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Date: 06/20/22 06:50
Maybe we are being too hard on Amtrak
Author: Chessie1963

No doubt many of you have seen the news today and stories about the large number of flights delayed or canceled.  I can vouch for it.  My son traveled from Boston to Savannah and back in the last week and accumulated 9 hours of flight delays.  He was 6 hours late going down, 3 hours late coming back.  The problem seems to be the same one that Amtrak is facing:  staffing.

I think it is more noticable to us with Amtrak because when a train only runs once a day and you cut it back a bit, there are days with no service.  However, if JetBlue cut its Boston to Savannah service in half, there is still a flight a day each way.  

I am not one to defend Amtrak leadership right now, and I think that the failures at the company are unacceptable.  At the same time, I may have a bit more sympathy than I once did.  

Thoughts?



Date: 06/20/22 06:59
Re: Maybe we are being too hard on Amtrak
Author: PC1974

First COVID conference call when it was all going down, there was request after request for retirements if you were even close to the age. It was a big get rid of the old party, and they finally had an excuse for it. Said you were helping the young man, so he wouldn't get cut off. Turned out to be rubbish. Find somewhere else to sell this story, somewhere where everybody is wearing blinders.



Date: 06/20/22 07:01
Re: Maybe we are being too hard on Amtrak
Author: NPRocky

Well, as I said last week, here in Seattle I don't know of any recent train or food service cancellations for lack of crews, so maybe Amtrak's caution here is working out.



Date: 06/20/22 07:02
Re: Maybe we are being too hard on Amtrak
Author: amtrakbill

All businesses are facing staffing shortages

I managed call centers and most all have the same staffing issues since the start of the pandemic. Stimulus checks that encouraged people not to work had a lot to do with this national problem Allowing people to call off with no implications because someone had a “Covid symptom” created a work ethic issue in our country as well.

I agree we are too hard on Amtrak as they weather these systemic problems

Posted from iPhone



Date: 06/20/22 07:08
Re: Maybe we are being too hard on Amtrak
Author: Chessie1963

Wow.

PC1974 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> First COVID conference call when it was all going
> down, there was request after request for
> retirements if you were even close to the age. It
> was a big get rid of the old party, and they
> finally had an excuse for it. Said you were
> helping the young man, so he wouldn't get cut off.
> Turned out to be rubbish. Find somewhere else to
> sell this story, somewhere where everybody is
> wearing blinders.



Date: 06/20/22 07:11
Re: Maybe we are being too hard on Amtrak
Author: Flyer92122

We all have to give Amtrak the benefit of the doubt. That being said everyone, us, RPA, Congress need to watch Gardners moves like a hawk. He is a known critic of the national network and has used deception in the past trying to kill the SWC. We have Amtrak's worse CEO at time the company is in its most vulnerable position. The money is finally there, but the will to succeed isn't. Amtrak desperately needs competent management. 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/20/22 07:12 by Flyer92122.



Date: 06/20/22 07:18
Re: Maybe we are being too hard on Amtrak
Author: MEKoch

Amtrak created its own problems.  When COVID hit, and nobody wanted to fly, they scaled back service, exactly at the moment when the train was a safe method of travel.  They decreased frequencies and laid off personnel.  BIG mistake.  Congress gave them plenty of money to operate in a normal fashion, but they parked their trains, and reduced consists and service levels.  Amtrak had a perfect storm to show it is part of an essential transportation system, and they completely wasted the opportunity.  

NO, we are not being too hard on Amtrak.  They are stupid beyond belief, and try in every way to sabotage long distance train travel.  



Date: 06/20/22 07:59
Re: Maybe we are being too hard on Amtrak
Author: ronald321

Amtrak management deserves nothing but ridicule and blame.  Even before Covid - they  horribly downgraded Amtrak service .

The freight railroads should be sued in court for their "anti-humane" handling of people aboard Amtrak trains.

Ask the passengers on-board a 15 hours late train -  without food - if we are being too hard on management (Amtrak & Frt. RR), 



 



Date: 06/20/22 09:15
Re: Maybe we are being too hard on Amtrak
Author: lordsigma

I think it’s fair to blame Amtrak for the earlier furlough decisions which exasperated this problem instead of holding on to people - though one can blame congress too as Amtrak did give them a chance to address it in Covid relief and they didn’t act - and the second Covid relief got delayed till after the election. Though they got a decent enough amount of people back to resume daily service when they recalled furloughed workers last summer and it sounds like the problem has actually gotten worse in some places and they have lost additional employees. One can also point to the HR issues that are slowing hiring.

However you can’t blame them for the workplace trends and all the hiring difficulties. Less people are interested in these types of jobs - and the pandemic has definitely shifted peoples preferences and expectations about work/life balance and so many people being able to work remotely is probably making it difficult for companies like the airlines and Amtrak to retain staff in these types of jobs that require a lot of time away from home. Additionally staffing shortages and frankly lousy performance on the class Is and increasing wildfires and other natural disasters are making delays worse than ever meaning even more time away especially on the two nighter trans continental routes.

This is an addition to a huge shortage of skilled employees for the craft jobs and not enough applicants in the mechanical shops which continues to be a problem across the network.

On the hiring side a decent percentage of hires have been failing drug tests as well as the physical tests.

Amtrak and the airlines are going to have to reach into their pockets to retain and attract people and it may mean better wages, benefits, and possibly even rethinking some of the operational aspects to try to reduce time away for some of the jobs. I think this is the biggest threat to the continuation of the LD trains - retaining and attracting enough employees to keep them going.

These companies need to make themselves more attractive to employees - it’s a workers job market right now and unless the growth and employment rate slows down there are just so many jobs that people can leave for.



Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 06/20/22 09:24 by lordsigma.



Date: 06/20/22 09:28
Re: Maybe we are being too hard on Amtrak
Author: jst3751

So sad to see the armchair quarterbacks pointing fingers and blaming Amtrak. 

That finger pointing is going on in all industries and sectors all around the world claiming that all the individual companies should have kept all employees and kept paying full wages. Even though the company was required to shut down or had greatly reduced demand for its products or services.

Yet none of you armchair quarterbacks are able to come up with exactly where all that money would have come from. 



Date: 06/20/22 11:06
Re: Maybe we are being too hard on Amtrak
Author: Lackawanna484

The Paycheck Protection Program was a joint effort of the Trump Administration and Congress to provide funding for small businesses to retain and pay employees even as mandatory shut downs dried up their business. Like most government spending, it went on the credit card.

Didn't Amtrak and the airlines get their own version of paycheck protection?



Date: 06/20/22 12:25
Re: Maybe we are being too hard on Amtrak
Author: Flyer92122

Anyone who has followed Amtrak the past five years knows management has made mistake after mistake. We can argue mistakes were willful or just made out of incompetence or more likely a combination of both. Covid has affected Amtrak just like the airlines there's no question about that. That being said I challenged anyone on here to name anything right Amtrak's management has done or anything Amtrak as a whole is doing well now.  Not on time performance, not the website, not the call center, not food service. The only thing I can really think of is some front line employees are amazing and consumer relations agents are generally great. 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/20/22 12:25 by Flyer92122.



Date: 06/20/22 12:50
Re: Maybe we are being too hard on Amtrak
Author: lordsigma

Flyer92122 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Anyone who has followed Amtrak the past five years
> knows management has made mistake after mistake.
> We can argue mistakes were willful or just made
> out of incompetence or more likely a combination
> of both. Covid has affected Amtrak just like the
> airlines there's no question about that. That
> being said I challenged anyone on here to name
> anything right Amtrak's management has done or
> anything Amtrak as a whole is doing well now.
>  Not on time performance, not the website, not
> the call center, not food service. The only thing
> I can really think of is some front line employees
> are amazing and consumer relations agents are
> generally great. 

Food service out west (quality of the food and presentation) and on Acela is being done well. Yeah I know limited - but it’s something they’re doing well. The traditional dining service out west is in my opinion better than pre pandemic.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/20/22 12:51 by lordsigma.



Date: 06/20/22 13:08
Re: Maybe we are being too hard on Amtrak
Author: DevalDragon

lordsigma Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Food service out west (quality of the food and
> presentation) and on Acela is being done well.
> Yeah I know limited - but it’s something
> they’re doing well. The traditional dining
> service out west is in my opinion better than pre
> pandemic.

It dang well better due to the price increases to go along with that fancy new traditional dining.



Date: 06/20/22 14:03
Re: Maybe we are being too hard on Amtrak
Author: ProAmtrak

The Pandemic screwed everyone over, but Amtrak's dumb move to cut the LD Trains 3 days a week was even dumber because it didn't take that sector long to recover, the stimulus checks for me was an advantage on getting things caught up, it's just sad most people abused it! Anyway I'm stillone Amtrak Supporter who's not gonna back down on Ammanagment until things are 100% normal Pre Anderson!

Posted from Android



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/21/22 15:43 by ProAmtrak.



Date: 06/20/22 14:26
Re: Maybe we are being too hard on Amtrak
Author: Peter_Hawtrey

Senior managers should have been fired for allowing the travelling public to be stuck on a train for thirty hours in the freezing snow due to lack of communication during a storm.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/news/2022/01/05/amtrak-crescent-passengers-stranded-winter-storm/9101117002/



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/21/22 18:53 by Peter_Hawtrey.



Date: 06/20/22 14:41
Re: Maybe we are being too hard on Amtrak
Author: jp1822

lordsigma Wrote:

> Food service out west (quality of the food and
> presentation) and on Acela is being done well.
> Yeah I know limited - but it’s something
> they’re doing well. The traditional dining
> service out west is in my opinion better than pre
> pandemic.

"Traditional Dining" on the western trains is actually BETTER than Acela Express First Class! That's my opinion at least. 



Date: 06/20/22 15:13
Re: Maybe we are being too hard on Amtrak
Author: lordsigma

jp1822 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> lordsigma Wrote:
>
> > Food service out west (quality of the food and
> > presentation) and on Acela is being done well.
> > Yeah I know limited - but it’s something
> > they’re doing well. The traditional dining
> > service out west is in my opinion better than
> pre
> > pandemic.
>
> "Traditional Dining" on the western trains is
> actually BETTER than Acela Express First Class!
> That's my opinion at least. 

I would agree.



Date: 06/20/22 15:35
Re: Maybe we are being too hard on Amtrak
Author: Flyer92122

I agree the dining on the west coast trains is better than pre pandemic. My sincere worry is Gardner is going to make the $600 military toilet seat look like a bargain. Gardner was told to operate the long distance trains daily with food service against his wishes. I won't be surprised when Amtrak states before Congress each traditional dining meal cost the company $298.97 or whatever number they pull out of thin air. Keeping the economy of scale down by not letting coach passengers eat doesn't help either. Why Amtrak has stated they are running studies on how to serve coach passengers is a head scratcher to me. Amtrak has served coach customers in the diner for 50 years until recently. Amtrak's accounting needs some serious auditing. Am I pessimistic? Yes but Gardner did flat out lie to Congress in the past so anything's possible. Another factor at play is the next Congress probably won't be as friendly to Amtrak funding as the current one.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/21/22 06:39 by Flyer92122.



Date: 06/20/22 16:20
Re: Maybe we are being too hard on Amtrak
Author: ProAmtrak

Yeah and they'll let Gardner have his way which actually'll destroy Amtrak altogether!

Posted from Android



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