Amtrak Riverside Call Center to Close - Jan 2019

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by rtabern, Nov 14, 2018.

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  1. Nov 14, 2018 #1

    rtabern

    rtabern

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    My friend who works at the Riverside Amtrak Call Center just got called into the meeting room over lunch --- and was told the ENTIRE Riverside call center will be shut down and everyone will lose their jobs effective January 18. Get ready for super long wait times!  I get that call centers are somewhat of a dying business, but feel bad for my friend because both he and his wife's income come from there. I don't see them moving clear across the country either to take a job in PA.
     
  2. Nov 14, 2018 #2

    flitcraft

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    Oh, no. That's awful for the folks directly affected!  It's also a drag for us customers. HUACA will really be inconvenient now if you happen to get an agent who doesn't know something or who gets a policy wrong.  Bummer...
     
  3. Nov 14, 2018 #3

    cpotisch

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    Roughly what percentage of USA-RAIL agents work at this call center?
     
  4. Nov 14, 2018 #4

    west point

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    Its great Amtrak is consolidating all its reservation system into one location.   They can save what $10M / year. Now what happens when the first major winter storm shuts down all traffic to / from the system reservation system ?  Then  it will cost Amtrak $10M per storm day in lost revenue !
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2018
  5. Nov 15, 2018 #5

    GBNorman

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    Aren't  Call Center positions occupied by employees of Amtrak and covered by Agreement? As such, they should have seniority to exercise closer to home than  at the remaining Bensalem center.
     
  6. Nov 15, 2018 #6

    PRR 60

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    The Philadelphia Center is in Philadelphia, not Bensalem.
     
  7. Nov 15, 2018 #7

    Acela150

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    No it's not great!! These are union jobs! 

    I can actually see people calling out cause of the snow. Technically it's an "essential" job. But good luck telling Mr. Anderson that. 

    Correct Bill! It is right off of The Roosevelt Boulevard. I won't give the street address, but the Zip Code is 19116. Having the zip will hopefully help you out with an idea on where it is. ;)  About 3 minutes away is the City/County Line. 
     
  8. Nov 15, 2018 #8

    Acela150

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    They are covered by a Union Agreement. BUT to exercise seniority elsewhere they need to be qualified on something else e.g. ticket agent. Really their only choice is to move to Philly if they so desire. But I don't see people moving across the country for their job.  
     
  9. Nov 15, 2018 #9

    tonijustine

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    I am curious...is there a reason that these positions can’t be telecommute positions? If Union members are able to transfer to Philadelphia but don’t want to relocate, why can’t they just do this remotely? The technology exists.
     
  10. Nov 15, 2018 #10

    Acela150

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    I believe it's almost 50% of the AGR agents, Regular Agents, and a bunch of behind the scenes agents that no one knows exists. 
     
  11. Nov 15, 2018 #11

    Acela150

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    Yes. But I can't go into details. 
     
  12. Nov 15, 2018 #12

    RebelRider

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    A new, non-union, call center was recently opened in Florida.
     
  13. Nov 15, 2018 #13

    cpotisch

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    Nearly 50% of basically all Amtrak agents work at the call center they're about to close? Yikes. :unsure:
     
  14. Nov 15, 2018 #14

    Mr2nr

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    I'm amazed if they all ready don't have contracts in the works for offshore outsourced call centers now. This is one of the few companies that still uses domestic call centers other than Credit Cards and Banks. **** even the Post office throws everyone a 1800 number now which is just a recording. Such a shame the way companies think that a one on one conversation is a waste of their time.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 15, 2018
  15. Nov 15, 2018 #15

    Acela150

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    I certainly wouldn't be surprised. But do you have some type of proof of such? 
     
  16. Nov 15, 2018 #16

    Triley

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    It has....and supposedly they screw up everything they touch, don't know policies, etc...
    It's contracted out.
     
  17. Nov 15, 2018 #17

    bretton88

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    That happens when the contract first starts. My company did the same thing to our service desk (it now runs from a center in Phoenix). After a few months the bugs have been worked out, but it was a pretty rocky transition.
     
  18. Nov 15, 2018 #18

    TiBike

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    Judging by the accent, that might have been the call center I recently spoke with. Told me once I couldn't book a bicycle on the Surfliner if I was transferring to a Thruway at Santa Barbara. Then told me twice, emphatically. Then, for the third time I showed them what emphatic was, and they figured it out :).
     
  19. Nov 15, 2018 #19

    neroden

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    Seriously?  They put it somewhere not accessible by passenger rail?  :sigh: 
     
  20. Nov 15, 2018 #20

    F900ElCapitan

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    I’m glad I’ve got my next trip booked and in the rooms I want. This will make things much more difficult. 
     
  21. Nov 15, 2018 #21

    Seaboard92

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    I'm opposed to farming out the jobs to a non Union call center because that means they are devaluing the craft that remains, and it's being used as a union busting technique. Yes I understand Amtrak is a "business" and has to do things for money.

    But Amtrak really is in a rather strange place being both public service and a business. On one hand it provides essential rural service to underserved American towns but it's also expected to make money.

    But that isn't related to the actual issue. It seams to me the current administration in Amtrak is a believer in cut to profitability which is why I think they are a horrible lot of people.

    First they farm out the call center, next they will farm out LSA's and food service, and eventually they will target the operating department.

    Why pay an engineer the high union wages Amtrak currently pays when you can farm it out to some shortline like the Lancaster and Chester who isn't Union to do the job for less. In a sense turning Amtrak into a mainline airline with an agreement with regional airlines.

    So you would just buy your ticket from Amtrak but in reality it would be a train operated by (insert non Union company here). And sure some of you think I'm crazy for this thought thinking it can never happen. But I don't see any barriers to why it can't happen in a piecemeal form.

    Plenty of shortlines have access to Class One tracks as it stands as part of trackage rights agreements some have more access than others. But if they were operating under Amtrak's umbrella as contractors for Amtrak it's technically doable.

    Sure the union would put up a fight but at the same time as many states are "Right to Work" it could be doable to replace Union shops.

    So by closing the Riverside Call Center to replace good paying Union jobs with a bunch of scabs from a third party company is a slippery slope. And not one I want to start going down.

    Before to long it'll be bye bye OBS, and operations. Let's just be glad Anderson and Gardner haven't seen how the Piedmont runs with vending machines yet. We don't need to become the Southern Pacific.

    #saveamtrakfireanderson
    #sendthegardnerbacktothegarden
    #saveourcraftsfireanderson
     
  22. Nov 15, 2018 #22

    cpotisch

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    But I feel like that's always been the norm for Amtrak phone agents...
     
  23. Nov 15, 2018 #23

    Karl1459

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    I suspect that the NEED (as apposed to a nice to have) for a call center had dropped dramatically with online purchase of tickets, so where 10 years ago 2 centers made sense today only one does.

    In a perfect world where union and management could sing in harmony (rather than alternating shooting themselves in the foot) utilizing todays technology to distribute the remaining call center duties to small town station agents might just provide a high level of customer service at reasonable cost. Cut bank(?) or Winona(?) or some of the other stations that have lost agents could reopen, but the agents primary job would be call taking.
     
  24. Nov 15, 2018 #24

    cpotisch

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    Perhaps, but since I almost always have to wait MANY minutes to get to an agent whenever I call USA-RAIL, I think that they really need more, not less.
     
  25. Nov 15, 2018 #25

    bmjhagen9426

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    My college's finance guy once said "We can't cut our way to success".

    This can also go against the principle of .99999 uptime rule (downtime less than 315.16 seconds out of 31536000).

    At least I can still buy my tickets at my local station (My local station is SAC, which is 2nd busiest in California).
     

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