Reserved seating to be tested on NEC

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Re: Reserved seating to be tested on NEC

Postby SouthernRailway » Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:16 pm

This is good.

I took the Acela Express on the first day (I think) it ran, and I remember that I was able to reserve a seat in advance. The car even had lit numbers by seats. Someone else had taken my seat and got mad when I asked for it, though.
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Re: Reserved seating to be tested on NEC

Postby Arborwayfan » Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:23 pm

Here in Norway, the long-distance trains have reserved seating: Oslo-Trondheim, Oslo-Stavanger, Oslo-Bergen, Trondheim-Bodø. And a few of the shorter-distance trains that are infrequent or otherwise special (Raumabanen to Åndalsnes, for example). All the seats are reserved. No special charge; you go online or to a machine and you pick your seat from a diagram of the available cars. I think the conductor has the manifest on his-her electronic device, too, because I have seen them look up people who lost their tickets. Try choosing a seat here: https://www.nsb.no/en/frontpage. Put in one of the long-distance city pairs, choose a train, and choose your seat. On the shorter-distance trains -- ones that go maybe two hours or less -- as from Oslo S to Halden, Oslo S to Lillehammer, etc., the normal seats are not reserved but the NSB Comfort seats (read Business Class) are reserved.

There are no signs on the seats themselves, except the numbers. Most people board with tickets. Many buy them on their phones or computers and get seats assigned that way; many buy from machines and I know they get seats assigned. The few who get on the long-distance trains and need to buy a ticket talk to the conductor who directs them to a seat, as near as I can tell.

Amtrak should definitely NOT go to the system of selling reserved seats for an extra charge and indicating those seats somehow on board. Amtrak should just make all the seats reserved. Maybe Norwegian or Japanese trains arent FRA legal, but Norwegian or Japanese seating software should be fine off the shelf. Or, for that matter, Chilean long-distance bus seat reservation software. Make the reservation an automatic part of buying the ticket -- letting whoever wants to choose their seat and assigning the rest at random -- so that everyone who has a ticket has a seat.

The harder question is whether/how to restrict passenger choice of seats to ensure that you don't get situations where the train is never more than 70% full but there are no seats available from the originating station to the terminal station because every seat has been reserved for at least one segment somewhere along the way. Maybe you allow people to reserve seats together and window or aisle, but save the ability to fiddle the exact locations around a day or two before the trains leave? Or do you just have zones assigned to the most common trips, with software to adjust the zones (ie offer different cars or groups of seats) to match changing demand? Maybe they do that here in Norway, come to think of it. When I booked from Oslo towards Trondheim a while back I don't think I was offered the whole train to choose from. There were eight cars: two sets of four connected cars; impossible to pass between the two sets. Each set has about half a car of comfort, one family car, and the rest coach. I am pretty sure I was only shown two cars to choose from in coach, even though there were more like five coaches. Someone, somewhere, probably has mostly solved this software problem.
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Re: Reserved seating to be tested on NEC

Postby Stephen B. Carey » Fri Feb 02, 2018 6:24 pm

In my experience in England, it has seemed to work well, but there the trains are much more frequent and many times in a set consist of one or two EMU or DMU sets. Also it seems that even though many people have assigned seats not everyone (including my wife and I on our first trip) even use them. It wasn't really a problem because the train wasn't too full. With Amtrak constantly running at capacity and the Amfleets constantly changing, for example a business class car in as a regular coach, it could be a problem. That being said i like the Idea on the very fixed consist Acela's and I think it would be much easier to implement.
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Re: Reserved seating to be tested on NEC

Postby ryanov » Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:17 am

The LCDs are still there on Acela. They’ve just all said *EMPTY* for more than 10 years now.
|=| R. Novosielski |=|
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Re: Reserved seating to be tested on NEC

Postby electricron » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:33 am

Stephen B. Carey wrote:In my experience in England, it has seemed to work well, but there the trains are much more frequent and many times in a set consist of one or two EMU or DMU sets. Also it seems that even though many people have assigned seats not everyone (including my wife and I on our first trip) even use them. It wasn't really a problem because the train wasn't too full. With Amtrak constantly running at capacity and the Amfleets constantly changing, for example a business class car in as a regular coach, it could be a problem. That being said i like the Idea on the very fixed consist Acela's and I think it would be much easier to implement.

Excellent point. One of the reasons why Amtrak sleepers are easy to assign seats is because they are all the same with the same number rooms and roomettes on each of the double and single deck cars. The few exceptions are used on just the Auto Train, and they too are identical to each another. It's variability that makes using assigned seats difficult to implement.
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Re: Reserved seating to be tested on NEC

Postby dowlingm » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:14 pm

VIA Rail Business Class is reserved seating, as is most Econ services on the Corridor
http://www.viarail.ca/en/travel-informa ... assignment
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