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Exceptions to the 13-15 YO rule?


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#101 norfolkwesternhenry

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 10:53 PM

Many times a year I get driven, but for the occasion, nobody is available or willing to go with me, or drive me. On the way back my mom can drive me, but the way there is the main concern.

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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.


#102 BCL

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 11:48 AM

Sure the cutoff age is arbitrary, but there have been high profile cases where a kid under 16 has been removed from Amtrak. You don't sound as f you wish to try without an assurance that you'll be able to make it.

I take it that you've probably done the current "interview" yourself for travel between staffed stations. I understand it's pretty basic. Just asking if the kid knows where to ride on the train and to meet the station agent at the destination. I was reading one blog about a kid who ended up meeting the adult without checking in with the station agent, and the adult was called to make sure that the kid was with him. That's basically what the station agent is supposed to do.

#103 Hal

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 05:50 PM

Sure the cutoff age is arbitrary, but there have been high profile cases where a kid under 16 has been removed from Amtrak. You don't sound as f you wish to try without an assurance that you'll be able to make it.

I take it that you've probably done the current "interview" yourself for travel between staffed stations. I understand it's pretty basic. Just asking if the kid knows where to ride on the train and to meet the station agent at the destination. I was reading one blog about a kid who ended up meeting the adult without checking in with the station agent, and the adult was called to make sure that the kid was with him. That's basically what the station agent is supposed to do.


Maybe I missed it but I don't think he intimated any intention of violating the policy. He would like the policy changed to allow exceptions. At his age he doesn't understand why bureaucracy is going to win out in this situation and there won't be an exception for him no matter how mature he believes he is or how logical it seem to him that he should be an exception.

The interviews are pretty basic. Like telling them to follow the conductors instructions, sit where the conductor seats them, that at the destination station, station personnel will escort them from the train to the station. Do they know where they are going? Do they know the person picking them up? Tell the conductor if anyone bothers them.

#104 neroden

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 12:31 AM

At the end of the day, these are your children and if you're ok shipping them through multiple states  as if they were luggage  and dropping them off at an unattended station when you can't even leave them unattended in a car at convenience store for 10 minutes, I say more power to you. I'm all for a policy change. My version would call for zero liability and tiered travel. In other words, at 8 years old, you can travel up to 4 hours. At 10 years old, you can travel up to 6 hours but if you travel  multiple times throughout the year, you may travel up to 8 hours.

We agree.

Something along those lines because as I indicated, some of the unattended minors are seasoned veterans, and often behave better than the adults.
 
I still think you should write the letter and flip the script. Tell them you'd happily comply with the policy (as you did in the past) except the station is now unstaffed.

Very good advice. Write to the top.
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#105 neroden

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 12:33 AM

Once a lost kid (14 actually) found me in an area with poor cell phone coverage, and asked me for help getting back to his high school group.  I was a little freaked out about the possibility that someone sees a teenager with an solo unrelated adult male and takes it the wrong way.  I actually helped him, but I did think about telling him to simply wait somewhere and I would call for help

Isn't that completely and totally ****ed up? I mean, really. It needs to be OK for kids to ask strangers for help. What sort of society is this, anyway?
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#106 neroden

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 12:46 AM

For a contrast to Amtrak's crazy overbearing irrational policy, it appears that the majority of commuter railroads have literally NO policy restrictions on unaccompanied minors, although an old NY MTA policy (no longer present on the website) "discourages" unaccompanied children under the age of 8

 

Some of Metro-North's stations (Metro-North is part of MTA) are literally one-car-door-wide wooden platforms in wilderness areas, without so much as a light or a road.

 

This is probably going too far in the other direction.

 

If you want to make a serious attempt to change policy, it might be worthwhile to look up the policies (or lack thereof) of the other railroads in the country and write up a comparison, showing how over-the-top unreasonable Amtrak's is.  Then you can propose something measured and reasonable.  Start a political campaign.


Edited by neroden, 23 June 2017 - 12:48 AM.

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#107 BCL

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 01:10 AM

For a contrast to Amtrak's crazy overbearing irrational policy, it appears that the majority of commuter railroads have literally NO policy restrictions on unaccompanied minors, although an old NY MTA policy (no longer present on the website) "discourages" unaccompanied children under the age of 8

 

Some of Metro-North's stations (Metro-North is part of MTA) are literally one-car-door-wide wooden platforms in wilderness areas, without so much as a light or a road.

 

This is probably going too far in the other direction.

 

If you want to make a serious attempt to change policy, it might be worthwhile to look up the policies (or lack thereof) of the other railroads in the country and write up a comparison, showing how over-the-top unreasonable Amtrak's is.  Then you can propose something measured and reasonable.  Start a political campaign.

 

In other systems they'll probably just take it as they see an issues.  If they see a six year old taking the train solo and getting lost, that's probably enough.

 

 

 

Once a lost kid (14 actually) found me in an area with poor cell phone coverage, and asked me for help getting back to his high school group.  I was a little freaked out about the possibility that someone sees a teenager with an solo unrelated adult male and takes it the wrong way.  I actually helped him, but I did think about telling him to simply wait somewhere and I would call for help

Isn't that completely and totally ****ed up? I mean, really. It needs to be OK for kids to ask strangers for help. What sort of society is this, anyway?

 

One where adult males can be suspected of abducting children for sexual gratification.

 

I did end up helping him.  He had no map or compass, and as I stated the cell phone coverage was poor.  My preference would have been to call for help and just wait for someone to come by.  However, there was no cell phone service and no pay phones.  I gave him a ride in my car and tried to find some trusted person/place that could look after him.  We actually found a fire station, but nobody was there.  I later found out that it was a mostly volunteer department.  We ended up getting to a place with a pay phone and I couldn't think of anything else but to call 911.  He also barely got cell phone coverage and managed to contact his group leader.  In the end someone from the fire department showed up, and I think they waited for the adults in his group to get him.



#108 Lonestar648

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 05:24 PM

Children have to ride trains everyday to and from school when their school is not in their public system.  Many times these kids are coming home after school activities in the dark because it gets dark sooner during school months.  Now the Conductors get to know these kids, also the kids will start sitting together as more get on.  The parents have coached them on what to look out for, what to do when they feel something is wrong, etc. These are seasoned travelers, though their trip is never over 90 minutes, it could include the train then transfer to a bus.  These children are very familiar with the area, verses a child traveling several hundred miles to a town or city with an unattended station, they may only have been to once or never.  What if the train is late arriving very late at night and the person who is picking them up isn't there.  This scenario is vastly different from the commuter 90 minute ride.  In this society, where no one is responsible for their actions, that the companies, or others are suppose to be responsible, it sorta forces a tough stand that is being complicated by the reduction of staffed stations.  Who could be responsible if no Amtrak personnel are at the station and it is very late at night?  Should the police be called until the adult arrives?  How do we protect the minors but also allow them the freedom to travel alone.  I traveled alone several times from from New York to Pittsburgh by myself once I was 10, but I was looked out for by a Porter in a Roomette on the PRR.  I also traveled daytime, not overnight.


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#109 Hotblack Desiato

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 10:03 AM

For a contrast to Amtrak's crazy overbearing irrational policy, it appears that the majority of commuter railroads have literally NO policy restrictions on unaccompanied minors, although an old NY MTA policy (no longer present on the website) "discourages" unaccompanied children under the age of 8

 

Some of Metro-North's stations (Metro-North is part of MTA) are literally one-car-door-wide wooden platforms in wilderness areas, without so much as a light or a road.

 

This is probably going too far in the other direction.

 

If you want to make a serious attempt to change policy, it might be worthwhile to look up the policies (or lack thereof) of the other railroads in the country and write up a comparison, showing how over-the-top unreasonable Amtrak's is.  Then you can propose something measured and reasonable.  Start a political campaign.

 

 

Obviously, there's a difference between trains that take you within a metropolitan region and one that can take you several hundred miles/multiple states away.

 

I mean, I thought it was obvious, but maybe not.






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