Travel by Amtrak bus - without the train segment!

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Trainmans daughter, Jul 27, 2010.

Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

  1. Jul 27, 2010 #1

    Trainmans daughter

    Trainmans daughter

    Trainmans daughter

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2009
    Messages:
    987
    Location:
    Paradise, CA.
    I have a friend who bought a round-trip ticket from Chico to Davis. She only wants to go to Sacramento (a thruway bus segment)so has no intention of getting on the train from SAC to Davis.

    This has me kind of confused. On one hand, Amtrak is not a bus company and will not issue bus-only tickets. So what my friend is doing could be considered dishonest. However, she has bought a train ticket (SAC to Davis)and has paid for a service which she will not receive.

    I told her to just buy a Greyhound ticket, but their schedule doesn't meet her needs. (She has a doctor appt in Sacramento and her car is not dependable).

    Is my friend scamming Amtrak or simply using their services (and paying fairly for them) to accomodate her needs?
     
  2. Jul 27, 2010 #2

    zephyr17

    z

    zephyr17

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Messages:
    3,795
    Location:
    Washington State
    Don't blame Amtrak. It is California state law that they can't sell bus only tickets between most points, including Chico/Sac. Since Amtrak California is subsidized by state tax money, they didn't want it to be in direct bus competition with "private" Greyhound services.

    You aren't scamming anyone, and it isn't dishonest. You are just paying some money to get around a silly state law. Talk to your state legislator.
     
  3. Jul 27, 2010 #3

    George Harris

    G

    George Harris

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2006
    Messages:
    5,027
    Location:
    now in California
    Since the person is paying a fare to a point beyond her destination, I see no attempt to cheat anybody here. I have heard that there are a lot of tickets sold between Los Angeles and Wasco for the same reason; by law, any ticket sale that involves a California Amtrak bus must include a rail portion. (Wasco is the first train stop north of Bakersfield.)
     
  4. Jul 27, 2010 #4

    gswager

    g

    gswager

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2002
    Messages:
    2,788
    Location:
    Portales, NM
    I've done it few times. Sadly, I didn't get 100 AGR points on that rail segment since the ticket wasn't lifted by conductor.
     
  5. Jul 27, 2010 #5

    railiner

    railiner

    railiner

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Messages:
    7,068
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    I believe there are a couple of legal exceptions to this rule, primarily where there are little or no private bus alternatives.

    This regulation sort of reminds me of the Vessel Passenger Services Act, sometimes erroneously referred to as the "Jones Act" which restricts foreign built and/or registered ships from carrying passengers between U.S. ports. At one time it served a purpose...to protect domestic shipping from cheap foreign competition, but nowadays it is irrelevant, as for few exceptions, there is no more domestic shipping. So passengers who wish to cruise from, say Los Angeles to Seattle, must continue on to Vancouver, B.C. to get around the law.

    In the intercity bus industry, deregulation has hurt the "legacy" carriers such as Greyhound. At one time, they were strictly regulated, and were expected to "cross-subsidize" themself by getting protection on strong mainline routes in exchange for running unprofitable local rural routes.

    Since deregulation, many cut-rate operators, running from street corners instead of terminals, have 'cherry-picked' these busy routes while ignoring the rural routes. Continental Trailways went out of business, selling out to Greyhound, and Greyhound gave up running the local routes unless they received a state subsidy in a few places. In other places, rural counties and transportation districts were formed to try to continue some semblance of service for the elderly or others who could not drive utilizing vans and/or minibuses.
     
  6. Jul 27, 2010 #6

    tp49

    t

    tp49

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2002
    Messages:
    2,735
    I don't see how this is a legal exception to California's rule. California's rule applies to a state run service that operates solely intrastate.
     
  7. Jul 27, 2010 #7

    tp49

    t

    tp49

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2002
    Messages:
    2,735
    I wouldn't call it scamming either. She's just using the existing rules to her advantage. I had to do this earlier this year when I had to go to Oroville for a meeting and my car was in the shop. I bought a round trip rail ticket from Davis to SAC with a SAC to Oroville bus ticket included. I got on the bus at SAC then went to Oroville and came back the same day. Used the rail ticket a couple of weeks later when I had something to do in Davis.

    It's similar to what people used to do with airlines until the ticketing rules changed. People would travel to Chicago and price a trip from SFO to Chicago and SFO to Milwaukee. They'd buy the round trip to Milwaukee if it was cheaper and not use the connection from Chicago to Milwaukee and would return from Chicago to SFO. The airlines caught wind of this and will now void the return leg of the trip for those who do this.
     
  8. Jul 27, 2010 #8

    gregoryla

    g

    gregoryla

    Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2009
    Messages:
    141
    The one exception to the rule that I am aware of is Sacramento to South Lake Tahoe (inlcuding Placerville and Stateline) -- California law allows bus-only trip on that route.

    I'm actually taking that bus next week, though will be taking the CC 524 from EMY to SAC. Believe it's a guaranteed connection from the 524 to the bus.
     
  9. Jul 27, 2010 #9

    buck1108

    b

    buck1108

    Train Attendant

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    Messages:
    99
    Well, from the way the question was asked, it sounds like your friend has paid above and beyond to get a simple bus ride. No scamming, as far as I can see. :blink:
     
  10. Jul 27, 2010 #10

    BeckysBarn

    B

    BeckysBarn

    Lead Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Messages:
    292
    Location:
    Middle of an Illinois corn field
    I don't think it's just California law. In Illinois, you can't do a bus segment alone. If I want to get to GBB from SPI, I must go to CHI, even though the bus from SPI to GBB is quicker & cheaper.
     
  11. Jul 27, 2010 #11

    George Harris

    G

    George Harris

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2006
    Messages:
    5,027
    Location:
    now in California
    And you think that the California legislature was lobbied into passing the restriction into law, and the Illinois legislature wcould not be lobbied into passing a similar law. Come to think, it was probably easier in Illinois. Just write a few checks to appropriate people. Who was it that said that "An honest politician is one that stays bought after you bribe him?"
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2010
  12. Jul 27, 2010 #12

    Rail Freak

    Rail Freak

    Rail Freak

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2008
    Messages:
    4,831
    Location:
    Tampa Bay, Florida
    Down here, if the politicians dont stay honest, we just play around with the Ballot Boxes, [​IMG] !!!
     
  13. Jul 29, 2010 #13

    sechs

    s

    sechs

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2005
    Messages:
    2,146
    Location:
    ATL
    As intimated, it has nothing to do with state support and everything to do with private bus services. The bus companies lobbied for and received the requirement that state-supported routes require a train segment.
    Interstate and national system bus routes are not covered by this requirement.
     
  14. Jul 29, 2010 #14

    daveyb99

    d

    daveyb99

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    Messages:
    910
    Location:
    Grapevine, TX
    Airlines call this "Hidden City" fares, or "throw-away" ticketing.

    Same would apply at AMTRAK (even though I can not find such a reference in their policies)

    But I bet it would be very difficult to enforce should they ever figure it out.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 29, 2010
  15. Jul 31, 2010 #15

    sechs

    s

    sechs

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2005
    Messages:
    2,146
    Location:
    ATL
    I guess it's only throw-away ticketing if your throw away the rail ticket.

    I've had no issue booking a bus with a train leaving a different day, or, even, a bus that didn't connect to the train for which I way buying a ticket. That makes it real easy to get a usable train ticket.

    I would think that Amtrak's only concern would be if you're displacing a through passenger, which, based on my experience, seems unlikely. The state only really cares that the routes at least break even. (That LA-Bakersfield route makes money!)
     
  16. Sep 15, 2013 #16

    Mai

    M

    Mai

    Guest

    I really hate this new law for Amtrak. I was very upset about this. Sometimes I only need to take the bus, but now I cannot because of this law- Greyhound does not even go to where I want to go. Huh.. This is ridiculous.
     
  17. Sep 15, 2013 #17

    Ryan

    Ryan

    Ryan

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Messages:
    16,790
    Location:
    OTN
    Uh, there's nothing new about this law, you've replied to a thread that's 3 years old and the restriction was in place long before that.
     
  18. Sep 15, 2013 #18

    railiner

    railiner

    railiner

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Messages:
    7,068
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Since someone dragged up this old thread, I would agree that the law should be further revised to allow Amtrak Thruway Bus only travel for all the routes that either have no alternate or inadequate private bus service. Perhaps to be fair, they should consider offering a small subsidy to any carrier already operating at least one service on the route already, to add additional service?
     
  19. Sep 16, 2013 #19

    calwatch

    c

    calwatch

    Lead Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Messages:
    427
    Each exemption is done on an one off basis.But, from an Amtrak Operations perspective, keeping the buses Amtrak customer only can allow for faster running times. For example, the Redwood Coast bus routinely runs ahead of schedule northbound, because it doesn't have to stop at all of the little towns - and southbound, they can check for reservations and close down a stop if they had to, like they did Labor Day weekend for the Bay Bridge, in order to avoid using congested Highway 37 (they skipped everything south of Santa Rosa so they could still try to make the San Joaquin connection).
     

Share This Page



arrow_white