Richard Anderson quote 11/5

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Amtrakfflyer, Nov 6, 2019.

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  1. Nov 6, 2019 #1

    Amtrakfflyer

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    “Traveling on one of our trains has never been just about the destination - the journey is part of the adventure," Amtrak President and CEO Richard Anderson told Travel + Leisure on Tuesday. “With more than 500 destinations nationwide, customers can witness some of the best sightseeing opportunities the United States has to offer while traveling with ease to family, friends and loved ones.”

    https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/amtrak-having-major-sale-long-173959093.html

    To be honest he didn’t mention food, comfort or ANY amenities. Cleverly setting the bar low. The comments to the article caught that as well.
     
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  2. Nov 7, 2019 #2

    dlagrua

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    If Anderson's mission is to increase ridership, he has to focus on the benefits of train travel for much more than just the scenery. For instance if you take a trip on the CZ from CHI to DEN most of the "scenery" is just flat farm land.
     
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  3. Nov 7, 2019 #3

    Palmetto

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    And if you like pine trees, you like the Silver Service.
     
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  4. Nov 9, 2019 #4

    dogbert617

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    Well, maybe Mr. Anderson and other higher-up execs on Amtrak shouldn't be cutting traditional dining car service on a growing number of long distance trains, if they want to encourage ridership on the trains! All cutting dining cars will do is either push people who originally would've considered a sleeper car trip on Amtrak to drive instead, or only ride coach on Amtrak and not upgrade to a sleeper. As I'm thinking about doing(only ride in coach and not a sleeper sadly to say), for the CONO leg of a possible CONO-Sunset Limited-Texas Eagle trip I may do very soon. I will still consider upgrading to a sleeper for the other 2 trains(providing the cost to upgrade isn't too expensive), however.

    And on a side note, the cost to upgrade from coach to sleeper was why I decided against doing that this past summer when I rode #7/27(Empire Builder) west to Glacier National Park in Montana, but chose to do so(as the cost to upgrade wasn't as expensive) on #8/28 going back. It's okay that on #7/27 going west that I only rode in coach, since I still had a very great trip!

    Like I said above, the 'Amtrak journey' Richard Anderson allegedly wants to promote won't be as great, if you cut dining car service! Never mind I am aware that the former Rep. John Mica amendment that requires dining car and food service losses need to be very greatly cut back, is a barrier to keeping traditional dining car service and needs to be repealed.
     
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  5. Nov 9, 2019 #5

    JRR

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    Cutting the cost of F&B service deals with only one aspect of the equation. No mention of the revenue side or how it is calculated. One can just as easily cut losses by increasing the revenue side and with The expensive sleeper, the answer is allocating the proper amount of F&B revenue from the cost of the ticket!
     
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  6. Nov 9, 2019 #6

    west point

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    It seems to this poster that with the lack of space on the diner eligible trains that cutting back diner service at present is not going to hurt ridership very much ? Now is Amtrak can ever increase train length beyond the now regular 9 car trains then attracting more passengers might be in order by restoring diners ? A standard 3 sleeper east coast train might have enough vacancies to require a full diner. The Meteor might even be able to fill 5 - 6 sleepers if diner(s) on train. Also when the Siemens coaches finally add capacity what then ?
     
  7. Nov 9, 2019 #7

    jis

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    (Un)fortunately, the current order of Siemens Coaches and even the order that comes out of the Amfleet I replacement RFP won't add much capacity to the LD trains. So they have little relevance to LD train capacity deployment, unless some displaced Amfleet Is and Horizons get deployed in LD trains. The net new capacity in LD trains for now will be the 25 additional Sleepers, and a handful of Superliner Coaches released from Corridor duty, for the time being.
     
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  8. Nov 9, 2019 #8

    ref5035

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    Hi jis..

    What additional 25 additional super liner sleepers and coaches are you referring too .?

    When are they to be out in service and where ?
     
  9. Nov 9, 2019 #9

    MARC Rider

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    Hey, there are some cool cypress swamps you pass through, too.
     
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  10. Nov 9, 2019 #10

    Palmetto

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    Okay, I'll give you that!
     
  11. Nov 9, 2019 #11

    chrsjrcj

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    I believe the additional 25 sleepers jis is referring to are the single level Viewliner II sleepers.
     
  12. Nov 9, 2019 #12

    jis

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    Who said anything about Superliner Sleepers? The 25 Sleepers that are coming in are Viewliner Sleepers which will get deployed on single level LD trains East of the Mississippi.

    The Siemens Coaches currently on order are for corridor service in California and Midwest.

    The next order for single level Coaches will be the result of the RFP that is out for the replacement of Amfleet Is. The outcome of that may be a mix of trailer Coaches and E/D/DEMUs. We'll just have to wait and see.

    When the Siemens Coaches are deployed in the Midwest and California a handful of Superliner Coaches that are deployed for Corridor service there will be released for reallocation to LD trains. Also a bunch of corridor Coaches will get released which can be redeployed somewhere, including after some alteration of the interiors, on single level LD trains, though many of them are pretty much close to life expired and will probably be disposed off.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
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  13. Nov 10, 2019 #13

    dogbert617

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    Amtrak has always had fishy ways, with how they properly attribute revenue that comes from their train operations. Not sure why, but from what I read about Amtrak, I have no doubt that has long occurred with them over a lot of years.
     
  14. Nov 10, 2019 #14

    me_little_me

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    I enjoy the scenery so much, it doesn't bother me that I can't have a decent meal. NOT! We skipped the train on our last Eastern trip that ended a few days ago after experiencing Contemptible Dining on the first trip at the beginning of last month. We didn't drive as slow as Amtrak does but we covered about the same number of miles a day and ate a lot healthier. Overnight LD in the East is now out unless it's a small part of a Western trip. We'll drive enough to make eastern part short.
     
  15. Nov 10, 2019 #15

    Ryan

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    I'm not sure that I would count the current method as "fishy". The menu cost of food consumed by those in the sleepers is properly counted as revenue for the dining car.

    Adding a bunch of made up revenue for food not consumed would be fishy, but some would love to cook the books to make things look better.
     
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  16. Nov 10, 2019 #16

    dogbert617

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    Maybe that has been properly been attributed in recent years vs. years ago, relating to the dining car, but I'm talking about other things too where I get a weird sense Amtrak execs and higher ups were 'cooking the books'. I.e. with revenue from long distance trains, etc. It's one of those things where if you read a lot of articles, I can't help but wonder if something bad is going on behind the scenes in a fishy way.
     
  17. Nov 11, 2019 #17

    tonys96

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    If all food consumed (bought) by sleeper pax costs are put toward the revenue to F&B, as noted above, and that cost is already "cooked" into the sleeper ticket, then all Amtrak needs to do in order to increase diner "revenue", is to increase the menu prices if the food in the diner.
    The REAL revenue will not increase, but F&B will.

    Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy.
     
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  18. Nov 11, 2019 #18

    Ryan

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    Unless you're riding on coach and actually have to pay those prices.

    I suppose that the books can more easily be cooked by jacking up "prices" on the new "contemporary" meals, since there is no menu price for them.
     
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  19. Nov 11, 2019 #19

    jis

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    Unfortunately there is still an imputed price of those meals that are notionally charged to staff members who consume them. For "cooking the books the way we foody railfans like" purposes I suppose the price of each of those meals could be set to $100 and have significant part of the ticket (in some case all of it) transferred to F&B. But that likely won't pass muster of any self respecting Auditor. And that would also make the train losses higher making the entire train a bigger target for termination. So we will land up with a lot of great food served on non-existent trains. :p
     
  20. Nov 11, 2019 #20

    neroden

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    The Western trains with proper dining cars? Yes. That's accounted for reasonably.

    But the "Contemporary dining"? They aren't tracking any food consumed at breakfast. If they're allocating even a single dollar of revenue from the sleepers to the food, they're cooking the books to make the food service look more "profitable" and the sleepers look less "profitable".

    That appears to be what they're doing with "contemporary dining" breakfast.

    Like Mr. Anderson and Mr. Gardner?

    I currently believe that this is one of the deliberate purposes of the dumbass "contemporary dining" scheme.

    They could have provided decent, nutritional food while doing it though. Would have cost about the same to provide real oatmeal rather than pre-sugared oatmeal. They chose not to. This is starting to seem like a deliberate attempt to drive passengers away.
     
  21. Nov 11, 2019 #21

    neroden

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    Most of the criminally phony accounting is on the "costs" side. Ticket prices are harder to falsify. Costs are falsified routinely by Amtrak.

    https://www.railpassengers.org/happ...e-accounting-fatally-flawed-misleading-wrong/
     
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  22. Nov 16, 2019 #22

    JRR

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    When you buy a sleeper ticket, the price you pay includes the meals. Thus, the price you pay is the revenue AMTRAK receives. To properly allocate the portion of that revenue to F&B is not made up revenue but proper accounting.

    To only count the price that a coach passenger would pay for that meal (this only applies to western LD trains now) as revenue makes no sense.

    For example, if on a particular trip one would have three meals but the passenger didn’t eat any meal, Amtrak would show no revenue for F&B, even though in fact, they received full F&B revenue when the ticket is bought.

    A passenger not eating does not cut the revenue AMTRAK receives but actually lowers food costs and improves the bottom line.
     
  23. Nov 16, 2019 #23

    jis

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    You know? Even if you state your position a million times here that is not going to change a thing. But if it makes you feel better, I guess there is some good that comes out of it. :D

    These allocation rules are crafted through some mysterious process involving Amtrak, FRA and the Volpe Center. The only things that can change these things is either if you know someone influential in that mysterious chain of action, or if Congress might get into the business of micromanaging at that level. I am not sure getting Congress to micromanage at that level is a good idea. Mica started doing that at a slightly higher level and got us into this mess to start with.

    The right approach I think is to get Congress to remove that egregious piece of micromanagement that Mica threw in and let Amtrak freely decide what is the right level of food service to maximize the revenue stream for its trains for an acceptable mix of costs, and let it manage F&B costs as an integral part of the cost of running service, just like it does for managing toilet service and water delivery service and such. It is utter insanity to try to run the F&B service on trains as an independent P&L center. There is no reason for us to buy into it as a given and then figure out ways to polish the turd.
     
  24. Nov 16, 2019 #24

    Amtrakfflyer

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    Which RPA doesn’t want to touch unfortunately (the food mandate).
     
  25. Nov 16, 2019 #25

    jis

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    And your source for this piece of revelation is what? I know for a fact that they are actively working on making sure that it is reversed in the new Authorization. They tried to get it removed through language in Appropriations for the last three years but each time the authors of the Appropriation bill refused saying that an Appropriation Bill is not the right vehicle to modify Authorization (even though there are examples where that has been done). The sad thing really is that it slipped through at the last moment into the PRRIA/FAST Bill and in the last minute shuffle no one could be found to at least try to file an amendment. The next best thing that could be done was to get Mica removed from Congress, which was achieve. But the damage was already done.
     
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