Old 07-16-2008, 03:59 AM   #1
JimThias
Senior Member
 
JimThias's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 9,843
Default Amtrak has gone MAD

My birthday is coming up in 10 days and I thought it would be a nice present to myself and my gf to ride the train from Grand Rapids to Chicago for the day (approx 180 miles and 4 hours on the train). The last time I rode the train was in the summer of 2000, and the fare was about $35 roundtrip for two people (2 for 1 special). So here is what they charge now for that same trip, 8 years later:




I can fill my car up for $50 and get just over 400 miles on a tank of gas and the trip is just over 2 hours. I guess Amtrak won't be getting my money any time soon. Oh yeah, tonight the train was two hours late returning to GR. Yet another reason NOT to ride it.

Amtrak is a glorified bus. How they can charge that kind of fare is beyond me.
JimThias is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2008, 04:57 AM   #2
Jaypee_Logger
Blasting over a red flag.
 
Jaypee_Logger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Burbank. WA
Posts: 136
Send a message via MSN to Jaypee_Logger Send a message via Yahoo to Jaypee_Logger
Default

I looked into riding it from Pasco, WA to Portland, OR and it was $260 for my wife and i and our 4 year old. Kinda steep but i think the boy will like it. And by the way if you pay $50 to fill up your tank i need to move where you are. Gas is $4.50 a gal over here and every two weeks i spend about $100 filling up my truck and thats cheap compared to what some people spend.
__________________
BNSF conductor/switchman DOWN WITH RCO's!!!!
Jaypee_Logger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2008, 05:12 AM   #3
Arne H. B.
Senior Member
 
Arne H. B.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Tracy, CA
Posts: 171
Default

It is getting crazy but that's probably a peak season price Jim. Check what it will be in September, I bet it will be half price by then. I was thinking of taking the train to Los Angeles on my vacation but it was way too much (can't remember now but it was also way more than driving) and it is also 12+ hours from Oakland to LA. I can drive it in 6 hours! Well it will be 8 hours if you take the train to Bakersfield and then a bus to LA, but I didn't want to pack into a bus for 2 hours. I don't mind the long train ride, I've always wanted to make the trip down the Coast Line but I'll wait until the price goes down.
Arne H. B. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2008, 05:32 AM   #4
Christopher Muller
Senior Member
 
Christopher Muller's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 787
Default

I checked from Staples, MN to Milwaukee two weeks ago... it was $81... checked two days ago and it was $140.
Christopher Muller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2008, 05:47 AM   #5
Frederick
Senior Member
 
Frederick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Hastings, Minnesota
Posts: 594
Default

And the third option - fly round trip for $458 a person. So you would end up paying over $900 and then have to clear security, and then rent a car to drive around. Why anybody would want to do this is beyond me.
__________________
Railpics Photos

Flickr Account
Frederick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2008, 01:55 PM   #6
EMTRailfan
Senior Member
 
EMTRailfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: I can be found railfanning the abandoned B&O Northern Sub.
Posts: 1,461
Default

If it makes anyone feel better, I actually witnessed a miracle yeasterday. We were posting for one of our other stations and I witnessed a $0.12 drop in gas. Yes a drop. Actually saw the girl fighting with her long suction cup pole changing the numbers. My partner and I were mezmerized. Around here in NW PA it is around $3.97 give or take a few pennies after the drop.
__________________
A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words. A Memory Is Worth 1000 Pictures.
EMTRailfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2008, 04:09 PM   #7
K4driver
Member
 
K4driver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Where steam still lives. or Lucky town
Posts: 44
Default

The Prices go up the closer you get to the date....But the tickets a while before you plan to go
__________________
the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming steam locomotive, have fun
K4driver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2008, 08:42 PM   #8
JimThias
Senior Member
 
JimThias's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 9,843
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by K4driver
The Prices go up the closer you get to the date....Buy the tickets a while before you plan to go
Wow, things sure have changed since the last time I rode the train. That was in August of 2000, and you actually paid while aboard when the conductor came to you. I realize they changed the way the tickets are purchased now due to higher ridership, but I'm amazed at the price now. Amtrak's Pere Marquette train between GRR and CHI is primarily a day-trippers train. MANY people go to Chicago for a day visit of shopping/seeing the sites, etc. You're there at 11am, and back on the train by 6pm (EST). Not much time to do much, but it's a nice little get away for the afternoon. The fact that they want $94 to take me to Chicago for 7 hours is what I find outrageous.
JimThias is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2008, 09:19 PM   #9
Slopes09
Senior Member
 
Slopes09's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Here.
Posts: 837
Send a message via AIM to Slopes09
Default

With Amtrak's increased ridership, tickets are selling out quicker than ever. Normally during the summer (non-peak period since it's mostly a college train), to get from Champaign to Chicago booking a week before, might be up to $23 (can go as low as $13 if you book far enough in advance). However, this time, the cost was up to $35. Like everyone has said Jim, Amtrak has been experiencing record ridership everywhere, especially on medium distance intercity trains like the one you were going to be riding on. Awhile back, Amtrak began to use the airline pricing scheme, and it seems to have worked for them, based on a combination of demand and time of booking.
__________________
-Mike W.
Railroad Civil Engineer

Pretty much the only Pentax Shooter.

Click Here to view my photos at RailPictures.Net!
Slopes09 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2008, 12:49 AM   #10
stevenmwelch
Senior Member
 
stevenmwelch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Minot, ND
Posts: 720
Send a message via AIM to stevenmwelch Send a message via Yahoo to stevenmwelch
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Muller
I checked from Staples, MN to Milwaukee two weeks ago... it was $81... checked two days ago and it was $140.
The later you wait to book a ticket, the more demand there is, so Amtrak raises the prices.

Amtrak needs all the money they can get...
__________________
Steven M. Welch
Minot, ND
I gots my floaties and I'm ready to go railroadin' in Minot.
My Photos on RP
My RP Rejects and then Some
stevenmwelch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2008, 04:57 AM   #11
Mustang11
Senior Member
 
Mustang11's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Deep River, CT
Posts: 131
Default

Here in Connecticut a non rush hour Amtrak ticket is $48 one way to get from New Haven to NYC. If you would like to upgrade from a regional to the Acela it becomes around $80. For a little over an hour ride that is crazy.

While much more comfortable and far less crowed then the Metro North trains, it doesn't make sense to ride them when an MTA ticket for the same distance is $30 round trip. The only time I have seen Amtrak come close to selling out a train here is on the Holidays.

Brian
__________________
"If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn't need to lug around a camera" - Lewis Hine

My RailPictures.net Photos -- My fotopic.net Photos
Graphic Design & Photography portfolio site
Mustang11 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2008, 10:27 AM   #12
milwman
I shoot what I like
 
milwman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Cedar Fall's, Iowa
Posts: 2,474
Send a message via Yahoo to milwman
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by K4driver
The Prices go up the closer you get to the date....But the tickets a while before you plan to go
if it is about sold out, they charge more, look at a weekday?
__________________
Richard Scott Marsh I go by Scott long story

http://www.flickr.com/photos/22299476@N05/
milwman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2008, 12:53 PM   #13
JimThias
Senior Member
 
JimThias's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 9,843
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slopes09
Like everyone has said Jim, Amtrak has been experiencing record ridership everywhere, especially on medium distance intercity trains like the one you were going to be riding on.
Add another coach?
JimThias is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2008, 05:04 PM   #14
stevenmwelch
Senior Member
 
stevenmwelch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Minot, ND
Posts: 720
Send a message via AIM to stevenmwelch Send a message via Yahoo to stevenmwelch
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by milwman
if it is about sold out, they charge more, look at a weekday?
No, just look further in advance.
__________________
Steven M. Welch
Minot, ND
I gots my floaties and I'm ready to go railroadin' in Minot.
My Photos on RP
My RP Rejects and then Some
stevenmwelch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2008, 05:05 PM   #15
stevenmwelch
Senior Member
 
stevenmwelch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Minot, ND
Posts: 720
Send a message via AIM to stevenmwelch Send a message via Yahoo to stevenmwelch
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
Add another coach?
Well, it would work on this train...

Image © Joel Hinkhouse
PhotoID: 179616
Photograph © Joel Hinkhouse
__________________
Steven M. Welch
Minot, ND
I gots my floaties and I'm ready to go railroadin' in Minot.
My Photos on RP
My RP Rejects and then Some
stevenmwelch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2008, 07:47 PM   #16
Slopes09
Senior Member
 
Slopes09's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Here.
Posts: 837
Send a message via AIM to Slopes09
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
Add another coach?
Honestly, Amtrak probably doesn't have the equipment to spare. Haven't you seen the articles about the state of Amtrak's equipment? It's been said that if Amtrak doesn't get new equipment relatively soon, then they will be in trouble.

Don't forget, it costs money to add a new car, and it's relatively difficult to predict demand. If they allow people to book unlimitedly, then if they book one person over, then they have to add a car to the train for that one person. If they limit the size, they can charge appropriately to make demand fit the train. About the only time they add cars are during rush periods around holidays. For our line, it's only when college lets out or heads back that they add an extra car to the train.
__________________
-Mike W.
Railroad Civil Engineer

Pretty much the only Pentax Shooter.

Click Here to view my photos at RailPictures.Net!
Slopes09 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2008, 07:55 PM   #17
Slopes09
Senior Member
 
Slopes09's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Here.
Posts: 837
Send a message via AIM to Slopes09
Default

Also, if you book far enough in advance, you can get a pretty good price (adult, both ways):
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	amtrak ticket.jpg
Views:	147
Size:	77.1 KB
ID:	3087  
__________________
-Mike W.
Railroad Civil Engineer

Pretty much the only Pentax Shooter.

Click Here to view my photos at RailPictures.Net!
Slopes09 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2008, 10:30 PM   #18
JimThias
Senior Member
 
JimThias's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 9,843
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slopes09
Honestly, Amtrak probably doesn't have the equipment to spare. Haven't you seen the articles about the state of Amtrak's equipment? It's been said that if Amtrak doesn't get new equipment relatively soon, then they will be in trouble.
Wow, they REALLY screwed the pooch, then. Well, I guess having full trains is better problem than empty ones, and it's an easy way for them to screw the passengers with high fares until they start losing riders.
JimThias is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2008, 04:00 AM   #19
Joey Bowman
Senior Member
 
Joey Bowman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Hudson, NC
Posts: 358
Default

My girlfriend and I will be visiting my family in Jackson, MI in October, we are planning on going to Chicago. Last time I looked it was going to be $100 round trip for the two of us. With the cost of gas, plus the fact that we would probably have to pay to park any where around the city, taking the train should be cheaper for us. Im just dreading the fact that the Michigan Service trains are consistently late
Joey Bowman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2008, 01:00 PM   #20
JimThias
Senior Member
 
JimThias's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 9,843
Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey Bowman
My girlfriend and I will be visiting my family in Jackson, MI in October, we are planning on going to Chicago. Last time I looked it was going to be $100 round trip for the two of us. With the cost of gas, plus the fact that we would probably have to pay to park any where around the city, taking the train should be cheaper for us. Im just dreading the fact that the Michigan Service trains are consistently late
If your car gets 25-30 mpg, you should be able to easily get to Chicago and back for under $50. Also, if you know where to park in Chicago, it's not expensive at all. Take the car for half as much and twice as fast, or the train for twice as much and twice as long? It's a pretty simple decision for me.

Until Amtrak rivals the cost of driving (like they once did) for day-trip trains like the Pere Marquette, they aren't getting one cent of my money.
JimThias is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2008, 05:45 PM   #21
Frederick
Senior Member
 
Frederick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Hastings, Minnesota
Posts: 594
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
If your car gets 25-30 mpg, you should be able to easily get to Chicago and back for under $50. Also, if you know where to park in Chicago, it's not expensive at all. Take the car for half as much and twice as fast, or the train for twice as much and twice as long? It's a pretty simple decision for me.

Until Amtrak rivals the cost of driving (like they once did) for day-trip trains like the Pere Marquette, they aren't getting one cent of my money.
419mi divided by 25mpg = 16.76 gallons

16.76 x $4.20 = $70.39

The 4.20 is an average, assuming gas costs $4.00 in Michigan, and $4.40 in Chicago.
__________________
Railpics Photos

Flickr Account
Frederick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2008, 09:05 PM   #22
Joey Bowman
Senior Member
 
Joey Bowman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Hudson, NC
Posts: 358
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frederick
419mi divided by 25mpg = 16.76 gallons

16.76 x $4.20 = $70.39

The 4.20 is an average, assuming gas costs $4.00 in Michigan, and $4.40 in Chicago.
Thats about the figure that I had been coming up with,

Add on some sort of fee for parking, whether it is cheap or not it is an additional cost.


If you get stuck in a traffic jam which has been normal on any Chicago visit I have made, this MPG will go down as well making us spend more on gas.

Either way traveling will be around $100.

Time wise it isn't too bad, either, Amtrak should take roughly 4 hours if my memory is correct, driving should take around 3 hours not counting any traffic or stops to pee.
Joey Bowman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2008, 09:11 PM   #23
Ween
Senior Member
 
Ween's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 4,861
Default

Yeah, but on Amtrak, you can't stop and get your Qdoba or Chipotle or Famous Dave's or insert your favorite chow spot here!
__________________
Ween is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2008, 09:25 PM   #24
ottergoose
American Gunzel
 
ottergoose's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Eagan, MN
Posts: 1,626
Send a message via AIM to ottergoose Send a message via Yahoo to ottergoose
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
Yeah, but on Amtrak, you can't stop and get your Qdoba or Chipotle or Famous Dave's or insert your favorite chow spot here!
That's true - but none of those places will sell you a $13 black olive omelet either

One long distance trip on Amtrak was plenty - I doubt I'll have a hankerin' for anymore for quite a while.
__________________
Nick Benson | Pictures | Website | Flickr | Profile | JetPhotos | Twitter
ottergoose is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 11:58 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.