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Date: 05/22/20 00:55
OBS Gratuities: A Plus For Employees?
Author: NYC4096

OBS Gratuities: A Plus For Employees?

As patrons of Amtrak, we have at times offered gratuities to thoughtful and customers service-oriented employees.  A generous tip for Red Caps, SC Attendants and Dining Car personnel and more are appropriate for a job well done.

In regard to Dining Car Servers:
Do you have an estimate of how much Dining Car Servers can earn in gratuities on any given trip? 

What is the average yearly salary of an Amtrak Dining Car Server? 

Is there a practice of Dining Car Servers sharing "or splitting" gratuities with the Chef and/or various support staff? 

What is the average number of trips per month that a Dining Car Server and Chef will do as part of their regular schedule or service pattern?

Finally, do you support inviting Coach passengers into the Dining Car at mealtime?

Please share any and all thoughts regarding gratuities and any notable OBS customer service related points.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/22/20 00:57 by NYC4096.



Date: 05/22/20 02:53
Re: OBS Gratuities: A Plus For Employees?
Author: andersonb109

In the current environment, many passengers aren't carrying cash. Amtrak isn't accepting cash.  I had two excellent attendants on my recent trip and forgot to bring cash with me. I apologized to both and they were very understanding of the situation. I would not tip anyone in for the current airline style  food service as it's basically just a box handed to you. Same as you probably wouldn't tip a flight attendant for doing the same.  For what was normal dining car service, I tip 15% for good service. Nothing if service is poor. I know on VIA Rail dining car monies are pooled. No clue on Amtrak. Coach passengers should be allowed into the dining car. But seating should be separate. That would also easy payment as their meals aren't included. Should a sleeping car passenger request to be seated with someone in coach such as traveling together or having met on the train, they should be accommodated. On VIA Rail, coach passengers are not allowed into the diner during peak season. But they have their own where cooked meals are provided for cost. During off peak season, they are seated in the diner but at separate tables from sleepers. Similarly Prestige passengers unless requested otherwise, are seated at separate tables from normal sleeping car passengers (not saying the passengers are normal, but their rooms are). 



Date: 05/22/20 05:36
Re: OBS Gratuities: A Plus For Employees?
Author: joemvcnj

It would be hard to program, but it would be nice to fund gratuities through the reservation system, apply it to a particular train, then fund it as a bonus to OBS paychecks assigned to that train. 



Date: 05/22/20 05:56
Re: OBS Gratuities: A Plus For Employees?
Author: Lackawanna484

I've mentioned in the past that dining car tipping seems to be a sometimes thing on AutoTrain. Meals were included, so people don't / didn't expect to pay anything.

I rarely saw anyone tip at breakfast. Maybe half tipped something at dinner. But it was a good size pile of cash on a table after final service.

Posted from Android



Date: 05/22/20 06:04
Re: OBS Gratuities: A Plus For Employees?
Author: dcfbalcoS1

       I always tipped for good service when we used to ride Amtrak. I would much prefer the tip I give go directly to the person that provided the good service, pooling of tips would be self destructive on their part. And having tips included in prices for certain trains through reservation systems would be totally assinine. 



Date: 05/22/20 06:09
Re: OBS Gratuities: A Plus For Employees?
Author: FloridaTrainGuy

Let's look at this honestly and logically.  The whole tipping thing for restaurant food servers is because they are paid a couple of bucks an hour.  Amtrak employees make a good salary without tips.  And now with a person handing you a tray over the counter where is the tip-able service?  Do you tip at McDonalds?  On an airplane?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/22/20 09:21 by FloridaTrainGuy.



Date: 05/22/20 06:32
Re: OBS Gratuities: A Plus For Employees?
Author: joemvcnj

I can see it both ways. Amtrak OBS employees are paid better, but on LD trips, work on a moving train for up to 46 hours, get 4 hours sleep per night for 2 nights in a row, and are away from home half the time. 



Date: 05/22/20 08:24
Re: OBS Gratuities: A Plus For Employees?
Author: PRR1361

On our frequent Auto Train trips I tip $5 at dinner, $2 at breakfast, Car attendant $10 or $15, depending on service.



Date: 05/22/20 10:02
Re: OBS Gratuities: A Plus For Employees?
Author: Peter_Hawtrey

Much of this country isn't as knowledgeable about traveling by train as railfans are and with the reduction of travel agents guidance since the internet age came about there will be a lot of hit or miss approaches to all of this.  
Would it be beneficial if some guidelines were placed in a trip planning brochure or a travel magazine Amtrak could give out to its passengers? 
 



Date: 05/22/20 10:29
Re: OBS Gratuities: A Plus For Employees?
Author: joemvcnj

Peter_Hawtrey Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Much of this country isn't as knowledgeable about
> traveling by train as railfans are and with the
> reduction of travel agents guidance since the
> internet age came about there will be a lot of hit
> or miss approaches to all of this.  
> Would it be beneficial if some guidelines were
> placed in a trip planning brochure or a travel
> magazine Amtrak could give out to its
> passengers? 

I think the System Timetable, without the actually timetables, is the way to do it, and should be sold at cafe cars and ticket agencies for $5 or $7. 



Date: 05/22/20 10:45
Re: OBS Gratuities: A Plus For Employees?
Author: Lackawanna484

There has been a parallel problem in many NYC restaurants. Foreign tourists are often unfamiliar with the idea of a semi mandatory 15% - 20% tip surcharge. They come from places where the staff is fairly paid and has health insurance.

Some meal bills will state that a tip is expected, and specify the range.

Posted from Android



Date: 05/22/20 11:03
Re: OBS Gratuities: A Plus For Employees?
Author: SP4360

Here's the way I look at it, tip if you want to and the heck with what anyone else thinks. It's your money, your trip and service provided to you.



Date: 05/22/20 11:14
Re: OBS Gratuities: A Plus For Employees?
Author: goneon66

exactly.  tip when you CAN or want to...........

66



Date: 05/22/20 12:05
Re: OBS Gratuities: A Plus For Employees?
Author: ghCBNS

joemvcnj wrote:

>
> I think the System Timetable, without the actually
> timetables, is the way to do it, and should be
> sold at cafe cars and ticket agencies for $5 or
> $7. 

And why would you pay $5 or $7 for a System Timetable that doesn't include Timetables?? (no need for Timetables now anyway...the most up to date info is on your phone or computer)

Posted from Android



Date: 05/22/20 12:15
Re: OBS Gratuities: A Plus For Employees?
Author: joemvcnj

ghCBNS Wrote:

> And why would you pay $5 or $7 for a System
> Timetable that doesn't include Timetables?? (no
> need for Timetables now anyway...the most up to
> date info is on your phone or computer)

Because of all the other information that is in the "timetable", as mentioned above, and additional, such as route guides. 
Duh. 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/22/20 12:16 by joemvcnj.



Date: 05/22/20 12:22
Re: OBS Gratuities: A Plus For Employees?
Author: ghCBNS

joemvcnj Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Because of all the other information that is in
> the "timetable", as mentioned above, and
> additional, such as route guides. 
> Duh.

And again why would you pay when it's all on your phone or computer? Duh!! 



Date: 05/22/20 12:35
Re: OBS Gratuities: A Plus For Employees?
Author: joemvcnj

ghCBNS Wrote:

> And again why would you pay when it's all on your phone or computer? Duh!! 

Because not all of us want to read everything on a phone the size of an index card, and would rather printed material.
Why would anyone buy a magazine or a book or any sort ? Because they want to. 



Date: 05/22/20 12:48
Re: OBS Gratuities: A Plus For Employees?
Author: ghCBNS

joemvcnj Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Because not all of us want to read everything on a
> phone the size of an index card, and would rather
> printed material.
> Why would anyone buy a magazine or a book or any
> sort ? Because they want to. 

You were talking about a paying $5 or $7 for a Timetable without Timetables. Additional travel info such as tipping etc could be made available right on the Amtrak web page. No need to pay for it.

And if you're looking for a Route Guide....just Google then print. Why pay! Here's one for the Empire Builder:

https://www.zugreisen.ch/resources/public/vendors/kcfinder/upload/files/web-zugreisen/ZUgreisen%20diverse/Amtrak-Empire-Builder-Train-Route-Guide.pdf



Date: 05/22/20 13:11
Re: OBS Gratuities: A Plus For Employees?
Author: joemvcnj

The point is to make it a convenient marketing tool and give comprehensive information, without running down one's toner or running to Staples for large pdf printout. 



Date: 05/22/20 13:39
Re: OBS Gratuities: A Plus For Employees?
Author: RuleG

NYC4096 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Finally, do you support inviting Coach passengers
> into the Dining Car at mealtime?

There is no rationale for keeping coach passengers out of dining cars any time meals are being served.  Sometimes I travel coach class and other times I book sleeper accommodations.  I still the same person whether I travel coach or sleeper.  Yet, one participant in this thread has previously commented that coach riders should be kept out of diners because they diminish his dining experience.

> Please share any and all thoughts regarding
> gratuities and any notable OBS customer service
> related points.

I tip the same percentage in the dining cars as what I tip for restaurants - 20% for decent service, even if the meal is included in the fare.



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