Admin note: this topic was split from this topic in Travelogues.
Iowa Pacific is trying a great many things to increase service and awareness of the train. One of these is dollar fares like what Mega Bus offers, specifically the first two fares are sold at 1$. Being a bit of planner, liking to ride trains, and always loving a good deal I looked out into Amtrak's calendar and found two tickets on a Sunday for 1$. I booked them for myself, and my 5 year old daughter. I was able to get dollar tickets going both directions, when combined with the kids discount that meant round trip cost of 3$.
After boarding and getting situated we headed to breakfast in the bottom of the dome car. The seating area itself was very cold. The staff wasn't particularly forthcoming with information but there was definitely some sort of heating issue (given it was 7 degrees out maybe some thing froze up who knows). Still we just chalked up to "these things happen". The food came out delicious, my daughter had the french toast, I had eggs. The food really was great, and cheaper than Amtrak's. I do feel bad to compare as I know IP and Amtrak operate under different models but it's kind of hard not to compare. Additionally it was great to even have the option for food as the old Hoosier State was just two coaches, really made the trip easier and the train a more desirable option.
Overall I'd give the new Hoosier State an 8/10 they seem to still be figuring things out but it is large improvement over the old Hoosier State (again kind of an unfair comparison since Indiana wasn't paying for the old one) and I look forward to riding it again.
Oh, and the few conversations I overhead were all very positive so hopefully this will be reflected in ridership.
It sounds like the IP model should be duplicated elsewhere in Amtrak. Why not have IP work with more trains and/or find similar partners?
Edited by jebr, 28 March 2016 - 06:09 PM.