Amtrak reducing/eliminating discounts effective Jan 9?

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, Amtrak67 of America, Tadman, gprimr1

Re: Amtrak reducing/eliminating discounts effective Jan 9?

Postby David Benton » Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:56 pm

That's a good tip , PRR60.
It would be nice to be able to take the kids, with cousins or friends, to the zoo without feeling I may have to extend the mortgage !.
Moderator worldwide railfan , Rail travel & trip reports
The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.
User avatar
David Benton
 
Posts: 7989
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Amtrak reducing/eliminating discounts effective Jan 9?

Postby AgentSkelly » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:55 am

Again, I’m an AAA Oregon/Idaho Employee.

I have confirmed it is indeed true. There will be no AAA discount past February 2018.
New Westminster to Amtrak 516, whats up with the extra 4 axles, over?
AgentSkelly
 
Posts: 1427
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2005 10:05 pm
Location: BNSF Vancouver Terminal

Re: Amtrak reducing/eliminating discounts effective Jan 9?

Postby Suburban Station » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:39 am

BandA wrote:https://www.transit.dot.gov/regulations-and-guidance/civil-rights-ada/frequently-asked-questions#41
Under 49 U.S.C. Section 5307(d)(1)(D) of the Federal Transit Act, federally subsidized transit providers may not charge more than half of the peak fare for fixed route transit during off-peak hours for seniors, people with disabilities, and Medicare cardholders.
I thought Amtrak & CR are regulated by the FRA rather than the FTA. Previous poster stated that the Downeaster receives FTA subsidies, so they are on-the-hook. What is "off-peak hours" for Amtrak? Doesn't make sense for LD trains, sold out trains or really any assigned-seating trains or demand-priced trains.

Providing discounts for welfare, old people, young people, students, veterans, military, and associations/clubs are all nice-to-have, but we need to stop thinking of transit as a welfare benefit, but rather valuable infrastructure that folks are glad to pay market price for.

the Keystone is in the same boat as the Downeaster. I actually don't think providing discounted rides for children has anything to do with thinking of transportation as a welfare benefit. the PRR had generous companion fare and child discounts in its day. it's a wise move to fill seats and get around the group fare problem. that is, while selling the fare to one person may be competitive at a higher price, you become less and less competitive as you add people to the group. trains are not planes so filling extra capacity makes sense. seniors likewise have time but a fixed income. remember, this isn't like someone going from NY to LA where flying is the only realistic option, LA-SD competes with cars and buses. It's scenic and pleasant but not fast. I think cutting back on fare discounts is wise generally but the restricting the not very generous child discounts seems foolish.
Suburban Station
 
Posts: 3213
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2007 5:11 pm

Re: Amtrak reducing/eliminating discounts effective Jan 9?

Postby gokeefe » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:20 am

One of the big issues here is that the basic tariff is what covers the NEC. They are capacity constrained and can get more revenue from those trains if they make these changes. Unfortunately for everyone else this becomes a problem on trains and/or services that are not perennially SRO.
gokeefe
User avatar
gokeefe
 
Posts: 10208
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:28 pm
Location: Winthrop, Maine

Re: Amtrak reducing/eliminating discounts effective Jan 9?

Postby JPoland » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:26 am

Amtrak is telling people to have less kids and use birth control? One Kid One Parent One discount? I assume the way around this is as your in the ticket line let the person behind you in the ticket line borrow your kid and get the discount.
JPoland
 
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:30 pm

Re: Amtrak reducing/eliminating discounts effective Jan 9?

Postby JPoland » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:28 am

S what about the Veterans Advantage Card-https://www.veteransadvantage.com/
JPoland
 
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:30 pm

Re: Amtrak reducing/eliminating discounts effective Jan 9?

Postby Arlington » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:11 pm

Discounts should only be offered as a way of enticing marginal trips onto Amtrak. Discounting is only a "win" when enough "new people" ride to make up for the fact that a certain number of $ get lost as "regular people" grab a discount who would have ridden anyway(without a discount).

Discounts get offered because each targeted group has a good reason for NOT travelling Amtrak, and Amtrak wanted to nudge them onto trains, without offering a blanket discount to people who don't need it (eg. high income and business travelers)/

dumpster.penguin wrote: Historically, the AAA discount was good for the railroad because it invited skeptics aboard.

That's how I interpreted it: Every AAA member has access to a car--and so much devotion to car travel that they think AAA is worth joining.

Having a car and being willing to use it, AAA members are/were freer to NOT choose Amtrak than the average person. A targeted discount had the potential to nudge trips that were highly-likely to have been made by car to rail instead. But maybe too many habitual users were using the AAA discount, versus not enough "first-timers" being enticed in. Amtrak likely has good data showing that AAA had dried up as a source of converts and was mostly giving back too many dollars to the converted.

Senior, student, & military discounts all theoretically target people with limited discretionary income. Children generally have no income at all. These discounts were a way of selectively enticing price-sensitive discretionary trips onto Amtrak that high "normal" prices might have scared away. I'd also note that while leisure venues (museums, theaters, theme parks) offer kids discounts, they seem to be fading with at least airlines (offered only to "lap babies" and not for "real seats")

As Tadman says, given fixed supply and growing demand, the *only* logical response is to raise prices. If you read the MPRs (are they back online?) it is pretty clear that the main way that Amtrak has been improving its performance in a period of stagnant (full) ridership, is plain old fare hikes.

Maybe they simply figured that their undiscounted prices are about where they need to be, but that the discounted prices were not enticing enough marginal riders. The message to the lowest-fare customers is: if you like Amtrak pay more (the normal prices everyone else is paying), if you prioritize being cheap, well, Amtrak would rather sell to someone who, ahem, likes Amtrak.

Most of the comments here have the flavor of: "I can see why you'd want to take other people's discounts, but not mine!" The reality is that if you'd have traveled without the discount, it was bad strategy on Amtrak's part to offer it to you.

Personally, I've used both the AAA and the 2-kids-with-me discounts, and the reality is that without them, I'd still have made the train trip. And 50% is a pretty big discount--almost any other passenger would pay for that 2nd kid's seat. Amtrak was leaving money on the table at a time when overall they're (still) losing money. Amtrak is fixing that.

The net effect is that ridership will look more mid-career businessey and a little less backpack-and-flipflop.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn
Arlington
 
Posts: 3415
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2004 7:51 am
Location: Medford MA (was Arlington MA and Arlington VA)

Re: Amtrak reducing/eliminating discounts effective Jan 9?

Postby gokeefe » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:14 pm

JPoland wrote:S what about the Veterans Advantage Card-https://www.veteransadvantage.com/


Toast as far as we know. What has not changed however (to my knowledge) is the ability to take the disabled fare if you have a VA Healthcare card that shows "service connected".
gokeefe
User avatar
gokeefe
 
Posts: 10208
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:28 pm
Location: Winthrop, Maine

Re: Amtrak reducing/eliminating discounts effective Jan 9?

Postby David Benton » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:45 pm

I think the reasoning behind the kids fare is similer to the AAA reason. If the kids are full price, its cheaper to drive. This way, you get to sell the equivalent of 2 fares, for an adult and 2 kids , even if it takes 3 seats.
Amtrak is not at capacity all the time, perhaps they should only offer these discounts when the train is not full.
Moderator worldwide railfan , Rail travel & trip reports
The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.
User avatar
David Benton
 
Posts: 7989
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Amtrak reducing/eliminating discounts effective Jan 9?

Postby Suburban Station » Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:38 pm

David Benton wrote:I think the reasoning behind the kids fare is similer to the AAA reason. If the kids are full price, its cheaper to drive. This way, you get to sell the equivalent of 2 fares, for an adult and 2 kids , even if it takes 3 seats.
Amtrak is not at capacity all the time, perhaps they should only offer these discounts when the train is not full.

Bingo.
Suburban Station
 
Posts: 3213
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2007 5:11 pm

Re: Amtrak reducing/eliminating discounts effective Jan 9?

Postby sicariis » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:56 pm

Emailed RPA and asked about the future of their Amtrak discount and received the following response:

Thank you for your inquiry. As of now there are no plans to scrap the RPA discount program. I hope this helps. Have a great day!
sicariis
 
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 8:24 pm
Location: Newmarket, NH

Previous

Return to Amtrak

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot], Ken W2KB, swist and 9 guests