• Will They Ever Return?

  • General discussion of passenger rail systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.
General discussion of passenger rail systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

Moderators: mtuandrew, gprimr1

  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Reportedly, the CTA has had a better passenger recovery count than has METRA. This is simple to understand in that more regular CTA riders are "frontline" workers when compared with those who use(d) METRA.

But again I reiterate that, through no fault of their own, placed on COVID Eve, an order for 200 locomotive hauled/pushed cars. I must wonder had the pandemic started, say, six months earlier, and their Board could accept the ridership was never coming back, would have they been looking at DMU equipment such as Stadtler builds over here, and I have ridden overseas.
  by lensovet
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Wed Dec 20, 2023 6:18 am
lensovet wrote: Tue Dec 19, 2023 7:37 pm . Bus drivers have to deal with giving change, potentially dealing with riled up riders who think they should be paying less or don't want to pay, and the machines themselves obviously cost money to maintain, repair, inspect, etc.
Once again, this small young girl in Salzburg (she looked twentysomething to me and spoke perfect English) could handle it all while safely driving an articulated "trolley bus".
Sure, and people there can drive on an autobahn with no speed limits, proper passing etiquette, and fewer crashes than we have here in the US. All that tells us is that our European friends can do lots of things better than us.
  by lensovet
 
Amtrak has a 1-2-3-Free promo going on right now for travel along the corridor.

http://www.amtrak.com/123free

Take 6 trips costing 25+ on a regional or 40+ on Acela through February 29 and get 2 free one-way coupons for the same service for travel between July 1 and August 31 of this year.

Would be nice if Amtrak Guest Rewards will drop points in favor of a zone-based system again…one can dream.
  by lensovet
 
Amtrak's annoucement of increased NEC service has this tidbit in it:
Momentum has already begun with FY23 4th Quarter NEC ridership achieving 8% above pre-pandemic levels and Northeast Regional ridership having nearly 9.2 million customers in all of FY23 – growing more than 29% compared to FY22.
The additions consist of:
- four new weekday roundtrips between NYP and WAS
- two new weekend roundtrips between NYP WAS
- a new weekday morning train from PHL to NYP
- a new weekend train between PHL and BOS

Whatever METRA's problems are, they are clearly not universal.
  by eolesen
 
lensovet wrote: Tue Mar 05, 2024 11:19 pm Whatever METRA's problems are, they are clearly not universal.
I'd counter that with saying the NEC isn't representative of commuting....

NEC will always have a different mix of commuter/business/leisure than NJT, SEPTA, MBTA, MTA, etc. plus there was some significant discounting going on, no?
  by lensovet
 
Night owl fares are still in effect.

Cheapest fares for commute time trains between Trenton and NYP are not available even 2 months out. August has availability for some, but not all, trains.

My SO switched to taking NJT from Amtrak because they were tired of SRO Keystones.
  by ExCon90
 
Fwiw, the mayor of Philadelphia is going to require that all city workers come in 5 days a week:
Because some, such as sanitation workers, building inspectors, etc. can't work from home;
To provide feet on the ground to patronize local businesses downtown;
To provide "eyes on the street" to discourage crime;
And hopefully to induce large downtown companies (like Comcast) to do likewise.

There's pushback from some municipal unions -- we'll see what develops.
  by ElectricTraction
 
ExCon90 wrote: Wed Mar 06, 2024 7:40 pm Fwiw, the mayor of Philadelphia is going to require that all city workers come in 5 days a week:
Because some, such as sanitation workers, building inspectors, etc. can't work from home;
To provide feet on the ground to patronize local businesses downtown;
To provide "eyes on the street" to discourage crime;
And hopefully to induce large downtown companies (like Comcast) to do likewise.

There's pushback from some municipal unions -- we'll see what develops.
This is a back-and-forth. The long term trend is towards job that can WAH will WAH more, either with 100% WAH or some sort of hybrid arrangement.

Right now we're in the reactionary phase where things are sliding backwards, but as office leases come up over the next 5 years or so, companies look to cut costs, and workers demand more flexibility, part or full WAH is the long term trend, it just may take a while to get there. Now that the cat is out of the bag, it can't be put back in.

There is also a cyclical nature to it. When the economy is bad, companies will have more leverage but also want to cut overhead costs more. When the economy is good, workers will have more leverage but companies may be more inclined to keep big offices and big office overhead.

It will be interesting to see how it works out, but WAH is here to stay, and the long term trend is towards WAH.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. Traction, you immediately used the term WAH, which I have now learned is a recognized acronym for "Working At Home".

So apparently, some outfits are creating positions where the occupant will simply never go to an office for any reason? I'd like to think the employer will hold receptions on occasion to that there can at least be a face to face "meet and greet" with colleagues.

If such comes to pass, likely not in the time I have left, along with the likes of Amazon and Door Dash (neither of which I have ever had occasion to use), the question must be raised what need will there be for mass transit essentially anywhere?
  by eolesen
 
Those types of WAH/WFH positions have always existed where the technology supported it, and it will grow.

Video conferencing used to requre a $10K TV, camera, and dedicated Polycomm or Cisco Telepresence hardware plus the related infrastructure to make it work. It was cost prohibitive for home based positions other than executives...

Now, it's part of every smartphone.

In one of my previous remote-based positions, the entire team would get together quarterly in a meeting room somewhere. It was mostly for the social aspect, and we did pretend to get some work done. Social media was still in its infancy, and today, arguably that face-to-face over dinner is still important but less critical to people forging relationships where you never actually meet in person.
  by ElectricTraction
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Thu Mar 07, 2024 7:40 amMr. Traction, you immediately used the term WAH, which I have now learned is a recognized acronym for "Working At Home".
It's nominally Work at Home, WFH is also commonly using as Working From Home, but both are widely understood.
So apparently, some outfits are creating positions where the occupant will simply never go to an office for any reason? I'd like to think the employer will hold receptions on occasion to that there can at least be a face to face "meet and greet" with colleagues.
Um, work at home in one form or another has been happening for literally hundreds of thousands of years, in it's modern form with a laptop and phone it's been around for 20+ years, it just was concentrated in software development, insurance, and a few other narrow industries pre-COVID. Plenty of people were talking about WAH pre-COVID, it just wasn't nearly as actually widespread as it is today.

WAH/WFH covers a broad range of positions from 100% WAH where you could work for a company that's thousands of miles away, to occasionally working for a few hours from home when you have something that needs to be done at home, to accommodate family, etc. My job has to be mostly in person, but I still WAH a few hours a month when I need to be home, since a portion of my work can be done on my laptop and home docking station.

There's a wide range of physical interaction. I work in an office, and I mostly work with people in person, but I also work with some people I've never met IRL. Some work at other sites or for contractors. If you have a 95% remote job, you're meeting people IRL once a month. Some 100% remote jobs never meet the people IRL, others get together once a year and meet people. It depends on the job and what they are doing. Obviously hybrid jobs, by definition, will be in an office some of the time, although those aren't always all of the people that they work with day to day. Insurance was already largely distributed enterprise pre-COVID where you would work with other people at other sites for part or all of your work, so at that point, why bother coming into the office if you're just using a desk for a Ethernet jack and a plug anyway?
If such comes to pass, likely not in the time I have left, along with the likes of Amazon and Door Dash (neither of which I have ever had occasion to use), the question must be raised what need will there be for mass transit essentially anywhere?
1. There are plenty of jobs that still need to be in-person.
2. Some jobs will be hybrid.
3. There are many other reasons to travel around a metro area, North American transit systems just tend to be poorly built and poorly operated for such non-commute use.
  by ElectricTraction
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Thu Mar 07, 2024 7:40 amSo apparently, some outfits are creating positions where the occupant will simply never go to an office for any reason?
Also, digital nomads have been a thing since the pre-COVID era, whether they are living in a place for a few months at a time, backpacking around the world, living in an RV or boat, or some other variation on the concept. That's the extreme probably sub-1% of remote workers, but it's a well-known phenomenon.
  by lensovet
 
FWIW I now commute 3 days/week into NYC on a mix of Regional and Keystone trains between Trenton and NYP.

Both are well-patronized, but everyone can find a seat. I go late – my trains arrive around 10 – and leave early, before 5. I can't comment on what "true" rush hour trains look like, though you can estimate based on fare prices. The earlier trains are currently selling tickets for $90/seat for this coming Tuesday, while my trains are selling for $70. NJT on the same route costs $17, going up to $20 in July. Evenings are less busy for some reason.
  by dowlingm
 
ElectricTraction wrote: Thu Mar 07, 2024 5:53 pm
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Thu Mar 07, 2024 7:40 amSo apparently, some outfits are creating positions where the occupant will simply never go to an office for any reason?
Also, digital nomads have been a thing since the pre-COVID era, whether they are living in a place for a few months at a time, backpacking around the world, living in an RV or boat, or some other variation on the concept. That's the extreme probably sub-1% of remote workers, but it's a well-known phenomenon.
consider also that remote work has improved the employment prospects of those with disabilities. It also provides another option other than “risk your life/vehicle and come in” or “lose a day’s production” for services employers during inclement weather.

In April 2020 I said “a bell is about to be rung that a lot of people are going to pretend was never sounded” and I was right.
  by scratchyX1
 
I am one of those people who has never been to my company office , and they prefer to not pay for office space.
At the same time, I do use bus/ subway for some errands, on a regular basis.
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