Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

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scoostraw
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by scoostraw » Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:10 pm

NYC to Pittsfield on Trailways is 32 bucks.

Arlington
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by Arlington » Sat Mar 02, 2019 4:03 pm

Greg Moore wrote:Hmm, if only there was a site that you could use to look up Amtrak prices... one where you could select, a set of city pairs, and a time and date...

Plugging such data into such a mythical site gets back a variety of costs, ranging from $45-$63 dollars (for value fairs) and $67-$85 for business class
Sadly it's impossible to tell through your cloud of snark whether you actually looked up Summer Friday afternoons, booked, not 4 months in advance, but more like one plans a June weekend in late May.

I had hoped that someone with a feel for summer Friday weekend trips to Albany might offer some insight.

same goes for bus fares I don't think February prices give us insight to what people's summer weekend getaway options are.
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Greg Moore
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by Greg Moore » Sat Mar 02, 2019 5:04 pm

Someone did. I did.
First of all, a lot of the target audience for this route would not be booking a June weekend in May, but would be doing so weeks or months in advance. You underestimate the number of weekenders in the area.
That said, booking 4 months in advance gives a "best case" scenario in terms of pricing. If you want an idea of what pricing a week or two in advance, you can get that now. There's really not in my experience a summer premium.

My point is, that the prices suggested aren't out of the ordinary at all. And then said suggesting only a $2 premium for an extra hour of travel really isn't fiscally sound, which is surprising coming from one who generally suggesting Amtrak has to be more fiscally responsible.
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Arlington
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by Arlington » Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:31 pm

Greg Moore wrote:My point is, that the prices suggested aren't out of the ordinary at all..

So, directly put, what would you say is a good estimate of the typical fare NYP-ALB for a Summer Friday PM Northbound, by people buying it the "typical" time in advance for such summer trips? $45 to $63 is a big range vs the articles single "$75" number.

In the end, the problem is a lot like the problem NNEPRA had with the considered-and-rejected Downeaster summer weekend extension to Rockland:
1) If the current route sells out, the extension must either
- add a section, but then all other sections will have emptied at their usual termnius and you run the whole rest of the train empty even though the new coach is full
- Extension riders must outbid a current customer to get their seat (politically painful, and expensive for ticket prices, since each "new" PIT customer would squeeze an existing ALB customer off. In this case, yes, a $2 premium would kill the economics.

2) If the current train happens to have many empty seats--like half-empty--then that's a huge win since you just fill them with as people who'd want to go NYP-PIT, and it runs full to ALB and half-full to PIT.

3) But If the current train has a small number of empty seats it probably looks too much like #1...the only seats occupied ALB-PIT will be those that'd have been previously empty NYP-ALB.
Greg Moore wrote:And then said suggesting only a $2 premium for an extra hour of travel really isn't fiscally sound, which is surprising coming from one who generally suggesting Amtrak has to be more fiscally responsible.
Under PRIIA, Amtrak is going to charge MA to operate the extension, and MA will take most of the business risk of a $2 premium. Anything Mass attempts is going to be a win for Amtrak, unless Mass is so stupid as to insist that PIT fares be BELOW ALB fares, in which case ALB people will just buy a PIT ticket, get off early, and Mass' money will have been entirely wasted.
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Greg Moore
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by Greg Moore » Sun Mar 03, 2019 2:22 pm

I think $75 is a fairly fair price, especially if that's the walk up price.
I suspect we're not seeing the entire pricing structure at this time (it's over a year out of course) so I suspect we'll see a $10-$15 premium.

Which, for the target crowd, isn't bad at all.
It's not as cheap as the bus (and probably a bit slower) but that demographic is more towards the college student, recent grad who doesn't have much money. And they're not going to be the ones working in the city summering in the Berkshires.

The demographic here is the one that has some flexibility in hours (hence the early leave time on Friday) and extra money and value comfort and the convenience of a single-seat ride to the Berkshires.
The real key will definitely be what's available at the other end: enough, bus, taxi, Uber, Lyft. I suspect too some of the demographic will include "other partner who doesn't go to the city, and hence has a car available."

I have a lot of hope for this service, and do hope NYS would get on board with a stop in Chatham, it's a natural addition.

I also think ultimately a quick stop at the state line might be a worthy addition. While traditionally I don't think it was ever a stop there, the junction of Rte 22 and the NYS Thruway/Mass Pike there provide an obvious pick up/drop off spot for access to other parts of the Berkshires (such as West Stockbridge, etc.)
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Re: Pittsfield - New York City Service Study (via Albany)

Post by njt/mnrrbuff » Sun Mar 03, 2019 3:06 pm

While $75 for a one way ticket might be a little steep, it's not terrible. Many people who are vacationing in the Berkshires can probably afford the extra money for a direct seasonal train to Pittsfield. If you don't like the fare and still want to take an Amtrak train, then get off Amtrak in Rennselaer or Hudson. Many people will still probably be doing that. I know in the short term, I may have a trip or two planned to the Berkshires-Great Barrington. I might also, on one of the trips, ride the Berkshire Scenic RR out of N. Adams. Depending on what the scenarios for where I will be will depend on where I will get off. I'm thinking if there are buses that run from Pittsfield to N. Adams, then I will take the train to Pittsfield. If there is a bus from ALB, then I might also just stick with that.

It would be nice to have an infill stop for the seasonal service in or around Chatham. It's not just the Berkshires where people spend summer weekends. People might rent houses just over the NY/MA State Line along I-90 and they could benefit from the seasonal train.

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