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Amtrak ending certain discounts in 2018?


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#41 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 10 December 2017 - 03:51 PM

While I do understand that college students are not all as well off as Mr. Seat38a seems to think, I would also imagine that 15% is not going to make much of a difference. You can either afford to spend 100% for the fare, or you most likely can't afford to spend 85% either.


Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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#42 jamess

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Posted 10 December 2017 - 11:03 PM

While I do understand that college students are not all as well off as Mr. Seat38a seems to think, I would also imagine that 15% is not going to make much of a difference. You can either afford to spend 100% for the fare, or you most likely can't afford to spend 85% either.

 

Amtrak doesnt exist in a vacuum.

 

It's not Amtrak vs non trip.

 

It's Amtrak versus Greyhound, Bolt Bus, Megabus, Chinese bus, rental car, airplane, no trip.
 

 

Incidentally, corridor deals do not look to be affected:

 

Travel for Less with Our Friends and Family Offer on the San Joaquins

Buy One and Save 50% on Up to Five Companion Fares

Valid for Sale Through April 28, 2018            Valid for Travel Through April 30, 2018

 

 

https://www.amtrak.c...companion-fares



#43 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 08:00 AM

Rental car? God, that is a stretch. Megabus and boltbus are dense corridor only things. Greyhound? What Greyhound?
Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
Most important: Keep it Simple, Stupid!
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#44 jis

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 09:53 AM

But the bottom line is, as long as Amtrak's ridership, load factor and revenues are growing, the rest of the carping is just that carping. ;)

 

When those trends get reversed then there would be a reason to start looking at how to fix the issue.

 

Just IMHO of course.



#45 dlagrua

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 11:25 AM

But the bottom line is, as long as Amtrak's ridership, load factor and revenues are growing, the rest of the carping is just that carping. ;)

 

When those trends get reversed then there would be a reason to start looking at how to fix the issue.

 

Just IMHO of course.

That is a reasonable way of looking at it but when you talk about the survival of Amtrak,in the eyes of Washington, ridership is key..  Amtrak's ridership hasn't fallen off yet, but the argument can be made that higher fares slow the rate of growth. I still maintain that it is likely that no one at Amtrak has considered the the demographics of those that ride the LD trains and the potential impact of higher fares. Few businesses survive without discounts.Time will tell.



#46 jis

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 11:28 AM

 

But the bottom line is, as long as Amtrak's ridership, load factor and revenues are growing, the rest of the carping is just that carping. ;)

 

When those trends get reversed then there would be a reason to start looking at how to fix the issue.

 

Just IMHO of course.

That is a reasonable way of looking at it but when you talk about the survival of Amtrak,in the eyes of Washington, ridership is key..  Amtrak's ridership hasn't fallen off yet, but the argument can be made that higher fares slow the rate of growth. I still maintain that it is likely that no one at Amtrak has considered the the demographics of those that ride the LD trains and the potential impact of higher fares. Few businesses survive without discounts.Time will tell.

 

I don't see you providing us with any basis for the claims about "no one at Amtrak" etc. etc. So I do not take those comments too seriously. You have been crying wolf for years now and very little of your prognostications have come anywhere near being borne out by facts. ;)


Edited by jis, 11 December 2017 - 11:36 AM.


#47 Ryan

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 11:32 AM

when you talk about the survival of Amtrak,in the eyes of Washington, ridership is key..  Amtrak's ridership hasn't fallen off


Exactly.

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#48 Bob Dylan

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 01:19 PM

While I don't like the Discounts disappearing ( Im a Senior),we're only talking about tip money when you consider that the Discounts only apply to Rail Fare, not Biz Class or Sleepers where the real rises in Fares have occured.

I agree with jis and Ryan here, the Sky is not falling Chicken Little!
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#49 PVD

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 01:22 PM

Reading an article today about how the overuse of "discounts" by many businesses has not had the desired effect on profits that come with the increase in volume, and it is causing a re thinking of policies for many companies.



#50 jis

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 01:49 PM

When one is able to potentially sell the seat at full price instead of at a discount, the discount is just lost revenue.

 

If discount is to be provided as a social program there should be social way of funding it, like the French fund their discounts from the tax base of each Department (roughly speaking County in our lingo) involved. That is also the reason that they bend over backwards trying to prevent visitors and tourists availaing themselves of those discounts, and instead provide pricier alternatives for them to use.



#51 MARC Rider

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 02:34 PM

Why is It children are discounted at all? They take up the same amount of seat space as an adult.

 

There may be social reasons to do it, but then, of course, this should involve some sort of subsidy to the carrier to make up the loss.

 

In this case, without some sort of family discount, Mom and Dad might decide to drive the kids up to New York the next time, thus contributing the the already bad gridlock on the New Jersey Turnpike and affecting various clean air targets.  It's already far cheaper for 4 or 5 people to travel by car than any other sort of public transportation, this may conflict with Clean Air Act implementation plans that propose to reduce VMT to improve air quality.

 

As for seniors and, especially, disabled, many are not able to drive, which means that making it more expensive for them may unduly restrict their mobility. (though, let's be real, the discounts are not that big.) There's a reason why transit agencies around the world offer senior and disability discounts.  Again, there may be a social reason to offer incentives  better enable mobility for seniors and disabled, but perhaps it's not up the the National Railroad Passenger Corporation to be funding those incentives.

 

By the way, there is no senior discount for the Acela Express, at least on weekdays. 



#52 MARC Rider

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 02:52 PM

But the bottom line is, as long as Amtrak's ridership, load factor and revenues are growing, the rest of the carping is just that carping. ;)

 

When those trends get reversed then there would be a reason to start looking at how to fix the issue.

 

Just IMHO of course.

 

My comment is just about the Northeast Corridor -- it's amazing what people will pay.  (Of course, that includes me. :) ) When Amtrak started, a coach seat between Baltimore and Philadelphia was about $5.  Just a few weeks ago, I paid a little over $50 for the same ride.  I know there's been inflation, but not that much.  True, the ride is much smoother and faster, but not that much faster.  I think the equipment is the same, even if the seat covers have been changed a couple of times.  Because I don't have a lot of flexibility for my trips and can't find Saver fares, it's not unusual to have to pay $140 or more for a trip from Baltimore to New York, a 180 mile 2 1/2 hour ride.  Yet even these fares have not stopped the trains from being full.  (However, college students I know no longer ride Amtrak on the NEC, they take the Bolt Bus or Mega Bus.)

 

What I think is happening here is that the Amtrak product (the Northeast Regional) is definitely unique compared to the other modes.  It's faster, more comfortable and less stressful than driving, and it's cheaper than flying, and almost as fast, especially if you factor travel time to the airport, security checks, etc.)  Thus, they can jack up the fares, and people will still be riding.  



#53 BCL

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 03:00 PM

 

But the bottom line is, as long as Amtrak's ridership, load factor and revenues are growing, the rest of the carping is just that carping. ;)

 

When those trends get reversed then there would be a reason to start looking at how to fix the issue.

 

Just IMHO of course.

 

My comment is just about the Northeast Corridor -- it's amazing what people will pay.  (Of course, that includes me. :) ) When Amtrak started, a coach seat between Baltimore and Philadelphia was about $5.  Just a few weeks ago, I paid a little over $50 for the same ride.  I know there's been inflation, but not that much.  True, the ride is much smoother and faster, but not that much faster.  I think the equipment is the same, even if the seat covers have been changed a couple of times.  Because I don't have a lot of flexibility for my trips and can't find Saver fares, it's not unusual to have to pay $140 or more for a trip from Baltimore to New York, a 180 mile 2 1/2 hour ride.  Yet even these fares have not stopped the trains from being full.  (However, college students I know no longer ride Amtrak on the NEC, they take the Bolt Bus or Mega Bus.)

 

What I think is happening here is that the Amtrak product (the Northeast Regional) is definitely unique compared to the other modes.  It's faster, more comfortable and less stressful than driving, and it's cheaper than flying, and almost as fast, especially if you factor travel time to the airport, security checks, etc.)  Thus, they can jack up the fares, and people will still be riding.  

 

Depending on the section, there's also commuter rail.



#54 jamess

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 03:29 PM

Rental car? God, that is a stretch. Megabus and boltbus are dense corridor only things. Greyhound? What Greyhound?

You can get a rental car for under $15 a day in some markets.

 

Megabus and Boltbus exist in every market where Amtrak matters.

 

Considering Greyhound has more daily departures than Amtrak in most corridors, I suggest you catch up on what they offer, because everyone else has.



#55 seat38a

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 04:13 PM

When one is able to potentially sell the seat at full price instead of at a discount, the discount is just lost revenue.

 

If discount is to be provided as a social program there should be social way of funding it, like the French fund their discounts from the tax base of each Department (roughly speaking County in our lingo) involved. That is also the reason that they bend over backwards trying to prevent visitors and tourists availaing themselves of those discounts, and instead provide pricier alternatives for them to use.

On the Pacific Surfliner there has been talk of the removal of 10 ride tickets for multiple riders traveling together because the trains are overcrowded. At one point there was even a talking point about raising prices of the overcrowded trains and leaving them the same on the not so busy ones. At least on some lines I think shoving more people on through discounts will hurt ridership in the long run if it overcrowding scares the regular riders away after their first experience.



#56 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 04:14 PM

You can get a rental car for $15 a day, but you have to drive the thing, and what you get for $15 a day is a tiny little buzz box that I have trouble fitting in, let alone an entire family. 

 

Greyhound? Greyhound is dying. They are having a hellacious time getting financing to replace their unreliable and aging fleet. They are also not family friendly, and have terrible boarding and reservation procedures. 

 

In the markets where Amtrak matters, ridership is not one of Amtrak's problems, nor is pricing pressure. 


Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
Most important: Keep it Simple, Stupid!
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#57 seat38a

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 04:16 PM

Reading an article today about how the overuse of "discounts" by many businesses has not had the desired effect on profits that come with the increase in volume, and it is causing a re thinking of policies for many companies.

Many companies have gone to targeted discounts. The old days of throwing everything on the wall and seeing what sticks is dying out fast. Now at many companies, unless your part of the companies loyalty program, your not going to get much.



#58 jis

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 04:18 PM

You can get a rental car for $15 a day, but you have to drive the thing, and what you get for $15 a day is a tiny little buzz box that I have trouble fitting in, let alone an entire family.

Greyhound? Greyhound is dying. They are having a hellacious time getting financing to replace their unreliable and aging fleet. They are also not family friendly, and have terrible boarding and reservation procedures.

In the markets where Amtrak matters, ridership is not one of Amtrak's problems, nor is pricing pressure.

Exactly! As long as Amtrak's passenger count and revenues keep growing, no one will pay any attention to all these other things. Only when they flatten out or decline with anyone care, and one could argue, rightly so. ;) The marching orders from Amtrak's immediate owners is to get operating ratio to at least 100%. In order to do so it is reasonable for the management to seek out the particular customer niche which can bear the cost of the revenue stream that is necessary to get to that goal. The fact that ridership has been maintained and growing at a reasonable rate provides zero justification to chase after what we in the industry call "bad revenues". ;)


Edited by jis, 11 December 2017 - 04:18 PM.


#59 SubwayNut

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 04:28 PM

Senior discounts on local transit services (during off peak hours only) are an FTA requirement. Most local transit agencies offers them at all times though, commuter rail (and bus) lines often only offer them at off peak times.
Check out my website SubwayNut.com decidated to pictures of subway, light rail and railroad stations including nearly 200 that Amtrak stop at!

#60 jis

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 04:34 PM

Senior discounts on local transit services (during off peak hours only) are an FTA requirement. Most local transit agencies offers them at all times though, commuter rail (and bus) lines often only offer them at off peak times.

The Federal Government and Congress are known to dictate all kinds of unfunded mandates and then are perennially surprised with some of the unforeseen (by them) financial consequences. It could help a lot if the Congresscritters actually bothered to read and understand the bills that they blithely keep voting on.

 

heck New York folks completely flummoxed by the fact that they almost killed off the New York Subway system by refusing to allow them to raise fares and refusing to provide any other funding to make up for it.






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