Decisions (Amtrak vs Greyhound, DEN to ORL)?

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by snljamie0518, Aug 29, 2019.

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  1. Sep 1, 2019 #26

    drdumont

    drdumont

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    Random search? Someone narc'ed you? How odd.

    If they are commissioned peace officers, carry weapons, I guess they have the drop on you. IF they are not peace officers, but merely employees of the railroad, I guess they have the right to refuse carriage unless you comply with legal requests.

    In any case, I'd sure try to get all the info I could, and raise Hell with management ASAP. The question of money, or "why Amtrak and not fly?" seems fishy. 'Twould urinify me greatly.

    But in the cold grey light of dawn, good luck with getting any useful response out of management.

    I'm sorry you had that kind of issue. They sounded way out of line, and indeed I have never had an encounter like that.

    For awhile, in Phila 30th Street station, Amtrak police with dogs would watch the lines at the head of the escalators to the tracks, and I saw one or two carry ons looked into. Then I didn't see it afterwards. That's the most overt police presence I have noticed.
     
  2. Sep 1, 2019 #27

    pennyk

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    crescent-zephyr's experience is not that unusual. I have heard (and read here on AU) about many similar instances. I believe it happens more often to men who are traveling alone on a one way ticket (as opposed to a roundtrip ticket).
    It is my understanding that Amtrak Police are law enforcement officers that carry weapons.
     
  3. Sep 1, 2019 #28

    crescent-zephyr

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    Basically... if you fit a certain demographic and are traveling solo with an itinerary that would match that of a drug runner... you will be flagged, questioned, and searched. I regularly plan to be in the diner or lounge during the extended stops in Reno and Albuquerque to avoid such questioning. By the way I'm white.. I'm not claiming racial profiling... indeed I was most likely treated better since I'm white.
     
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  4. Sep 1, 2019 #29

    crescent-zephyr

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    Yes exactly. It's also men who fit the age range of the usual drug runners. If you are above a certain age you probably won't be questioned the same way (though I'm not sure what that magical age is).
     
  5. Sep 1, 2019 #30

    crescent-zephyr

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    I've had some OK trips on greyhound. The actual bus ride is usually ok... it's the stations that just feel pretty questionable. Again.. some are ok. And in some cases they are the same as Amtrak (Albuquerque, Indianapolis, etc.).

    I actually think there is a great need for a luxury bus service in this country like VonLane in Texas.
     
  6. Sep 1, 2019 #31

    Seaboard92

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    My theory on people. There are some good, some bad, some great, and some despicable of all walks of life. I generally prefer people who are middle class and lower class.
     
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  7. Sep 1, 2019 #32

    chakk

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    Washington Union Station is a few city blocks from the US Capitol bldg and the Supreme Court. It is more than one mile away from the White House, Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Holocaust Museum, and many others.
     
  8. Sep 1, 2019 #33

    AmtrakBlue

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    Though I've not used them, there are "tour" buses that stop at many monuments. You can get on and off as often as you want, I believe. I don't know how ADA compliant they are.
     
  9. Sep 1, 2019 #34

    Cho Cho Charlie

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    The newer busses which are being heralded as being the best for wheelchair accessibility, still don't really offer much. Here is a state-of-the-art design, which simply restricts wheelchair passengers to the lower level vestibule.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Sep 2, 2019 #35

    Chey

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    I can't fly either. Greyhound with your husband is better than Greyhound alone. But Amtrak is WAAAY better and worth the extra money. For MANY reasons, especially if you look at the itinerary. Spend the extra money, it's well worth it.
     
  11. Sep 2, 2019 #36

    snljamie0518

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    Are they free tour buses?
     
  12. Sep 2, 2019 #37

    pennyk

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    no
     
  13. Sep 2, 2019 #38

    tricia

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    Smithsonian and the Mall is also a few blocks from Amtrak. They're long blocks, though, and museum visits tend to involve a good bit of walking in addition.
     
  14. Sep 2, 2019 #39

    crescent-zephyr

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    The Postal Museum is free and right next door. Union Station itself is worth exploring both inside and out.
     
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  15. Sep 2, 2019 #40

    Willbridge

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    One thing that surprised me the first time I rode south of Washington, DC is how much one can see from the train in passing. It's brief, but gives the flavor of the architecture.
     
  16. Sep 3, 2019 #41

    jebr

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    I mean, sure, if you list all the positives about Amtrak and all the negatives about the others (without balancing out with the positives for the others and the negatives for Amtrak,) Amtrak would certainly look good. :)

    However, Greyhound and the airlines both have positives, and Amtrak definitely has negatives. For the bus, it's cheap, usually more frequent and faster than Amtrak, and there's more stops (especially when including partner bus companies that you can buy tickets for online through Greyhound.) I wouldn't consider the seats especially narrow, though for whatever reason I can't get comfortable in them for a long journey. It's definitely doable for a few hours, though.

    Speaking of which, they were able to bail us out when Amtrak had a huge snafu on my trip home last year. For whatever reason, Amtrak refused to hold our connection from the Capitol Limited to the Empire Builder, even though we were in the station at 2:13 PM and the Builder doesn't depart until 2:15 PM. A 10-minute delay, if that, would have had us on schedule and on our train home. Instead, Amtrak had such poor communication that even with signage and staff up directing people to the Builder, the train left without us! It didn't help that our SCA refused to let people off until he meticulously set off every carry-on bag onto the platform, even though we mentioned our tight connection to him. Amtrak offered us a room for the night and space on the next day's train, but that's still a 24-hour delay to get home. Luckily, Greyhound was able to cross-honor our tickets, and the Greyhound agent at Union Station was able to book us on the 3:45 PM bus from the bus stop to Minneapolis. We didn't get in until around 2:30 AM, but at least we were home that same day. The whole experience has kinda soured me from doing very-long-distance trips on Amtrak, though, especially if I care at all about my timetable to get where I want to be.

    Also, I will say that Amtrak's equipment isn't as well-kept up as it should be, which can result in broken equipment, non-functional A/C, and some unpleasant experiences. Staff attitudes also range widely; I've had some amazing staff along my trips, and I've also had some terrible staff. Most are at least decent, and there's some that truly go above and beyond, but the percentage of less-than-decent staff is definitely higher than I've found on the airlines (or even with Megabus.)

    As for the airlines, while the TSA certainly is annoying, it sounds like Amtrak Police aren't much better if you happen to fit whatever profile they're looking for. With Pre-check it's no worse than going through security at a sporting event or going into many government buildings. Meanwhile, the food I've had on board an airplane is generally edible (in fact, the snacks provided on shorter flights are generally name-brand snacks that I enjoy.) I've also had less delays on airlines than on Amtrak, and Amtrak seems to be just as prone to weather cancellations. My needs are also a lot less on a 2-4 hour flight than they are on a 24-48 hour (or more) train ride. A 2-4 hour flight, for me, only requires coach (and since I'm okay with any seat, I can use the basic economy tickets and save more money) and no food service, while a 24-48 hour train ride requires a roomette and meals, since I'll be sleeping on the train and going through multiple meal periods. Even with some rest time involved (which I don't seem to need much of, at least outside of what specific flight times I've chosen and the lack of sleep because of my choices there) it's significantly faster than the train, often cheaper, and has similar or better delay/cancellation recovery than Amtrak does. (Hey, if you want the Amtrak experience in the sky, choose the Big Front Seat on Spirit. Other than the TSA, it's pretty comparable to Amtrak coach! :) )

    That all said, if the airlines aren't your jam, then I'd definitely take Amtrak for a long trip over Greyhound unless the cost is prohibitive. It's definitely a more comfortable experience, and Amtrak seems to at least have the option of falling back on bus service if needed.
     
  17. Sep 3, 2019 #42

    snljamie0518

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    What do you see from the train in passing? Does the train go slow enough to take photos?
     
  18. Sep 3, 2019 #43

    snljamie0518

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    Has anyone here run into a political person in or around the station? How about a news reporter?
     
  19. Sep 3, 2019 #44

    snljamie0518

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    Thank you for telling the negative part of AMTRAK too. There is always something good or bad about things.
     
  20. Sep 3, 2019 #45

    Pere Flyer

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    I was just there last week Wednesday connecting from Capitol Limited No. 30 to NER No. 178. I saw no recognizable politicians or news reporters, though in the ClubAcela I overheard a phone conversation from a woman talking about “safe passage with the Saudis.” Likely a mid-ranking public servant from the Pentagon, or an envoy from a global corporation with business in the Arabian Peninsula.
    I visited the Postal Museum during my short layover and highly recommend it.
     
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  21. Sep 4, 2019 #46

    F900ElCapitan

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  22. Sep 4, 2019 #47

    snljamie0518

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    This doesn't have an option for handicapped.
     
  23. Sep 4, 2019 #48

    ehbowen

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    If you qualify to reserve the accessible bedroom due to a mobility impairment, the price will be the same as for a Roomette. (Coach fares are always the same.) However, Amsnag won't show you availability of the accessible accommodations; once you find a date with a promising price you'll need to contact Amtrak directly to confirm availability and reserve.
     
  24. Sep 4, 2019 #49

    AmtrakBlue

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    She doesn’t need to call. On the Amtrak website she would select Person (or Passenger) with Disability instead of adult. This will take her to a page to select type of disability & what type of chair she has. Then the next page will show the “select train” page with the handicap rooms as an option (if available).
     
  25. Sep 4, 2019 #50

    Seaboard92

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    I’ve bumped into several high profile representatives, senators, and governors in my time working out of DC Union Station on private cars. Usually I just give them a polite nod and continue on my way. On other cases I’m serving them dinner on board a PV on one of the tracks.
     
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