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Public's Perception of Amtrak


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#1 VentureForth

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 09:37 AM

Makes for an interesting read:

https://www.consumer...vel/amtrak.html

14,223 Amtrak Miles. Many more to go.
Completed Routes: Capitol Limited, Palmetto
Also Ridden: Carolinian, Crescent, Pacific Surfliner, Piedmont, Southwest Chief, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Texas Eagle


#2 norfolkwesternhenry

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 02:07 PM

Usually most people only rate when they recieve bad experiences. Unfirtunately, these people don't understand Amtraks situation. If these people were educated about Amtraks situation, they might understand why these kind of things happen.

Empire Builder MSP-CHI (2) CHI-MSP (2) MSP-PDX (1) MSP-CBS (5.5 H late) (1) MKE-MSP (1) MSP-SEA (1) Coast Starlate PDX-EMY (1.5H late) (1) California Zephyr DEN-SLC (1H late) (1) Hiawatha CHI-MKE (1) NE Regional WAS-BAL (1) WAS-NYP (1) Acela Express BAL-WAS (1) BOS-WAS (1) Late Shore (Limited service) CHI-BOS (On Time) (1) Capitol Limited WAS-CHI (1) Texas Eagle SAS-CHI (1.5 HR late, 1 HR late) (2) CHI-SAS (1) (55 min early) Wolverine DET-DER-ARB-CHI (35 Min late) (1) Cascades SEA-VAC (1)
Non-Amtrak: VIA: Corridor Service Q.C.-Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto-Windsor (1) Canadian: VAC-Winnipeg 4.5 H late (1) D. C. metro, Montreal Metro, Toronto subway, Portland streetcars, BART, Metra, NYC subway, Boston subway, Twin cities Blue/Green line
train cars travelled in: Superliner: Coach, Sleeper, Diner, CCC, SSL. Amfleet: LD Café, Café/Business, coach. Viewliner: Sleeper, Diner. Acela: Café, Business, quiet car. Horizon: Coach. Talgo: coach, diner, café; non Amtrak: ex CP Via Canadian Manor cars, Park car, diner,sleeper, Skyline lounge. LRC trainset: coach (tilt de-activated)

No trees were killed to make this, but a number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

My apologies if I offend you, or seem stubborn, it's simply my nature. I am 14 after all, and my English isn't exactly perfect.


#3 tricia

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 02:46 PM

Amtrak's wildly inconsistent quality of service invites reviews like this. And I expect they cost Amtrak both customers and political support. Reputations don't equal the average of all customer experiences--individual bad experiences outweigh a larger number of good or indifferent ones.



#4 KmH

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 07:20 PM

Gotta agree with tricia but I also think many unhappy train travelers don't do any due diligence and as a result have unrealistic expectations. 


Edited by KmH, 14 June 2017 - 08:57 AM.

1963U. S. Congress - underground trolley system • Disneyland train (1968/various other dates) • Old Tucson steam train (1969)

Amtrak: California Zephyr Coast Starlight •  Southwest ChiefSunset LimitedTexas Eagle • Illinois Zephyr

. . . . . . . Amtrak miles - 16,383, so far.

 

 

 

 

 


#5 Lonestar648

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 07:38 PM

Unrealistic expectations and not understanding rail travel.  Some would be unhappy with airline travel as well since their expectations are a perfect world,  If the reasonable travelers understood what could be had Congress supported Amtrak, maybe they would refocus onto those in Washington.


Trains Traveled On:
Texas Eagle                                      Sunset Limited                            California Zephyr                                Southwest Chief                Empire Builder            Capitol Limited           Lake Shore limited (NYP & BOS)      Crescent
Kentucky Cardinal                             Cardinal                                       Pere Marquette                                  Wolverines                        Lincoln Service            Empire Service          Keystone Service                               Acelas
NE Regionals                                    Pioneer                                        Desert Wind                                       Broadway Limited             Three Rivers                Southwest Chief        Coast Starlight                                    Empire Service
 
Amtrak Miles Logged: over 197,000


#6 railiner

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 07:40 PM

I only read the first few letter's but I really had a good laugh over this comment...

" It's a fun idea for a trip if you literally have zero concern with where you end up or when" :lol:


Edited by railiner, 13 June 2017 - 07:41 PM.

metroblue?

okay on the blue!

#7 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 08:01 PM

Amtrak does have more formal statistics on customer satisfaction than some outside website although you can debate if there is any bias. I agree with the idea that people are more likely to complain than praise in some of these comments sections.

 

I don't know how important customer satisfaction really affects financial performance/popularity. We all have had bad experiences in travel but does that make us stop traveling? In the case of air travel, if one airline ticks you off then you can fly another one (assuming more than one airline serves the specific city pair(s) of interest). In intercity train travel, if the experience sucks, what is your alternative? Sure poor customer experience can hurt ridership but I'm not sure it is as big a factor as people think.


Trains Traveled:
 
Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA) 
Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI)
Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS)
Lake Short Limited (NYP-CHI)
Silver Meteor (PHL-ORL)
Southwest Chief (CHI-LAX)
California Zephyr (CHI-SLC, SLC-EMY)
City of New Orleans and/or Illini (CHI-Champaign, IL)

 

Bring back the Broadway Limited (or Three Rivers or any Chicago-Pittsburgh-Philly train)!
 
 


#8 Chessie

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 08:33 PM

"The lack of investment in the infrastructure really shows. The people who work for them, in the main, do their best but there is a large swathe of employees who appear to like the trains but not the people who buy the tickets to ride them."

#9 StriderGDM

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 05:48 AM

Usually most people only rate when they recieve bad experiences. Unfirtunately, these people don't understand Amtraks situation. If these people were educated about Amtraks situation, they might understand why these kind of things happen.

Which situation? The fairly inconsistent service?  Sorry, that's entirely on Amtrak.  Yes, late, delayed trains can sometimes be blamed on the host railroads or lack of money, but the inconsistent customer service? That's entirely on Amtrak.



#10 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 06:36 AM

If you think Amtrak's rating is bad...

 

https://www.consumer...vel/united.html

https://www.consumer...an_airlines.htm

https://www.consumer...ravel/delta.htm

 

Southwest's ratings are much higher than those three and Amtrak's though: https://www.consumer.../southwest.html

 

Greyhound is also worse than Amtrak...

 

https://www.consumer.../greyhound.html

 

To most people travel is a necessary evil. They either have to or want to be on the other end but getting there to most people (judging by these ratings) is an unpleasant experience. That's why I still think anyone who takes the TE from CHI to LAX instead of the SWC and spending a whole extra day getting there is crazy.

 

IMO the train experience is still better than both the airplane and bus (more comfortable seats, more legroom, the ability to move around and I would guess that most people traveling each mode for the same amount of time would favor the train experience over bus/rail. The plane will always be faster and for most travel above around 400 miles air travel will always be the most popular no matter how many times United literally throws passengers off planes. Trains should be more popular than buses but I'm guessing buses have more coverage and cheaper prices in general so they are more popular than trains for intercity travel (although I would guess trains would be more popular than buses for trips above 400 miles).

 

Again, people can complain all they want about the travel experience but it rarely stops them from doing so. 


Trains Traveled:
 
Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA) 
Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI)
Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS)
Lake Short Limited (NYP-CHI)
Silver Meteor (PHL-ORL)
Southwest Chief (CHI-LAX)
California Zephyr (CHI-SLC, SLC-EMY)
City of New Orleans and/or Illini (CHI-Champaign, IL)

 

Bring back the Broadway Limited (or Three Rivers or any Chicago-Pittsburgh-Philly train)!
 
 


#11 Chessie

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 08:50 AM

If you think Amtrak's rating is bad...
 
https://www.consumer...vel/united.html
https://www.consumer...an_airlines.htm
https://www.consumer...ravel/delta.htm
 
Southwest's ratings are much higher than those three and Amtrak's though: https://www.consumer.../southwest.html
 
Greyhound is also worse than Amtrak...
 
https://www.consumer.../greyhound.html
 
To most people travel is a necessary evil. They either have to or want to be on the other end but getting there to most people (judging by these ratings) is an unpleasant experience. That's why I still think anyone who takes the TE from CHI to LAX instead of the SWC and spending a whole extra day getting there is crazy.
 
IMO the train experience is still better than both the airplane and bus (more comfortable seats, more legroom, the ability to move around and I would guess that most people traveling each mode for the same amount of time would favor the train experience over bus/rail. The plane will always be faster and for most travel above around 400 miles air travel will always be the most popular no matter how many times United literally throws passengers off planes. Trains should be more popular than buses but I'm guessing buses have more coverage and cheaper prices in general so they are more popular than trains for intercity travel (although I would guess trains would be more popular than buses for trips above 400 miles).
 
Again, people can complain all they want about the travel experience but it rarely stops them from doing so.


The thing is, not everyone likes trains for the same reason.

Some are train lovers. They love the mechanic aspect of the engines. Eg, foamers, train spotters.
Some are train ride lovers. They love the journey aspect. The longer the trip the merrier.
Some are not train lovers at all. They take trains out of necessity because they cannot fly for some reason.

On AU, most are from camp 1 or 2. Plus some Amtrak affiliated people. If you are from camp 3, you will find your perspective very different.

#12 A Voice

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 12:14 PM

 

If you think Amtrak's rating is bad...
 
https://www.consumer...vel/united.html
https://www.consumer...an_airlines.htm
https://www.consumer...ravel/delta.htm
 
Southwest's ratings are much higher than those three and Amtrak's though: https://www.consumer.../southwest.html
 
Greyhound is also worse than Amtrak...
 
https://www.consumer.../greyhound.html
 
To most people travel is a necessary evil. They either have to or want to be on the other end but getting there to most people (judging by these ratings) is an unpleasant experience. That's why I still think anyone who takes the TE from CHI to LAX instead of the SWC and spending a whole extra day getting there is crazy.
 
IMO the train experience is still better than both the airplane and bus (more comfortable seats, more legroom, the ability to move around and I would guess that most people traveling each mode for the same amount of time would favor the train experience over bus/rail. The plane will always be faster and for most travel above around 400 miles air travel will always be the most popular no matter how many times United literally throws passengers off planes. Trains should be more popular than buses but I'm guessing buses have more coverage and cheaper prices in general so they are more popular than trains for intercity travel (although I would guess trains would be more popular than buses for trips above 400 miles).
 
Again, people can complain all they want about the travel experience but it rarely stops them from doing so.


The thing is, not everyone likes trains for the same reason.

Some are train lovers. They love the mechanic aspect of the engines. Eg, foamers, train spotters.
Some are train ride lovers. They love the journey aspect. The longer the trip the merrier.
Some are not train lovers at all. They take trains out of necessity because they cannot fly for some reason.

 

 

I don't mean to quibble over a minor point, but the majority of train passengers care nothing about the trains themselves or the train journey and are perfectly capable of flying to any destination - and sometimes do..  People take the train for any number of reasons - convenience, schedule, personal preference, lack of hassle associated with air travel, etc.  But the biggest reason might be simply to avoid driving; It is the automobile - not the airplane - which is the passenger trains' primary competition (generally, even in corridors).  

 

If Amtrak's business was based primarily on train lovers and those who can't fly, no train would need be more than one car long.  



#13 ehbowen

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 12:14 PM

That's why I still think anyone who takes the TE from CHI to LAX instead of the SWC and spending a whole extra day getting there is crazy.

 

While I would be unlikely to choose the Texas Eagle over the Southwest Chief for a trip between Chicago and Los Angeles, I would be quite willing to consider it for a trip between Los Angeles and Little Rock or between Chicago and Tucson....


Edited by ehbowen, 14 June 2017 - 12:14 PM.

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#14 Chessie

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 12:25 PM

If you think Amtrak's rating is bad...
 https://www.consumer...vel/united.htmlhttps://www.consumer...an_airlines.htmhttps://www.consumer...ravel/delta.htm
 
Southwest's ratings are much higher than those three and Amtrak's though: https://www.consumer.../southwest.html
 
Greyhound is also worse than Amtrak...
 https://www.consumer.../greyhound.html
 To most people travel is a necessary evil. They either have to or want to be on the other end but getting there to most people (judging by these ratings) is an unpleasant experience. That's why I still think anyone who takes the TE from CHI to LAX instead of the SWC and spending a whole extra day getting there is crazy.
 
IMO the train experience is still better than both the airplane and bus (more comfortable seats, more legroom, the ability to move around and I would guess that most people traveling each mode for the same amount of time would favor the train experience over bus/rail. The plane will always be faster and for most travel above around 400 miles air travel will always be the most popular no matter how many times United literally throws passengers off planes. Trains should be more popular than buses but I'm guessing buses have more coverage and cheaper prices in general so they are more popular than trains for intercity travel (although I would guess trains would be more popular than buses for trips above 400 miles).
 
Again, people can complain all they want about the travel experience but it rarely stops them from doing so.


The thing is, not everyone likes trains for the same reason.
Some are train lovers. They love the mechanic aspect of the engines. Eg, foamers, train spotters.
Some are train ride lovers. They love the journey aspect. The longer the trip the merrier.
Some are not train lovers at all. They take trains out of necessity because they cannot fly for some reason.
 
I don't mean to quibble over a minor point, but the majority of train passengers care nothing about the trains themselves or the train journey and are perfectly capable of flying to any destination - and sometimes do..  People take the train for any number of reasons - convenience, schedule, personal preference, lack of hassle associated with air travel, etc.  But the biggest reason might be simply to avoid driving; It is the automobile - not the airplane - which is the passenger trains' primary competition (generally, even in corridors).  
 
If Amtrak's business was based primarily on train lovers and those who can't fly, no train would need be more than one car long.

I don't disagree for the most part. But to your last point I think only in short to medium distances, corridors most definitely. LD trains' competition is still flying.

#15 Lonestar648

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 12:57 PM

I have found that the majority of people think their only travel options to be driving or flying in the US and Canada.  When I say I go by Amtrak, most times I get a puzzled look, so I have to explain Amtrak is not just the NEC.


Trains Traveled On:
Texas Eagle                                      Sunset Limited                            California Zephyr                                Southwest Chief                Empire Builder            Capitol Limited           Lake Shore limited (NYP & BOS)      Crescent
Kentucky Cardinal                             Cardinal                                       Pere Marquette                                  Wolverines                        Lincoln Service            Empire Service          Keystone Service                               Acelas
NE Regionals                                    Pioneer                                        Desert Wind                                       Broadway Limited             Three Rivers                Southwest Chief        Coast Starlight                                    Empire Service
 
Amtrak Miles Logged: over 197,000


#16 A Voice

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 02:13 PM

 

 

 

If you think Amtrak's rating is bad...
 https://www.consumer...vel/united.htmlhttps://www.consumer...an_airlines.htmhttps://www.consumer...ravel/delta.htm
 
Southwest's ratings are much higher than those three and Amtrak's though: https://www.consumer.../southwest.html
 
Greyhound is also worse than Amtrak...
 https://www.consumer.../greyhound.html
 To most people travel is a necessary evil. They either have to or want to be on the other end but getting there to most people (judging by these ratings) is an unpleasant experience. That's why I still think anyone who takes the TE from CHI to LAX instead of the SWC and spending a whole extra day getting there is crazy.
 
IMO the train experience is still better than both the airplane and bus (more comfortable seats, more legroom, the ability to move around and I would guess that most people traveling each mode for the same amount of time would favor the train experience over bus/rail. The plane will always be faster and for most travel above around 400 miles air travel will always be the most popular no matter how many times United literally throws passengers off planes. Trains should be more popular than buses but I'm guessing buses have more coverage and cheaper prices in general so they are more popular than trains for intercity travel (although I would guess trains would be more popular than buses for trips above 400 miles).
 
Again, people can complain all they want about the travel experience but it rarely stops them from doing so.


The thing is, not everyone likes trains for the same reason.
Some are train lovers. They love the mechanic aspect of the engines. Eg, foamers, train spotters.
Some are train ride lovers. They love the journey aspect. The longer the trip the merrier.
Some are not train lovers at all. They take trains out of necessity because they cannot fly for some reason.
 
I don't mean to quibble over a minor point, but the majority of train passengers care nothing about the trains themselves or the train journey and are perfectly capable of flying to any destination - and sometimes do..  People take the train for any number of reasons - convenience, schedule, personal preference, lack of hassle associated with air travel, etc.  But the biggest reason might be simply to avoid driving; It is the automobile - not the airplane - which is the passenger trains' primary competition (generally, even in corridors).  
 
If Amtrak's business was based primarily on train lovers and those who can't fly, no train would need be more than one car long.

I don't disagree for the most part. But to your last point I think only in short to medium distances, corridors most definitely. LD trains' competition is still flying.

 

 

From endpoint to endpoint (both major destinations, with frequent, reasonably priced air service) possibly.  Most long-distance (LD) route business, however, is to and from intermediate points, many of which don't have air service to begin with.  Further, many passengers are not actually travelling all that far; Average distances vary by route, but figure for 400-600 miles or so while the train or automobile are both slower than flying (its not a race anyway), both remain quite competitive. 



#17 Steve4031

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 02:15 PM

My girl friend is in camp three. She prefers the train to driving because she likes the freedom to move around. When she complains it's usually because it's too cold or drafty in the business class car on Lincoln service trains. She's aware of cleanliness issues and cleans the tray and surfaces at her seat. On the last trip in April she noticed that the equipment appeared to be in better condition than previous trips.

She has experienced one serious delay of 7 hours. This was her letter to Moorman.

Mr. Charles W. Moorman IV
Amtrak President and CEO
60 Massachusetts Ave., NE
Washington, DC 20002
Dear Mr. Charles W. Moorman IV,
I was on board Amtrak 303 on 12/10/16. This train experienced a delay of 7 hours 30 minutes on a trip that normally takes 5 hours and 30 minutes. Shortly after we left Chicago the train stopped and there was an announcement that the air compressor in the engine had malfunctioned. We waited a couple of hours and a replacement locomotive from the CN railroad was attached to our train. We continued our way. The CN locomotive experienced more problems and the train was unable to run at top speed. We eventually stopped and sat. Eventually the train that left Chicago at 1:45 pm caught up to 303. Both trains, if I understand correctly, were combined. At this point we we're already about 5 hours late. We lost an additional 2 or 3 hours because we were late and had to take the sidings for meets with other trains. In addition to the delays, the heat was often off in the business class end of the car so I had to sit at the tables in the other end of the car to stay warm. I wore my heavy winter coat for most of the trip.
Mr. Moorman, the Midwest hub out of Chicago needs your assistance in achieving a stronger safety and service culture for Amtrak. You need to determine how the air compressor failed 20 minutes into the trip. This one component had gigantic ramification on the safety of the Amtrak crew and the passengers. I agree with Mr. Anthony Coscia and the Board of Directors at Amtrak that Mr. Moorman can further launch initiatives that will further enhance safety and customer service as well as modernize operations and guide in the implementation of the FAST ACT.

On a positive note, there were three employees who showed respect, consideration, cooperation, and appreciation of each other as well as the passengers as they worked together as a team to provide unparalleled service during adversity. The first was the Lead service attendant, Dan, in the snack car. He kept the business class passengers updated throughout the duration of the trip. Since the intercom was not working he got information from the conductor and relayed it to the business class passengers. He stayed on his feet working the entire trip. I never saw him sit down to take a break. At the end of the trip he helped with my luggage and helped me off the train.
The second person I would like compliment is the conductor, Lynn. Because of her efforts, we were blessed to arrive in St. Louis safely.
After the air compressor in the original engine failed, Conductor Lynn did her intelligent best with a very complicated situation. Conductor Lynn efforts to communicate the dispatcher and Amtrak management to get a replacement engine were commendable. Then, later in the trip she again had to work with the dispatcher, Amtrak management, and the crew of train 21 to combine 21 and 303 so that we could continue safely to our destination.
Lastly, the African American red cap in the St. Louis station was very helpful. Many passengers were verbally abusive towards him because they were frustrated about the delays. Some used profanity. This man remained calm and helpful to each of the passengers he helped regardless of their treatment of him. When Dan placed my luggage on the platform the redcap placed them on the cart and drove me and the other passengers to the cab stand where I had only a few steps to take to the cab. I gladly gave him a tip. Some of the other ladies on the redcap cart who had originally been abusive tipped him too. One also apologized for the passengers’ treatment of him.

Respectfully,

Identifying information removed.

She has is still riding Amtrak. I helped her understand as and write about the combination of trains. The rest of the letter was completely her ideas.

#18 dogbert617

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 07:15 AM

If you think Amtrak's rating is bad...

 

https://www.consumer...vel/united.html

https://www.consumer...an_airlines.htm

https://www.consumer...ravel/delta.htm

 

Southwest's ratings are much higher than those three and Amtrak's though: https://www.consumer.../southwest.html

 

Greyhound is also worse than Amtrak...

 

https://www.consumer.../greyhound.html

 

To most people travel is a necessary evil. They either have to or want to be on the other end but getting there to most people (judging by these ratings) is an unpleasant experience. That's why I still think anyone who takes the TE from CHI to LAX instead of the SWC and spending a whole extra day getting there is crazy.

 

IMO the train experience is still better than both the airplane and bus (more comfortable seats, more legroom, the ability to move around and I would guess that most people traveling each mode for the same amount of time would favor the train experience over bus/rail. The plane will always be faster and for most travel above around 400 miles air travel will always be the most popular no matter how many times United literally throws passengers off planes. Trains should be more popular than buses but I'm guessing buses have more coverage and cheaper prices in general so they are more popular than trains for intercity travel (although I would guess trains would be more popular than buses for trips above 400 miles).

 

Again, people can complain all they want about the travel experience but it rarely stops them from doing so. 

I totally forgot about the Consumer Affairs website! Hadn't looked at that site in ages. Will have to see how Megabus is rated on there later, just outta curiosity.

 

That's interesting how Southwest is rated higher than Amtrak. I do wonder if some of those negative raters would've rated Amtrak more fairly, if more of those reviewers were aware Amtrak is at the mercy of freight railroads(for their long distance trains) when it comes to how quickly it'll arrive into stations?



#19 VentureForth

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 08:16 AM

I do wonder if some of those negative raters would've rated Amtrak more fairly, if more of those reviewers were aware Amtrak is at the mercy of freight railroads(for their long distance trains) when it comes to how quickly it'll arrive into stations?


Passengers don't care about that crap. They only care about price, schedule, and reliability. When they are burned, they don't care why. And they are likely not to return.

14,223 Amtrak Miles. Many more to go.
Completed Routes: Capitol Limited, Palmetto
Also Ridden: Carolinian, Crescent, Pacific Surfliner, Piedmont, Southwest Chief, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Texas Eagle


#20 Johanna

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 08:52 AM

 

I do wonder if some of those negative raters would've rated Amtrak more fairly, if more of those reviewers were aware Amtrak is at the mercy of freight railroads(for their long distance trains) when it comes to how quickly it'll arrive into stations?


Passengers don't care about that crap. They only care about price, schedule, and reliability. When they are burned, they don't care why. And they are likely not to return.

 

Whether a passenger comes out of an experience feeling burned depends a lot on their expectations going in.  I noticed a lot of complaints from people who booked LD train trips expecting to be somewhere/attend some event/meet up with someone within an hour or two of the scheduled arrival.  Experienced Amtrak riders know that that's a recipe for disaster - that LD trains are often several hours late (for reasons that are not always Amtrak's fault), so if you absolutely need to be somewhere at a particular time, you need to have a scheduled arrival time that's much earlier, or you need to choose another mode of transportation.  

 

It frustrates me a lot that we can't count on Amtrak schedules to be very much more than suggestions, but so far that hasn't been enough to put me off Amtrak entirely, because I'm aware of the reality of the situation and am able to plan around it.  I feel bad for the people who aren't.






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