Amtrak Fare and Availability Discussion Thread

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

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, Amtrak67 of America, Tadman, gprimr1

Greg Moore
Posts: 5400
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 12:15 am
Location: IT Consultant

Re: New Amtrak Fare Structure

Post by Greg Moore » Wed Sep 18, 2013 9:03 pm

R36 Combine Coach wrote:This is more in line with European fares, major airlines and even Greyhound.
Which means I don't like it. ;-)

I think it's getting too complicated. But, it will probably work well to maximize revenue.
Check out QuiCR, Quick, Crowdsourced Responses for businesses.

Gilbert B Norman
Posts: 14116
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:52 am
Location: Clarendon Hills, IL (BNSF Chicago Sub; MP 18.71)

Re: New Amtrak Fare Structure

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:34 am

It certainly appears Amtrak did this overhaul 'on the QT'.

Go to the Rail Europe site, ring up any pair of major cities, and you will find the format to be markedly similar.

TomNelligan
Posts: 3321
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 5:43 pm
Location: Massachusetts

Re: New Amtrak Fare Structure

Post by TomNelligan » Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:08 am

So I assume this marks the end of hidden "fare buckets" where fares simply rise as tickets are sold?

skibum77
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:30 pm

Re: New Amtrak Fare Structure

Post by skibum77 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:02 am

Not quite. I did see some variation in pricing still when I was playing around with dates on the Illinois corridors.

JimBoylan
Posts: 3318
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:33 pm

Re: New Amtrak Fare Structure

Post by JimBoylan » Thu Sep 19, 2013 1:35 pm

TomNelligan wrote:So I assume this marks the end of hidden "fare buckets" where fares simply rise as tickets are sold?
The hidden buckets are in the value fares and room charges, which will rise until sold out. Saver and Flexible fares seem to stay the same until sold out.
I wonder what happens to unsold Saver fare space after it expires? Also, if the higher priced spaces sell out 1st, because riders want the refund option, will the remaining Saver seats be converted immediately, before they expire? Which does Amtrak want more, the higher price or the No Refund rule?

ThirdRail7
Posts: 4090
Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:07 pm

Re: New Amtrak Fare Structure

Post by ThirdRail7 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:36 pm

Greg Moore wrote:
R36 Combine Coach wrote:This is more in line with European fares, major airlines and even Greyhound.
Which means I don't like it. ;-)

I think it's getting too complicated. But, it will probably work well to maximize revenue.
I'm with you. I liked the days where you could walk up to a train and if the lower fare was available, it was your for the taking. Once a service starts becoming annoying and convoluted, people will look at the options.
I want my road foreman!

JimBoylan
Posts: 3318
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:33 pm

Re: New Amtrak Fare Structure

Post by JimBoylan » Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:57 pm

Be careful when booking parties of more than 1 passenger. If there are not enough low priced seats or rooms, as the case may be, all of the passengers will be ticketed at a higher price. If you book a party of 8, and there are 2 Saver seats and 6 value seats available, the party will be charged the high Flexible fare. I'm not sure what the computer does if there are only 7 of them available!
With Sleeping rooms, it's worse. If you book a party of 2, and there is only 1 low priced room available, you will be charged a higher price, even if you take just 1 room! Check out the Cardinal, which seems to have just 1 Sleeping Car. There are NO roomettes at the lowest bucket, 1 at the 2nd lowest, and 2 at the 2nd highest bucket. There are only 2 Bedrooms on that train, so a party of 7 or 8 is always told that there are no accommodations available if Bedrooms are chosen. (14 days before departure, the Handicapped Room is changed to a Bedroom if unsold, so a party of 5 or 6 might get lucky them.)
The Lake Shore Limited's New York section, which seems to have 2 Sleeping Cars, has 1 roomette at the lowest bucket, 3 at the 2nd lowest, and at least 4 at the 2nd highest bucket.

Probably a solution is to book for 1 person, and then call on the phone to have an agent manually add the 2nd passenger to the room on a separate rail ticket. An excuse could be that the other person was not originally traveling, or wants to pay separately.

Jersey_Mike
Posts: 4689
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2004 1:39 am
Location: CHARLES aka B&P JCT MP 95.9

Re: New Amtrak Fare Structure

Post by Jersey_Mike » Sat Sep 21, 2013 2:42 pm

I assume that for the purposes of "value" refund means refunded to your credit card with the future travel option not incurring the 10% fee?

"Saver" fares are the old secret fares that you would encounter from time to time with the not prominently advertised "no refund" caveat.

"Value" fares are the old regular fares.

"Flexible" fares are the new type of fare that I am dubbing a "* fare" for people who don't understand how Amtrak's no-refund refunds work. Just checked and noticed that you can get a 90$ flexible fare for a 46$ ticket with a 4.60 refund fee. I assume this is for bussiness travelers who don't want to deal with exchange vouchers. Note to everyone else...NEVER PAY THIS FARE.

Somewhere there is Amtrak's "Last Seat on the Train" fare. On very high travel days you can see some truly mind blowing fares for that guy who simply has to get to his destination. For example I saw a $216 fare from Boston to Westerly over Labour Day this year (basically if you were using that seat you were buying it to NYC).

I like them alerting you to if a specific bucket is soon to sell out.

dumpster.penguin
Posts: 248
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 8:57 pm

Re: New Amtrak Fare Structure

Post by dumpster.penguin » Sat Sep 21, 2013 10:29 pm

(1) The eVoucher explanation page says, "For now, eVouchers may only be redeemed at an Amtrak ticket office..."

(2) I wonder whether Amtrak will henceforth sell more non-refundable tickets, and if so, whether it will also correspondingly over-book to a greater degree.

Jersey_Mike
Posts: 4689
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2004 1:39 am
Location: CHARLES aka B&P JCT MP 95.9

Re: New Amtrak Fare Structure

Post by Jersey_Mike » Sat Sep 21, 2013 11:46 pm

OH, I forgot...Amtrak ALWAYS HAD secret 100% refundable fares available to corporate customers at the same outrageous prices. I got screwed by that once when I got a price quote from one travel agent using Amtrak.com and then had it go up by 100% when the next agent used the fully refundable price tab not available on the website. This was before the damn vouchers, but because of company policy they were spending like $150 to avoid a $15 restocking fee. I ended up not taking the trip because while technically still cheaper than flying by $1 I wouldn't have been able to sell the idea of the train.
dumpster.penguin wrote:(1) The eVoucher explanation page says, "For now, eVouchers may only be redeemed at an Amtrak ticket office..."

(2) I wonder whether Amtrak will henceforth sell more non-refundable tickets, and if so, whether it will also correspondingly over-book to a greater degree.
1) That's why companies buy the Sucker fare tickets.

2) No, Amtrak is not actually changing ANYTHING. They are just making previously hidden fare buckets more transparent to self service web users.

JimBoylan
Posts: 3318
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:33 pm

Re: New Amtrak Fare Structure

Post by JimBoylan » Sun Sep 22, 2013 5:33 am

I noticed some Philadelphia - Baltimore trips where Saver and Value fares were sold out and Flexible was all that was left, Business Class in that case was based on the Flexible fare. Normally, you can get a no penalty refund for less by booking Business Class - if there are any Value fares left, Business Class is based on that fare, and is less than the Flexible Coach fare!

markhb
Posts: 1479
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:42 pm
Location: Maine

Re: New Amtrak Fare Structure

Post by markhb » Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:52 am

Saver fares aren't even necessarily the cheapest. I took a look at BOS-SYR for next spring, trying to find the low buckets, and the Value fares were less where they were offered.
"...And then I thought, every time some company creates a more powerful locomotive does Superman become more powerful as well or is he stuck at 1938 locomotive power levels?" - A friend of mine elsewhere
Anything I post here is mine alone and does not represent the views of my employer.

hi55us
Posts: 2339
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:02 pm
Location: Manhattan

Re: New Amtrak Fare Structure

Post by hi55us » Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:17 pm

This all seems very confusing... Amtrak needs to increase it's transparency as to how these fares work, otherwise they could drive away their customers in droves. Southwest does a much better job explaining how their fares work and the fares make more sense (unlike these instances we're seeing amtrak sell business class for less than coach)... It also looks confusing listing all fares as "2 free checked bags" on corridor trains with no checked baggage...

JimBoylan
Posts: 3318
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:33 pm

Re: New Amtrak Fare Structure

Post by JimBoylan » Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:46 pm

hi55us wrote:This all seems very confusing...listing all fares as "2 free checked bags" on corridor trains with no checked baggage...
The baggage will move on a different train that does have a baggage car, but they don't make that clear.

theozno
Posts: 699
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2006 2:22 am

Amtrak Springfield branch fare bucket issue

Post by theozno » Mon Mar 17, 2014 7:03 am

Had an interesting experience yesterday. Called customer relations they could not do anything except tell their IT department. My train fare minutes prior to departure kept changing back and forth. I had to get the ticket so I bought it at the higher fare after I was going to wait for the next train 90 min later and it's fare went up as I was booking it. both to the higher fare. Then the earlier train went back down to the lower fare and as I was booking that one went back up stuck I paid the higher fare. Right before the train arrived my fare went back down. My trip was from Meriden to New Haven. I'm up for suggestions on what I should do While I have seen the fares go up and down, I have never seen it do it 6 times in a row within 15 minutes. I was in 145 the 8 car consist.
iPhone 5 with Verizon Unlimited Data plan

Return to “Amtrak”