Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

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electricron
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by electricron » Fri May 01, 2015 6:43 pm

Ridgefielder wrote: Yes, but- the Atlantic and the Pacific are a lot wider than the Florida Straits. It's 220 miles from Miami to Havana: that's almost exactly the same as the distance from Hull to Rotterdam across the North Sea, a route that has a daily overnight sailing. And don't forget- once the ship is in international waters you can open the casino... I could definitely see this being a popular vacation concept-- board in Miami, stow your car in the hold, put your luggage in your cabin then head to the nightclub or go gamble away as you steam through the night toward Havana. :wink:

What I guess I don't see, though, is how it would tie into Amtrak, unfortunately. I don't think I'm going to be settling into my compartment on The Havana Special at Penn Station anytime soon. :-)
There aren't many packing Amtrak trains to take a cruise to the casinos at Atlantis in Nassau! That I'm in complete agreement with you.

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TrainPhotos
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by TrainPhotos » Fri May 01, 2015 8:40 pm

electricron wrote:
Ridgefielder wrote: Yes, but- the Atlantic and the Pacific are a lot wider than the Florida Straits. It's 220 miles from Miami to Havana: that's almost exactly the same as the distance from Hull to Rotterdam across the North Sea, a route that has a daily overnight sailing. And don't forget- once the ship is in international waters you can open the casino... I could definitely see this being a popular vacation concept-- board in Miami, stow your car in the hold, put your luggage in your cabin then head to the nightclub or go gamble away as you steam through the night toward Havana. :wink:

What I guess I don't see, though, is how it would tie into Amtrak, unfortunately. I don't think I'm going to be settling into my compartment on The Havana Special at Penn Station anytime soon. :-)
There aren't many packing Amtrak trains to take a cruise to the casinos at Atlantis in Nassau! That I'm in complete agreement with you.
Interesting you mention this!! I ran into twins with matching luggage going to the bayonne cruise terminal on my way to the climate march last september. They stood out, because the majority of the passengers on that train were headed to the same place as I with banners and signs. :)

I do know a few people who take the silver meteor down to florida from trenton to go on 5-7 day cruises on a semi-annual basis. I can't speak to how many in the gulf states do this "train to the ship". Perhaps there are some stats floating around out there which we could post here?
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electricron
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by electricron » Fri May 01, 2015 9:14 pm

TrainPhotos wrote: Interesting you mention this!! I ran into twins with matching luggage going to the bayonne cruise terminal on my way to the climate march last september. They stood out, because the majority of the passengers on that train were headed to the same place as I with banners and signs. :)

I do know a few people who take the silver meteor down to florida from trenton to go on 5-7 day cruises on a semi-annual basis. I can't speak to how many in the gulf states do this "train to the ship". Perhaps there are some stats floating around out there which we could post here?
There's 4,000 or so New Yorkers taking a NCL cruise ship to the Bahamas and Florida every week, sometimes there are two NCL cruise ships carrying 8,000 passengers making that run each week. There's no way two Amtrak Silver trains can equal that in just one week.

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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by gokeefe » Fri May 01, 2015 9:41 pm

Ridgefielder wrote:What I guess I don't see, though, is how it would tie into Amtrak, unfortunately. I don't think I'm going to be settling into my compartment on The Havana Special at Penn Station anytime soon. :-)
Probably not but if you want to get your car down to Florida without having to drive it the entire way to Miami the Auto Train becomes a rather attractive option that is under 4 hours drive from the Port of Miami Ferry Terminal (1015 N America Way, Miami).

For the moment I think there is a really strong point to be made that the Auto Train stands to see a significant increase in business from travel to Cuba. Although I would agree that rentals on the island would be the usual means of transportation I am not convinced that there will initially be enough or that they will be reasonably priced. I really do think there could be a lot of people who want to travel in Cuba with their own automobiles. Perhaps even more with RVs.
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by David Benton » Fri May 01, 2015 9:42 pm

I would have thought Immigration would put paid to any boat links from Cuba. At least in the near future.
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by gokeefe » Fri May 01, 2015 9:50 pm

David Benton wrote:I would have thought Immigration would put paid to any boat links from Cuba. At least in the near future.
David,

I think the typo is "postponed".

Regardless, I think the collective sense of the situation for those members participating in this thread is that currently nothing is off the table and all options are open and expected to be pursued as fast as reasonably possible.

This is a transformational moment in the making for not only the Cuban economy but South Florida as well. No one really knows what the economic effect on Florida will be. I strongly suspect it will be positive, very positive but only time will tell. In the meantime I think a lot of over priced property in Miami is going to lose some value (again!...) while the Cuban real estate market slowly creaks open.
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by David Benton » Fri May 01, 2015 9:56 pm

Sorry George, I used an english expression, "put paid to".
Basically means put a stop to .

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/put+paid+to" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by gokeefe » Fri May 01, 2015 10:33 pm

David Benton wrote:Sorry George, I used an english expression, "put paid to".
Basically means put a stop to .

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/put+paid+to" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Ah...thank you for the "translation".... :-D

Well anyways....I do think things are proceeding forward as quickly as possible and nothing is off the table. For all we can tell the President could be going on vacation in Havana next year (yes, it really does look as if it will be that wide open).
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by george matthews » Sat May 02, 2015 1:21 pm

Well anyways....I do think things are proceeding forward as quickly as possible and nothing is off the table. For all we can tell the President could be going on vacation in Havana next year (yes, it really does look as if it will be that wide open).
I hope Cuba will not be the destination for the Mafia. The Revolution was at least in part a reaction to the treatment the Cubans received at the hands of American criminals.

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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by philipmartin » Sat May 02, 2015 6:26 pm

David Benton wrote:Sorry George, I used an english expression, "put paid to".
Basically means put a stop to .

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/put+paid+to" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
That expression is used in "the land of the free and the home of the brave," also, David. We speak pidgin
English here. (I wouldn't call Cuba the "land of the free" though.)

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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by Cowford » Sun May 03, 2015 8:31 am

For the moment I think there is a really strong point to be made that the Auto Train stands to see a significant increase in business from travel to Cuba. Although I would agree that rentals on the island would be the usual means of transportation I am not convinced that there will initially be enough or that they will be reasonably priced. I really do think there could be a lot of people who want to travel in Cuba with their own automobiles. Perhaps even more with RVs.
George, where is the strong point?
* While I agree that a rental car infrastructure in Cuba probably needs development, it is a comparatively simple task.
* Expense? It costs ~$400/RT to ship a vehicle on the Auto Train, and, using the Novastar ferry as a proxy, about $200 for the ferry portion. So, you have a $600 bogey to overcome right there. I just looked up some rental car prices in Puerto Rico... about $35/day. Hard to believe Cuba would be much different... and Googling Havana car rentals shows it isn't.
* If the RV market is the sweet spot, Auto Train can't handle them.
* Another thing to consider: Security. Driving across the border to Canada is a no-brainer. However, would you take your vehicle to Mexico? I'm sure many would be concerned about theft (or at least the insurance requirements associated with taking an auto to such a foreign country).
* It's a foreign country, subject to temporary import permits, fees, time restrictions, etc. More pain in the butt stuff that would discourage many a tourista.

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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by Noel Weaver » Sun May 03, 2015 2:14 pm

The only place I think Amtrak MIGHT benefit would be Cubans traveling to the US. Cuba still has an extensive rail network with quite a few passenger trains as well so it is not as if Cubans do not ride trains because they obviously still do. Just within Florida and even with very limited service Amtrak still has daylight service between Miami - Tampa - Jacksonville and Orlando at least once a day and people do ride these trains just within Florida, I see it when I take a ride down to the Fort Lauderdale Station or up to Deerfield. If Amtrak is to benefit from this I think it will be more for Cubans coming to the US rather than US citizens going to Cuba. I think you will have non-stop flights between New York and Havana as well as most of the other large northeast airports as well and certainly from both Miami and Fort Lauderdale and probably most of the other major airports here in Florida as well. If I were younger and in better health, I would love to fly down to Havana and check out the passenger trains of Cuba.
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by Ridgefielder » Wed May 06, 2015 11:37 am

Well, this might not be germane to Amtrak as a whole, but it certainly is to this thread:
Wall Street Journal wrote:US Permits Ferry Service to Cuba
The U.S. Treasury granted licenses to four American companies to operate ferry services to Cuba for the first time in more than half a century, potentially bringing the former Cold War antagonists closer together....

"We are in contact with the Cuban authorities to get the necessary clearance for an approved port, which ideally will be Havana," said Alexander Panagopolous, owner of Athens-based dry-bulk operator Arista Shipping, who teamed up with American cruise-industry veteran Bruce Nierenberg to form Miami-based United Caribbean Lines. The new company got its license on Tuesday....

Apart from United Caribbean, the Treaasury granted licenses to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Havana Ferry Partners LLC, San Juan, Puerto Rico-based American Cruise Ferries Inc., and Baja Ferries USA LLC, which is based in Coconut Grove, Fla...
More here, including a cool 1950's ad for FL-Cuba service, behind a paywall: http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-permits ... 1430874884" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by gokeefe » Wed May 06, 2015 12:25 pm

From the same article:
Palm Beach-based West India Fruit & Steamship Co., owned by legendary ship operator by Daniel E. Taylor, managed ferry services to Havana from 1946 to 1961. Apart from people and cars, the ferries moved cargo on railcars.

“Our last ship, the City of Havana, had room for 500 passengers, 125 cars and eight railcars,” said Brian T. Kirkpatrick, Mr. Taylor’s grandson, who is a senior executive of a composites company located near Palm Beach.
That would give a whole new meaning to Havana Special.
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by mtuandrew » Wed May 06, 2015 3:43 pm

Ridgefielder: I cross-posted your article to the FEC Miami Port Line thread. Suspect it'd be applicable there too, to freight ops.

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