider but does it typically make 25+ stops on a single journey?

My wife and I took it a few years ago from Boston to New York.  Non stop and $1 each!  Yes $2 total for both of us.


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#175 cpotisch

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 08:50 AM

 

I'm not a Mega Bus rider but does it typically make 25+ stops on a single journey?

My wife and I took it a few years ago from Boston to New York.  Non stop and $1 each!  Yes $2 total for both of us.

So if Amtrak gets rid off all their services and amenities, will they still be 60 times as good as Megabus, as their pricing indicates?


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#176 jebr

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 09:15 AM

So if Amtrak gets rid off all their services and amenities, will they still be 60 times as good as Megabus, as their pricing indicates?

 

Megabus typically only sells a couple seats at the bargain basement $1 fare. (There's also a $2.50/purchase fee for ticketing, at least when buying online.) Megabus' typical fares for that route seem to be $5-$20, with each Friday and Sunday often going quickly to $20 once one or two $1 tickets are sold. Last minute tickets and popular times/days can also get higher than $20.

 

On the Northeast Corridor, I'm not aware of anything Amtrak has outright cut, and they've recently improved cafe car offerings and refurbished the interiors of the trains. Megabus has a lot tighter and narrower seating, no food offerings at all, wifi that seems to work less well than even Amtrak's offering, and power outlets that usually work. I'd also much rather use an Amtrak bathroom than a Megabus bathroom.

 

There's certainly some instances where I'd take Megabus, but if money allows I'd certainly take Amtrak over Megabus in the NEC.


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#177 MARC Rider

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 06:31 PM


So if Amtrak gets rid off all their services and amenities, will they still be 60 times as good as Megabus, as their pricing indicates?

 
Megabus typically only sells a couple seats at the bargain basement $1 fare. (There's also a $2.50/purchase fee for ticketing, at least when buying online.) Megabus' typical fares for that route seem to be $5-$20, with each Friday and Sunday often going quickly to $20 once one or two $1 tickets are sold. Last minute tickets and popular times/days can also get higher than $20.
 
On the Northeast Corridor, I'm not aware of anything Amtrak has outright cut, and they've recently improved cafe car offerings and refurbished the interiors of the trains. Megabus has a lot tighter and narrower seating, no food offerings at all, wifi that seems to work less well than even Amtrak's offering, and power outlets that usually work. I'd also much rather use an Amtrak bathroom than a Megabus bathroom.
 
There's certainly some instances where I'd take Megabus, but if money allows I'd certainly take Amtrak over Megabus in the NEC.

If you ride Megabus, or any other bus between Washington and New York, you will be riding, or possibly sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike and Lincoln Tunnel. While that would be better than driving the same route, I'd rather be on the train, even with trackwork delays.

Also, Baltimore to New York is a 4 hour drive, I don't care what Google maps says, whereas even the current trackwork-slowed NER time is 2:45. NEC service is a quantum leap over competing bus service, and the prices reflect that.
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#178 sitzplatz17

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 10:17 PM

 

I really hope this works out not only for the Acela, but gets expanded to the system as a whole.

 

A couple days ago I had to make a number of ticket bookings for train travel through Germany and was pleasantly surprised that I could now select not only which seat I wanted to sit in, but even which coach.

Which is nice, because I was actually able to select "seat 17" in the first coach on one of the InterCity Express trains (my screen name and favorite seat on any train).

 

Actually I have a pretty good idea what it takes to do this sort of stuff since I have been peripherally involved in similar projects, most closely with the system used by United Airlines (SHARES). Also have followed the work of the folks who did the system used by Indian Railways, which by the way has assigned accommodation for all reserved accommodation, which if anything is way more complex and massive compared to anything that Amtrak could conceivably dream of, in terms of number of stations served, number of trains operated, number of seats/berths per train and number of passengers carried in reserved accommodation. It really is not as spectacularly difficult as is made out by folks here, and is not really rocket science either.

 

I agree with jis that if a country like Germany or India with much more complex routes and diverse rolling stock can figure it out, then it shouldn't be all that hard for Amtrak to do.

 

Perhaps a good way to go about funding this would be to do as the Deutsche Bahn (German railways) does, where you have to pay 4.50EUR (about $5.75) to reserve a seat?

 

When did the opportunity to pick your actual seat(s) on the ICE (not just to guarantee a certain type of seats) start?  Any idea if that is just first class, or does it apply to second class, too?  It has been several years since I rode an ICE far enough to make reserved seating worthwhile.

 

I'm not sure when it showed up exactly, but I'd say it's been around for over a year at this point. It seems to be available for both 1st and 2nd class. The only key difference being that you have to pay for the seat reservation in 2nd class.


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#179 Jersey Jeff

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Posted 31 August 2018 - 08:29 AM

I didn't book Megabus, but I recently traveled Peter Pan Bus from Providence to NYC because I needed a last minute ride and Amtrak was charging $100+. Bus fare was $35. Seating was cramped, no wifi and my power outlet didn't work. Took 6 hours to travel 200 miles because of typical lousy I-95 Sunday traffic.


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#180 cpotisch

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Posted 31 August 2018 - 10:39 AM

I'm currently on Peter Pan from Port Authority Bus Terminal to Boston South Station. The bus is actually owned and operated by "Villani", but they're doing business as Peter Pan. I'm telling you, this is the worst bus I've ever been on. There's no WiFi (which was promised), no 120V outlets (which were promised), and not only are the seats tiny with no legroom or arm room, there also also idiotically bent backward in the middle, which is murdering my spine. We didn't take Amtrak because it was four times the price, but in retrospect I think there's no doubt it would have been worth it.  :(


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