Monday, December 1, 2008

Why Amtrak Why?

this post is a special shoutout to my extraordinarily cool brother, admiral skreed.

the admiral was extremely generous in offering to deliver a bike i sold from hartford to philly on his way home this morning from thanksgiving. i redo bikes and sell them pretty regularily (if anyone needs anything let me know, i can usually find it and do it up just for you, shameless plug over....) and i had one that was on its way so this should have worked out great.

the admiral went in early to catch his amtrak train from hartford this morning and was told that you cannot bring bikes on amtrak anymore from hartford. in fact, no baggage is allowed because the baggage service has been suspended and won't be coming back. as the ticket lady explained, you can SOMETIMES con the train guys to take baggage, but they aren't supposed to.

skreed walked right over to peter pan and they took him and the bike no problem and no extra charge. he got a credit on amtrak and has to sit in the port authority for an extra hour today, but it worked out. thank you for your sacrifice admiral, it is appreciated.

but the point is not that my brother is cool, its that amtrak is just horrid. why do we continue to subsidize (through the feds) a train "service" that is extremely expensive, universally late and incapable of taking anything larger than a carryon? shouldn't the train be better than the bus or the car? ugh, frustrating, but i thought i should update the beat readers so they know what to do when traveling out of hartford with no car and with bikes in tow.....

6 comments:

Mark said...

Cutbacks, cutbacks, cutbacks. Probably paid $20MM for a study to find out that people riding from Hartford to points south were actually commuters and one day business travelers. I wonder what the break even is on the study vs elimination of the service?

I am in the bike re-doing bidness myself, but more as a hobby, and actually in need of a part. You wouldn't happen to have a comfort quill stem, 100 to 130mm with a 25.4 mm clamp laying around would you? If so, email me: Mark at cyclesnack dot com

Brendan said...

you can't bring baggage with you out of Hartford anymore? that's absurd!

chillwill said...

fuck amtrack and their expensive tickets!!!!

Joel said...

No doubt William. Amtrak is fucking terrible... if they could fuck they'd be fucking terribly. Get them off the federal teat and open up competition for federal rail subsidies. I hate amtrak. Three weeks ago I tried to take my bike on the train from Hartford to Windsor, 8 miles, late at night, with obviously no passengers on the train. They wouldn't let me. Talk about an inflexible bureaucracy!

El Presidente de China said...

And let me add this, while we're piling on Amtrak: The only way to make an intra-Connecticut trip on Amtrak remotely economical is to buy a discounted ten-ride ticket (which brings the cost of New Haven-Hartford trips down to $12 one way). When you purchase a ten-ride ticket, it comes printed with a 45-day expiration date. The thing is, a ten-ride ticket meets the definition under Connecticut law of a gift certificate. And Connecticut law prohibits expiration dates on gift certificates. So on top of everything else, Amtrak may well be violating consumer protection law.

El Presidente de China said...

Upon further consideration, my consumer law argument against the expiration dates on ten-ride tickets is probably preempted by federal law. But Amtrak is still lousy.