Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by joelkfla, Feb 2, 2019.
Why is a roomette on the Cardinal $350 more than one on the CL?
Supply and demand.
OK then, why is demand so much higher on the Cardinal?
Unlike the Capitol, it's tiny, single-level, thrice-weekly, and only has one sleeper. The Cardinal's overall capacity really is a small fraction of that of the Capitol, and so the price reflects that.
It operates less frequently and has a smaller number of sleeper cars which themselves have a lower capacity.
OK, that makes sense. So it's more the supply side than the demand side. I was wondering whether there was something about it that made it so much more desirable. Thanks.
Well, to try and make everyone happy, demand relative to supply.....
Personally if i had the time i would go the Cardinal and pay the extra- you get a longer more scenic trip- which suits train fans like me perfectly.
I might for $100, but $350 is a lot of bucks. And that appears to be at the same bucket level.
The Cardinal is a train serving the cities of NY, PHI , CIN, IND HUN, and CHI among others. As such it serves most of those cities as a direct train. If you are traveling from NYP, EWR or PHL there is no layover or need to change trains. This may be a reason why sleeper space is so expensive. Also when the Cardinal runs only one sleeper, three or four of the roomettes are given to the crew. Given the limited availability of the of sleepers in the Viewliner there is your supply and demand situation.
If you do decide to take the Cardinal between DC and Chicago, but want to do it only once, take it eastbound from Chicago to DC. You get to wake up to the loveliest, gentlest scenery--West VIrginia in the morning--which you will miss part of if you go westbound because you go through some of it in the dark.
Losing 25% or more of the revenue roomettes to crew when running with a single sleeper is a prime reason so many of us would like to see a bag dorm instead of a regular bag on that train.
Appearances can be deceiving - very deceiving when it comes to Amtrak fares
Everybody here seems to think they are economists with a full knowledge of Amtraks fare structure. I, however, just present the facts:
• The Coach fare buckets for the Cardinal from WAS to CHI are exactly the same as those on the Capitol Limited and the low bucket Coach fare on both is $102.
• The low bucket Roomette upcharge for the Cardinal from WAS to CHI is $223 and is $173 for the Capitol Limited
• So a low bucket Roomette on the Cardinal is only ($102 + $223) - ($102 + $173) = $325 - $275 = $50 more than a low bucket Roomette on the Capitol Limited - and NOT $350! (FWIW, $357 is the difference between a high bucket Roomette on the Cardinal and a low bucket one on the Capitol Limited).
• That $50 more for the Cardinal is 18.2% more than the Capitol Limited
• But the 922 mile route length of the Cardinal from WAS to CHI just happens to be 18.2% longer than the the Capitol Limiteds 780 mile route length.
So is the reason for this paltry $50 difference due to supply and demand or simply a longer route? Or due to something else? I, personally, don't care about the "why" of the matter - only the facts of the matter.
Plus it's "what the market will bear".
Marketing 101...when you have the only game in town, you can charge whatever someone is willing to pay. Witness $5,000 super bowl tickets.
Marketing 'rules' for maximum profit indicate you keep raising prices until the demand weakens. Then drop it a tad to fill all the rooms.
Does the scenery on the Capitol route have anything to recommend it or is there just no scenery there?
Eastbound has some nice scenery in the morning after Pittsburg. Westbound it's dark when you get there.
While all this Economics 101 bazanga may have something to do with which of five buckets is offered for a certain accommodation on a certain train on a certain date, I don't think it has much (if anything) to do with the OPs original question "Why is a roomette on the Cardinal $350 more than one on the CL?". Closer scrutiny showed the question should have been "Why is a low bucket Roomette on the Cardinal $50 more than one on the CL?"
There may have been some Econ 101 skulduggery afoot when the fare structures for these two trains was set up years ago but as I don't really know I won't spout anything pseudo-scientific to explain it. All I can offer is a quote from former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien who quipped "Economics has been called the dismal science. Once you get to understand it, you may not find it so dismal, but you don't find it much of a science either."
The point I made (or was at least trying to make) in my original post was that supply and demand is the reason why on whatever date the OP was looking at, the price is $350 more on the Card. The actual respective buckets for each train are actually pretty close to each other, so it's due to the availability and how many people have booked, that the price difference will be that great.
So the point of my supply and demand "Economics 101 bazanga" very much does have relevance here.
Yeah, every day in the time range I looked at, the Cardinal Roomette is $357 more than the CL, even though the CL fare varies. So I rashly assumed that both trains were at the same bucket level. But I expanded my search, and now I find one single solitary day when there's only a $129 difference, so clearly my assumption was invalid.
Actually I'm looking at traveling from ORL to SF via the Zephyr, probably in May. The 3rd option to Chi is staying on the Meteor to NYP and taking the LSL to Chi, which is $122 more on most days. Opinions? LSL would be running up the Hudson in daylight; CL would be going thru Cumberland about an hour before sunset. Is the scenery good around Cumberland?
(I should add that I was comparing fares for the whole trip, not just WAS to CHI, so it's possible the CL was always at low bucket and the variation was on the other legs.)
From my experience, If you are traveling westbound in the summer months it may be worth the extra rate, but, if you are traveling in the winter it gets dark early and you miss a lot of scenery.
That has been my experience as well. Clearly there is more at work here. I disagree that the question, for your purposes, should be, “Why is a low bucket Roomette on the Cardinal $50 more than one on the CL?". You’ve demonstrated why that would be a mere academic exercise with no practical application. Your original question made a lot of sense. I agree with others that it’s largely the result of limited supply in relation to demand.
No, the OP is interested in why there is a price difference between the two trains.
The academia behind what the different fare buckets are helps to answer that question, but at the end of the day when you pay for a train ticket, it's the price offered that matters. Other buckets are irrelevant.
In this particular case, the supply and demand drive not only the bucket for bucket fare differences, but the fact that lower bucket rooms are available on the Cap, whilst only higher level buckets are available on the Card. If that $300 difference is unimportant to you, feel free to send me that unimportant $300 anytime you wish.
He can send the $300 to me if he doesn't want to send it to you.
It’s been a while since I was on the CL but I seem to recall that a large portion of the trip through the Maryland panhandle is along the Potomac River. Also before you get to Cumberland, you will pass through the scenic and historic town of Harpers Ferry.
How about the three of us split it 100-100-100.
Separate names with a comma.