SmartPeoples Guide

Why Does Amtrak Lose Customers ?



Hello . . . AMTRAK Management

Your train service has much room for improvement!

Service Comments:

Please provide questionnaires to your passengers before they ride on your trains and see if they can help on how to improve your services. Make allowance for facts related to travel by train . . . allow space for questions and comments from your passengers . . . we can provide meaningful assistance if given the opportunity. They (and I) will be happy to leave the information in suggestion boxes at the train stations . . . not to be given to conductors who will in many cases want to hide the comments.

Do you think passengers like to travel by train ?

I tried it for 1000 miles between Baltimore, Maryland and Palatka, Florida. . . . it started with one very good meal and then DOWN HILL
from there.

Please . . . train the conductors . . . on how to help passengers when the train malfunctions or equipment breaks down. Please also pay them or someone enough to keep the restrooms clean and drinking water available during long trips. Be sure to emphasize that they are caring for people and not cattle.

  • I was treated no better than cattle in a cattle car ! Your conductors let more than 36 passengers cook in the heat for several hours and then switched the heat off to cool it down and let these more than 36 people freeze for the remainder of the trip. This is not a highly recommended action.

    Did the conductors endure these temporatures? NO. How does a person find a conductor after not seeing one for many hours? In this case, they spent most of the night in the Club Car. Can you guess how nice the temperature was in the club car ? Right, warm as toast and very pleasant. All the coffee and snacks to enjoy on the way as well.

    What about a cripple sitting in a seat for the handicapped in the hot coach turned freezer as time passed on in the night ? His legs froze, his nose ran, his fingers and arms were cold and was very much awake trying to cover himself against the cold.

    How upset would you be to learn that the conductors are together in the club car enjoying a nice train ride while you cook or freeze to death ? Yes, after struggling from seat to seat and finally into the next car . . . the club car . . . I found ALL the conductors in a very good mood. I WAS NOT.

    Do you think I am an unreasonable person? Do you think I am complaining without reason? There are 12 witnesses willing to step forward with me . . . demanding that AMTRAK return their fares. These witnesses and the others in this car deserve a minimum of their money returned and an additional FREE trip in the way of an appology.

    The press and congressmen / congresswomen can learn even more if they bother to talk to train travelers. I for one can name many people willing to help describe why you are losing customers. It is not because the train is a slow way to go. Time is not always a major factor. SERVICE for their money counts a great deal. How much money are you trying to get from Congress now? I advise that you need to clean up your act before seeking external finances from the government and the taxpayers.

  • Are conductors aware that people can freeze and get very sick in a fast moving train that has no heat in December in the middle of the night? I had this happen not once but twice on the same trip . . . once traveling south and AGAIN on the return trip north . . . back to Baltimore, Maryland.

  • Can conductors learn to move people from one coach to another coach when a coach heating and air controls break down ? In my case, the air controls broke down going south with no heat at all for most of the night. AND the rear door on the coach stayed open all night on the trip north . . . I froze again. The conductors were aware of the problems in both cases BUT did not lift a finger to assist when help was really needed. Their response to complaints was that they were not engineers or cleaning ladies. They could do nothing for us. WELL I gave the south bound crew a lecture on some actions available to them! They did not respond further. My internal anger was ready to burst forth like a volcano. They did their first wise move . . . they kept their responses low keyed with shrugging shoulders. The response on the north bound leg of the trip was an offer to move me. Nothing offered for the others who were very cold also. I have the names of some of my fellow travelers from the same troubled coaches each way on the trip.

  • On the funny side . . . hard to laugh at, but here is one for the book. The train has make one of its many stops in its trip north or south. In this case in was going south. After stopping in the glare of station lights at about 2:00 AM, I observed an electric golf-cart-like-vehicle come around from the station pulling a single baggage trailer. The driver passed beneath my window on his way to the front of the train. About 15 minutes later, the golf-cart and baggage trailer returned towards the rear of the train and again passed my window before turning towards the station. I was amazed at the load on board the baggage trailer . . . it was a SINGLE FEDEX like envelope, the size of standard cut sheet paper and it looked to be less than a half inch thick. Now that was funny! But one could say that was illustrative of why you are loosing money too!

    //s// Norbert Chausse
    The hot and cold Frenchman


  • Can AMTRAK management sight some good reasons why one (especially me) would want to travel by AMTRAK again ?
  • Yes, the food was good . . . anything else ??

  • This is the Frenchman cooking in the heat.
  • This is the Frenchman freezing.

  • Another story will continued below with even more details and complaints if AMTRAK ignores this first story . . . please send in your complaints via E-mail link at the bottom of this page.

    Now, here is another Amtrak customer complaint . . .

    When I finally set off to go to sleep at 4:00am in my "deluxe sleeper", I reached down to get my bagm, with my books in it, and it was soaking wet. I reached to get my coat and other garments, and they were SOAKED as well. I felt the entire floor and it was soaking wet and stunk of mildew!! I pushed the call button, for the attendant about 3 times in 45 minutes, and he never came to my door. I finally went to find him , and banged on his door. He came to my room, and said they didnt know why it was leaking but they would try to get me another room. There were no more sleeper rooms so he dpwngraded me to another size. Thsi room was much much better--- however..... NONE of the reading lights woorked, the Radio earphone hook up did not work, room service was again not available in the morning for anyone, and we were told no food in our rooms!! COME ON!!!

    The speaker to announce arrivals weas horrible and no one would come by and make sure people knew we were stopping.

    I had just come back from visiting my mom who was diagnosed with cancer. Do you think your customers need added grief and stress for your staff? I expect a response, and a refund that the conductor told me I was entitled too.

    I am probably going to be traveling to greenville again, and I would like to take a train, however, I am considering flying, even though Im petrified of it, but it would be better then the treatment I received on the Crescent 20.


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    This page is dated September 2003.