10-20+% accommodation fare increase?

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by F900ElCapitan, Nov 4, 2019.

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  1. Nov 14, 2019 #51

    niemi24s

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    niemi24s

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    Thanks pennyk and F900ElCapitan. I keep a copy of the chart handy to plan trips. Knowing in advance what the low bucket fares are makes it a little easier travel at minimum cost as my travel dates usually have a lot of flexibility.

    And posting a small section of it... 25-12 Nov 2019 Amtrak Fare BucketsTE & SWC.jpg ...makes it a little easier to explain the bucket system to someone new to train travel. Usually take a copy with me on the train in case somebody needs it 'splained to them.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2019
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  2. Dec 7, 2019 #52

    niemi24s

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    Here's an updated version of the fare bucket chart in Post #48 showing many additional high bucket Coach fares:

    26-7 Dec 2019 Amtrak Fare Buckets.jpg

    With the exception of the Auto Train, these high bucket coach fares differ significantly from previous ones in that each is only a mere 2% more than the next lower bucket. For the past many years, Coach buckets progressed in a roughly geometric progression with each being about 25% greater that the one below. No idea why the Auto Train high bucket Coach fare follows the previous pattern.

    Summary when compared to January 2019 data:

    • Upcharges for a low bucket Roomette have risen 2%
    • Coach (rail) fares for any sleeper have risen an average of 31%
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2019
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  3. Dec 13, 2019 #53

    James S. Fritz

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    F900ElCapitan writes that "I ran through the prices this morning (Nov. 4, 2019) and am noticing a very substantial increase in sleeper fares. Most are up around 10%." Odd that my one-way Senior Viewliner Roomette fare on May 31, 2019 on the Crescent from BAL to TCL was $320.30. I checked the fare for identical service next year (May 29, 2020) and the same fare would be $587.60. This is a whopping 83% increase in the comparable fare. What gives? I know fares change day to day based on demand but this kind of fare increase. Really?
     
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  4. Dec 13, 2019 #54

    bratkinson

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    As noted by Niemi24s at the bottom of his post on Saturday, the rail fare 'component' of sleeper fares has jumped 31%. Amtrak used to show sleeper accommodation fares separate from the rail fare component requiring perspective passengers to add the two together to get the total price. Now it's a single fare that includes both.

    For what it's worth, I did some fare comparisons for trips I did earlier this year and compared to the current prices for the same trip next year? WOW! It looks like I've been priced out of a number of future trips.

    t would appear that Mr Anderson is in the process of finding out 'what the market will bear' in terms of pricing. Like transit operators and airlines know well, every x percent of fare increase loses y percentage of passengers. Would anyone pay $1000 for a coach seat on the Lakeshore Ltd NYP to CHI? Of course not. At $50, they'll sell out in minutes. At $100, they'll sell out pretty fast.

    Between fares being too high and reduced amenities, including food, I think Anderson and crew will soon find out what prices fills beds and seats vs nearly empty cars.
     
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  5. Dec 13, 2019 #55

    F900ElCapitan

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    I agree, bumping the “rail fare” component of a sleeper to low bucket plus 1 is quite an increase all across the board. Not to mention the elimination of some low bucket fares, and in the case of the Texas Eagle bedrooms they eliminated the bottom two buckets. I am so glad I did the rail trip that I did in September as these fares may have priced me out of doing it.

    And as mentioned, this is on top of reducing meal service on the eastern trains. Something that is most definitely coming to the western trains in a year or two.
     
  6. Dec 13, 2019 #56

    James S. Fritz

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    As I wrote above the Amtrak fare I would pay BAL-TCL would be $587.60 next May 29, 2020. Just checked the competitor: Southwest Airlines. I can go BWI-BHM for $161.00 on May 29, 2020. So much for competition.
     
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  7. Dec 13, 2019 #57

    niemi24s

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    Your comparison is highly biased by quoting sleeper fares. The Saver Coach fare for BAL to TCL on 29 May is only $129!
     
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  8. Dec 13, 2019 #58

    James S. Fritz

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    I understand what you say niemi. On the other hand, I hardly consider it fair to compare sitting on any mode of transportation for 20+ hours in a cramped seat to a 2 1/2 hour ride in a cramped seat.
     
  9. Dec 13, 2019 #59

    Brian Battuello

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    To be fair to Amtrak, coach seats are almost as large as a domestic business class seat. Still 10 times as long though!
     
  10. Dec 13, 2019 #60

    niemi24s

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    [QUOTE="James S. Fritz, post: 827183, member: 15423". . .I hardly consider it fair to compare sitting on any mode of transportation for 20+ hours in a cramped seat . . .[/QUOTE]
    This comment leads me to believe you've never ridden Amtrak in Coach with its comparatively luxurious Coach seats and the ability to leave your seat and roam the train freely (except the sleepers). Not to mention you can actually see stuff outside the train windows - provided you don't spend all your waking hours poking at your PDA.
     
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  11. Dec 14, 2019 #61

    Michigan Mom

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    Regretfully, I am effectively priced out of the Meteor to Florida, possibly other LD routes although tend not to pay attention to the fares as much for the others. Now I don't take NEARLY as scientific an examination as others do here; more of an informal monitoring in the weeks and months ahead of a trip. So I don't know the percentage of fare increases, I do know the fares have gone up over the past several years. The other factor is advance booking and changes in refundability. We simply can't book far enough in advance, I have been lucky to obtain buy-in on scheduling a vacation even to be able to book three months in advance, from my son and daughter who now juggle different activities and commitments. Usually 4-6 weeks ahead of time is the norm, and with that time window, it boils down to flying, or Amtrak coach for shorter trips.
     
  12. Dec 14, 2019 #62

    jis

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    This comment leads me to believe you've never ridden Amtrak in Coach with its comparatively luxurious Coach seats and the ability to leave your seat and roam the train freely (except the sleepers). Not to mention you can actually see stuff outside the train windows - provided you don't spend all your waking hours poking at your PDA.[/QUOTE]

    Yeah but 20 hours is still 20 hours. I tend to agree with James’ position on comparisons as I have stated before too, even if one argues about crampedness of the seat or not for a while.
     
  13. Dec 16, 2019 #63

    Michigan Mom

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    In support of the data provided here... Last year CHI-NYP total for 3 passengers, 2 roomettes was $798. If memory serves... well actually it may not. I can't remember the coach/roomette breakdown. Anyway this year the lowest I can find on Amsnag is $910 for three people. Amsnag gives a breakdown for one person, 90$ coach and $383 roomette, on the app the pricing shows $320 being the calculated room cost since (since $270 is the quoted coach fare) so $270 + (320x2) for $910.
    So yeah basically 10% or so increase from last year. Because the rooms are already filling up... clearly it's not detering new bookings.
    If you're a single traveler with flexible dates, the new developments are probably not a deal breaker. For families with more specific dates needed, getting challenging plus the costs multiply. I'm holding out hope for the new multiple-passenger discount, have to look into. Not sure if it's automatically applied or if it was a limited time promotion.
     
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  14. Dec 16, 2019 #64

    F900ElCapitan

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    Yep, the price increase looks similar. I ran the trip on Amsnag to find the price and then looked at Amtrak to see their breakdown. I found the prices you are quoting but the break down looks a little different, which is consistent with the increase in the coach fare portion. For a roomette with one passenger, yes it does show $383 with a spit of $144 rail fare and $239 for the roomette which is consistent with Niemi24s chart for low bucket. Then for adding two people and another roomette the $910 holds and the breakdown is $144 X 3 = $432 for rail fare and $239 X 2 = $478 for the roomettes which totals $910. It’s the increase of the rail portion from low value to low value +1 that was the significant increase. Since the increase happened in November, I don’t know if anybody has watched any trains enough to definitively know the full impact. Of course Amtrak knows, but I’m sure they won’t say anytime soon.
     
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  15. Dec 17, 2019 #65

    niemi24s

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    Good memory! Here's the breakdown based on fares from the Dec 2018 fare chart: 3 low bucket Coach fares were 3 X $110 = $330 plus 2 low bucket Roomettes were 2 X $234 = $468 for a total of $330 + $468 = $798.

    So far, so good.

    While your $910 total is correct, the fares totaling it are off because the $90 Coach fare you used is the Saver fare and (provided there's no sale in progress) the Coach fare that goes with any sleeper is two buckets above the Saver fare. For the LSL or CARD that's currently $144 for each person (Coach fare with the > next to it on the chart in Post #52). Not sure what your ". . .shows $320 being the calculated room cost. . ." refers to but the current low bucket Roomette upcharge is $383 - $144 = $239 based on the data in Post #52 (in which the Coach fare with the > is included in the fares for all sleepers).

    So all this makes the current breakdown for three adults in two low bucket Roomettes: 3 higher bucket Coach fares is 3 X $144 = $432 plus 2 low bucket Roomettes is 2 X ($383 - $144) = 2 X $239 = $478 for a total of $432 + $478 = (ta da) $910! :)

    The increases were thus 31% in Coach fares ($110 to $144), 2% in Roomette upcharges ($234 to $239) and 14% in total fare ($798 to $910).

    FYI, the first several years of fare bucket charts showed just the upcharges for sleepers (no Coach fares included) because the original version of AmSnag reported them that way. When version 2.2 of AmSnag came out it showed 1 (or 2) adult Coach fares with any sleeper and I stubbornly deducted the low bucket Coach fare from the total sleeper fares so I could keep on as before. But those subtractions (as many as 185) got to be tiresome and a possible source of error . So starting with the 12 Nov 2019 version of the chart all sleeper buckets include one adult Coach fare, the one with the >.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
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  16. Dec 17, 2019 #66

    Michigan Mom

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    Your work is all the more impressive cause this is as confusing as all heck.
    The 90$ single coach fare ($270 for three passengers) was taken from the Amtrak booking app on my phone. Plugging in any random low bucket date from Amsnag, the App gives you two options: Coach from $270, and Rooms from $910. (For three adults the app will default to two roomettes). So It doesn't give you any type of breakdown, just the total charge. I was evidently applying a faulty assumption to explain the total. Also I should clarify, this is only looking at the LSL trip, not the Cardinal or other trip combos.

    For planning purposes, it's about $110 more for the same trip over last year. The price increases don't mean we won't take ANY LD trains...it does mean taking fewer, and waiting until I have enough AGR points. 31K and change would be required in lieu of $910.
     
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  17. Dec 17, 2019 #67

    niemi24s

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    There's nothing much about Amtrak fares that's simple. That $90 Saver Coach fare is usually only available two or more weeks prior to the travel date and is good only for a seat in Coach. You don't get the Saver fare (or the next one up, the $112 low bucket "Value" fare) when getting a sleeper of any type.

    The fare bucket structures for both direct trains between CHI and NYP are identical:

    26-7 Dec 2019 Amtrak Fare BucketsA.jpg

    Each next higher coach fare is increased by about 25% except for the top one which is increased by only about 2%. Each of the sleeper fares includes the $144 Coach fare with the >, so if you want to see what the Sleeper upcharges alone are, $144 must be subtracted from each of them. The average increases between sleeper upcharges are about $82 for Roomettes and $156 for Bedrooms.

    But all this goes out the window if there's a sale on. This Yooper lives so far from the closest Amtrak station and takes the train so seldom that I just don't keep track of Amtrak sales.
     
  18. Dec 17, 2019 #68

    Palmland

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    Looking at the chart above there is still a sizable difference between the Star and Meteor for roomettes, especially at higher buckets. For the budget minded, It’s almost a bargain if going FL to northeast and don’t mind cafe food (or bring your own).
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
  19. Dec 17, 2019 #69

    desertflyer

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    I just snagged a roomette for 1 person from Glenwood Springs to San Francisco for next month (low season) for $380. That is reasonable compared to the east coast fares. Yet Denver to Glenwood Springs was almost $200 for a roomette. The pricing is a bit hard to figure out. People are often shocked when they find out how much I pay to take Amtrak.
     
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  20. Dec 17, 2019 #70

    niemi24s

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    Both prices you quote are low bucket and the disparity in fares is made clearer by comparing the distances for each:

    • DEN to GSC is 185 miles for $187 or $1.01 per mile
    • GSC to EMY is 1215 miles for $378 or $0.31 per mile.

    Ridership may also have something to do with the disparity (travel nearly 7 times farther for only twice the money). In addition, some claim the shorter DEN to GSC route is the most scenic so perhaps "eye candy" comes with a premium price. Then there are economies of scale which give the longer route a cost per mile advantage.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2019
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  21. Dec 18, 2019 #71

    neroden

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    The fare difference between DEN-GSC and GSC-EMY is flat out demand. DEN-GSC is very popular, GSC-EMY is significantly weaker demand. If Amtrak could add extra cars just between Denver and Glenwood Springs, they probably would, but it's operationally impossible.
     
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  22. Dec 18, 2019 #72

    RSG

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    I encounter the same incredulity when I mention it to those I share the cost with. At the same point in time, there are many factors that make rail travel different, which I don't need to explain to anyone here. What I do say to those who invariably say something like "But I can fly so much cheaper!" is that they should enjoy doing so why it lasts, as the economics of the airline industry won't allow for the same type of fares forever, even with higher ancillary fees. It's already difficult to fly between San Francisco and Glenwood Springs (or vicinity), regardless of cost. In the future, it will be near impossible to do so commercially.
     
  23. Dec 29, 2019 #73

    F900ElCapitan

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    So to add on to the rail fare portion price increase, it appears the discounts for booking a bedroom at the 11 month fare release (roomettes are closer to the original policies) have largely disappeared. I played with AmSnag (mostly looking at the Chicago trains) this morning and found the SWC had the lowest offering at B2 (bucket 2), the Texas Eagle is at B3 (the lowest offered on this train at any time), the CZ is B4, and the rest are now offered at B5 (high bucket) until they decide to drop the price. It also appears the 5 month price evaluation has largely gone away (at least for bedrooms), the prices will still likely come down but the timing is different for each train.
     
  24. Dec 29, 2019 #74

    bratkinson

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    Back in November, I booked a roomette WAS -> CHI in February on the Capitol Ltd for $330. Almost 50% increase over the same trip in September! ($224) I keep checking Amsnag to see if the prices have come down. NOPE!

    Interestingly, ALL the prices for roomettes on the CAP for February are STILL the same...$330 across the board. In looking at January, about 1/3 of the roomettes have higher prices. In my opinion, the new higher prices have accomplished two of Andersons' goals...make Amtrak more 'profitable', and at the same time drive away LD passengers because of the higher prices! Seeing that February roomette sales haven't budged tells me they are NOT being sold other than the small number at the lowest bucket fare. Yes, I know that February is the slowest travel times of the year. But there STILL should be something other than low-bucket across the board. The Cardinal is only selling SOME of the rooms at other than low-bucket, too.

    Given the markedly higher prices for LD trains, Amtrak will definitely be seeing significantly less of me and getting less of my money, too. In short, Anderson wins.
     
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  25. Dec 29, 2019 #75

    F900ElCapitan

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    I’m not sure of all your travel details (number of people and discounts etc.), but according to Niemi’s chart $310 is the new low bucket rate for one adult. But, yes I agree with you that these higher rates are going to take a toll.

    Personally I can get my wife to ride the rails with me, but for a two night western train we much prefer the restroom and larger beds in a bedroom. I also didn’t mind being able to plan 11 months in advance and be able to get a low bucket or B1 price. But at high bucket it’s a no go for us, and a lot of times 4 to 5 months out planning can be difficult due to having to request vacation. If I do plan ahead, I can drive, stay at very nice hotels, and eat wherever we want or even fly paid first class and still come out ahead.
     
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