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Exceptions to the 13-15 YO rule?


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#41 BCL

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 09:56 PM

 

 

 

Why do you think you should get an exception? Just because you know a lot about trains? Sorry, the world the doesn't work that way. 

I feel like I am able to travel alone on Amtrak. I handle all Amtrak travel for over 100 family members, I'm even writing a book about traveling on Amtrak. I think there should be an interview to see if a child is capable of traveling on their own. Maybe I'm wrong, and I'm not capable, but since I'm in charge of everything when traveling with family on a train, and never once have I booked the wrong ticket, station, been on the wrong train, or been left behind.
 
 
To be effective, a policy must be short, simple, and easy to understand and implement with little room for misinterpretation (an interview would be both impractical and much too subjective).  It cannot allow for every contingency, but that means some persons such as yourself - who may very well be able to travel alone - cannot get an exception.  
 
Theme parks often set height requirements for attractions, even though some six year old kids are taller than some eight year old children.
 
You must be 18 to vote, even if you know more about the issues than most adults.  
 
The unaccompanied minor restriction is in place for a reason; Not because of your ability to travel alone, but because many persons your age should not.  
thats why I started the thread, to see if there was some way to interview to get a sort of pass to travel unaccompanied, by proving my abilities to travel.

 

There already is an interview required for Amtrak's existing unaccompanied minor policy between two staffed stations.  They've determined that this is the way they're going to operate, even if both stations are staffed  Also - I was reading somewhere that the designated wristband might have been discontinued because it might mark out minors without guardians.

 

Again - nothing personal about you.  Like many things in like (driving age, drinking age, voting age) these age limits are more or less arbitrary but try to find a point where it can work out with as little fuss as possible.



#42 norfolkwesternhenry

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 07:31 AM

I was thinking much more in depth, like an hour long interview to determine the capability of the traveler. Or perhaps an executive order of some sort

Edited by norfolkwesternhenry, 17 June 2017 - 07:32 AM.

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#43 Ryan

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 09:09 AM

You were thinking wrong.
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#44 NTL1991

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 09:46 AM

Liability is the major factor here, I believe. Here on the NEC, minors are typically placed in the Cafe at reserved tables to themselves. The LSA and Conductor will keep an eye on the minor.

I have seen dozens of cases of parents purchasing Adult tickets online for their minor children, dropping them off at the curbside, and taking off, apparently because their demanding schedule doesn't provide enough time to see their minor child onto the train.

When these children speak with station agents or present their ticket to the conductor and reveal their age when asked for Photo ID, CNOC is notified, who then explains the UMNR policy to the parents, and if on board, the train crew may turn the minor over to Amtrak Police or the local authorities at the next staffed station.

When the parent is notified they usually claim how "independent" and "mature" their 13-15 year old is, and how "they've done it before." But when something doesn't go quite right, it's suddenly "My Baby!"

In this litigious society, the risk to Amtrak is all too real. There would absolutely be grounds for severe discipline, likely termination, if an agent of Amtrak knowingly allowed a 13-15 year old to travel against policy.

Can you have an adult travel with you? Soon enough you'll be able to travel freely.

#45 BCL

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 10:18 AM

I was thinking much more in depth, like an hour long interview to determine the capability of the traveler. Or perhaps an executive order of some sort


Now you're just being silly or perhaps stubborn. Perhaps you're not trying to be, but do you understand how strange that sounds to anyone who has dealt with real world customer service? That's just naive to think that Amtrak is going to devote an hour of an employee's time interviewing a 15 year old. With their current policy it's probably just a few questions asking if the minors knows where they're going, who is meeting them, and if they can follow/remember directions.

#46 Chessie

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 10:52 AM

I am curious, does anyone in Amtrak have the authority to grant executive orders?

#47 MikefromCrete

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 11:55 AM

Norfolk, I know you're a guy who knows a lot about trains and seems to be very responsible, but do you really think a big corporation would assign an employee to listen to your plea -- or take some kind of a test -- for an hour or so?  Using this thinking, perhaps a local barkeep could interview every underage kid interested in buying a drink and see if they are  "responsible" enough to down a beer or two. 



#48 Thirdrail7

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 12:43 PM

I am curious, does anyone in Amtrak have the authority to grant executive orders?

 

The CEO and his executive staff can grant executive orders.


They say laughter is the best medicine. Obviously they never posted on AU.


#49 BCL

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 01:30 PM

 

I am curious, does anyone in Amtrak have the authority to grant executive orders?

 

The CEO and his executive staff can grant executive orders.

 

Sure.  I'm sure an executive order was probably what set the current Amtrak unaccompanied minors policy as well as what set the previous one.  However, it's a really, really long stretch to think that they're going to implement an executive order to grant one minor (who can wait less than a year for that right) the right to ride alone.



#50 BCL

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 01:38 PM

Norfolk, I know you're a guy who knows a lot about trains and seems to be very responsible, but do you really think a big corporation would assign an employee to listen to your plea -- or take some kind of a test -- for an hour or so?  Using this thinking, perhaps a local barkeep could interview every underage kid interested in buying a drink and see if they are  "responsible" enough to down a beer or two. 

 

I guess it is technically different, as alcoholic beverage sales/consumption age is regulated by law, and one could easily get a license suspended or even revoked for deliberately serving alcohol to a minor.

 

There is no particular law that sets unaccompanied minor policies.  That's merely a corporate policy with airlines, bus companies, and railroads.  That being said, the idea that they're going to interview kids for an hour to see what makes the kid tick just seems strange on its face.  They're understaffed as it is.  Part of the rationale for eliminating the 8-12 unaccompanied minor policy was that they're lacking the staff already.  So they're going to be tying up an hour of a station employee's time that could be spent selling tickets, moving baggage, helping passengers, etc.  And so a 15 year old can get to an unstaffed station?



#51 Thirdrail7

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 02:23 PM



 



 



I am curious, does anyone in Amtrak have the authority to grant executive orders?

 

The CEO and his executive staff can grant executive orders.

 

Sure.  I'm sure an executive order was probably what set the current Amtrak unaccompanied minors policy as well as what set the previous one.  However, it's a really, really long stretch to think that they're going to implement an executive order to grant one minor (who can wait less than a year for that right) the right to ride alone.

 

 

 

I was merely answering a question. I wasn't suggesting a course of action, although it would be entertaining to see. Perhaps he should contact Lenore Skenazy and ask her to put the matter front and center in her Free-Range Kids initiative. 

 

I can see the entry now: "Teenager isn't allowed to disembark on his own! Why not??"


Edited by Thirdrail7, 17 June 2017 - 02:26 PM.

They say laughter is the best medicine. Obviously they never posted on AU.


#52 Lonestar648

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 03:10 PM

The headline would have Lawyers drooling, looking for anything where there could be a lawsuit and the publicity for their practice that accompanies any case involving a minor. The possibility that Amtrak would set a precedent by allowing a subjective interview to open a door for portential lawsuits should the minor receive the exemption and then have some incident occur. The Amtrak individual who signed off on the exception would have to be terminated in disgrace in a big media frenzy. $100,000's would be spent on legal fees by Amtrak.

I am not saying that something would happen, but we do not control the future and the uncontrollable circumstances. This is why corporations try to plan for as many "what ifs" with their legal teams as seems reasonable and affordable.

#53 BCL

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 05:03 PM





 





 





I am curious, does anyone in Amtrak have the authority to grant executive orders?

 
The CEO and his executive staff can grant executive orders.
 
Sure.  I'm sure an executive order was probably what set the current Amtrak unaccompanied minors policy as well as what set the previous one.  However, it's a really, really long stretch to think that they're going to implement an executive order to grant one minor (who can wait less than a year for that right) the right to ride alone.
 
 
 
I was merely answering a question. I wasn't suggesting a course of action, although it would be entertaining to see. Perhaps he should contact Lenore Skenazy and ask her to put the matter front and center in her Free-Range Kids initiative. 
 
I can see the entry now: "Teenager isn't allowed to disembark on his own! Why not??"

I never got the sense of anyone on this topic (other than the OP) thinking it's a viable solution for the Amtrak executive staff to implement a one-off EO just to grant an exception.

#54 BCL

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 05:07 PM

The headline would have Lawyers drooling, looking for anything where there could be a lawsuit and the publicity for their practice that accompanies any case involving a minor. The possibility that Amtrak would set a precedent by allowing a subjective interview to open a door for portential lawsuits should the minor receive the exemption and then have some incident occur. The Amtrak individual who signed off on the exception would have to be terminated in disgrace in a big media frenzy. $100,000's would be spent on legal fees by Amtrak.
I am not saying that something would happen, but we do not control the future and the uncontrollable circumstances. This is why corporations try to plan for as many "what ifs" with their legal teams as seems reasonable and affordable.


Right now there is a subjective interview in the current unaccompanied minor policy, but I'm sure it's pretty basic and designed to be as reproducible as possible. Add to that they require staffed stations on both ends and a designated adult on the other end. They obviously require this to minimize their liability.

#55 Thirdrail7

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 07:22 PM

 

 

 
I was merely answering a question. I wasn't suggesting a course of action, although it would be entertaining to see. Perhaps he should contact Lenore Skenazy and ask her to put the matter front and center in her Free-Range Kids initiative. 
 
I can see the entry now: "Teenager isn't allowed to disembark on his own! Why not??"

I never got the sense of anyone on this topic (other than the OP) thinking it's a viable solution for the Amtrak executive staff to implement a one-off EO just to grant an exception.

 

 

I wish you'd stop ruining my fun, BCL. You're as bad as Lonestar648 who keeps interrupting with pertinent facts.

 

 

 

Norfolkwesternhenry,, remember that if you want something in life,  you can't always wait for it to come to you. You have to be proactive. A journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step. You should write a letter to the CEO and tell him about your book. Tell him you desire to be a "Free Range Kid," and tell him that you'd happily comply with the requirements except they keep closing stations and eliminating personnel! Take a page from NJT and LIRR. Turn the tables and blame Amtrak for your inability to travel to a staffed station and demand satisfaction! Blitz them with your past itineraries and show them how much revenue you've brought to Amtrak and ask them are they willing to chase away a constant rider, that has many future rides on the horizon?

 

Close your letter by saying you're as reliable as the West Palm Beach students...and you don't require an extra consist.  Don't just sit there and take it like Greenville and Sebring passengers that lost their luggage service (and seemingly still haven't written letters!!) Go for it!!  Nothing ventured, nothing gained!! You have nothing to lose!!


They say laughter is the best medicine. Obviously they never posted on AU.


#56 Triley

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 09:47 AM

Well that was an unusually inspiring talk coming from TR. :D

My posts are my own opinions and do not represent the views of my employer in any way, shape, or form. ~ Now back to your regularly scheduled program.


#57 BCL

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 12:52 PM

Well that was an unusually inspiring talk coming from TR. :D


Maybe they hire him like they did with Anthony. I doubt they make a policy exception for him though,

#58 norfolkwesternhenry

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 02:50 PM

I was thinking much more in depth, like an hour long interview to determine the capability of the traveler. Or perhaps an executive order of some sort

Now you're just being silly or perhaps stubborn. Perhaps you're not trying to be, but do you understand how strange that sounds to anyone who has dealt with real world customer service? That's just naive to think that Amtrak is going to devote an hour of an employee's time interviewing a 15 year old. With their current policy it's probably just a few questions asking if the minors knows where they're going, who is meeting them, and if they can follow/remember directions.
I'm not trying to be stubborn, although sometimes it's hard to tell just from words on a screen. I have a picture on my wall, of a poster of the ten rules of business, and they all start with A CUSTOMER, and how the customer is the business, as without the customer, the business wouldn't exist. I feel like Amtrak should set up a program for that.

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#59 BCL

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 04:01 PM

 

 

I was thinking much more in depth, like an hour long interview to determine the capability of the traveler. Or perhaps an executive order of some sort

Now you're just being silly or perhaps stubborn. Perhaps you're not trying to be, but do you understand how strange that sounds to anyone who has dealt with real world customer service? That's just naive to think that Amtrak is going to devote an hour of an employee's time interviewing a 15 year old. With their current policy it's probably just a few questions asking if the minors knows where they're going, who is meeting them, and if they can follow/remember directions.
I'm not trying to be stubborn, although sometimes it's hard to tell just from words on a screen. I have a picture on my wall, of a poster of the ten rules of business, and they all start with A CUSTOMER, and how the customer is the business, as without the customer, the business wouldn't exist. I feel like Amtrak should set up a program for that.

 

I used to think like that - that if I was ever in business I would always put the customer first and foremost.  However, in the real world it's not as simple as a motivational poster.  Real customer service costs human resources and money.  It's always a balancing act as to providing such service against costs.  Just look at what's happening with Amtrak.  They've cut food service to try to tighten the budget.  They're removing staffing from stations to cut costs.  Other businesses are moving customer service operators to India to save on costs.  They changed the unaccompanied minor policy from 8-15 to 13-15 to reduce the need for Amtrak personnel to handle kids.  They're constantly trying to justify their federal funding.  Now supposed some Congress member finds out that Amtrak has changed its policy to allow an unaccompanied minor to go from a staffed station to an unstaffed station at the cost of an hour of a station agent's time spent interviewing the kid.  Do you really think that won't be seen as a monumental waste of time, when it would be far easier to just keep the policy as is?

 

A business won't exist if they're putting their already limited resources into a money losing proposition serving a small customer base.  And what you're asking for is for Amtrak to lose even more money than they do for their existing customer base.  I haven't been involved in detailed business planning, but I did work at a smalishl company during all-hands meetings where customizing our product for potential customers were being discussed.  The question inevitably devolved into "How much is this going to cost us, and how many people in this customer base might consider our product?"



#60 jebr

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 04:48 PM

Putting the customer first doesn't necessarily mean putting each individual customer first - it can (and should) mean putting the customer base first. In Amtrak's case, that probably means having a fairly strict rule on minors to help lower costs; most customers (and even prospective customers) would see no advantage to the rule and would see their price for travel go up a disproportionate amount or have a worse customer service experience because of it. I don't think there's any fee that could be imposed for such a circumstance that would allow the costs of the program to be recovered - the employee time for the interview alone would probably be $40-$50 (or more) especially when benefits and overhead are included. Add in the start-up cost for creating the rules for such a program (how would you even measure if someone is capable enough to take a train alone with any sort of objectivity? I'm sure a consultant could figure it out for a nice chunk of change, but it doesn't seem simple), the administration cost (how do you make sure the person taking the interview is the one traveling both directions? What if someone wants to travel from an unstaffed station to a staffed station? Unstaffed station to unstaffed station?) and increased liability concerns (what if Amtrak leaves a child at an unstaffed station without a responsible adult and something happens to that child before they get into the responsible adult's custody?) and it makes any fee to try and recover the costs of the program higher than what the vast majority of people will pay - almost certainly not enough people would pay it to make the program cost-neutral.

 

It's much simpler for Amtrak to have a policy from staffed station to staffed station (paperwork filled out, have the child in Amtrak's custody until the responsible party arrives at the destination station and IDs can be checked, if no one comes after x time hand the child over to the local police) than to try and deal with all the variables and liability with having a child depart at an unstaffed station.






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