New guarantee

throttlejock Mar 31, 2000

  1. throttlejock

    throttlejock TrainBoard Member

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    I wonder if Amtraks new service guarantee will be the end of the line for Amtrak. With unconditional guarantee to passengers of a satisfied ride or money back for any reason ANY. Seems to me Amtrak is going to loose any money they may make. Now don't get me wrong I think they need some kind of plan similar to this or like the Coast Starlight plan. But if someone just says the they were not happy because they didn't have a seat on the water side or mad because the train was 20 minutes early they get there money back is kind of crazy to me. There are too many shady people who will take advantage of it. Everytime you call Amtrak you hear so many days left to the new service. After the 4th they should then start saying so many days left till were wiped out for money.
     
  2. Alan

    Alan Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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  3. ChrisDante

    ChrisDante TrainBoard Member

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    I run a busines that deals with the public and customer service is a big part of our overhead. I sure hope Amtrak has some fine print in that guarantee. It's one thing for some marketing "whiz" to suggest something like that, but it's a whole different ballgame to honor it.

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    When in doubt, empty your magazine.
     
  4. FriscoCharlie

    FriscoCharlie Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I want my money back because Amtrak doesn't stop within 300-400 miles of my house!

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  5. Alan

    Alan Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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  6. Pat

    Pat E-Mail Bounces

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    Usually, such a campaign is the result of negative public perception of a company, and the company's wanting to make a statement to the effect that its confident the level of service has been or will be improved.

    But as a regular Amtrak passenger, I haven't noticed anything that I would consider wrong with the trips, per se...at least not from Amtrak's standpoint.

    Take on-time performance, for example. I've seen lots of cases where a train is late because the railroad which owns the tracks gives its own freights preferential treatment (even though, financially, it's not in their best interest). I've seen where Amtrak passengers have missed connecting trains because of this. Does Amtrak plan to refund these angry passengers' money because of a problem caused by say...um... CSX? I would hope not.

    But then we get back into the PR swing of things...the passenger doesn't care whose fault it was... only that his/her trip was bad. If Amtrak plans to refund in a situation like I mentioned above, perhaps it's just a way to "save face."

    Also, I've noticed on my nearly 600 Amtrak trips that there is ALWAYS at least one passenger on each run who finds somthing to complain about, whether valid or not. Supposing this "profile person" goes from CHI to NOL for say...$150.00. Multiply that by the 363 days a year, and Amtrak has refunded a whopping $54,450.00 a year on refunds. But, since the train in my scenario above runs BOTH directions daily, the daily refund amount for just that one, hypothetical passenger comes to $108,900.00 a year (assuming there's only one complainer and that the complainer is paying $168).

    I would think that having to EXPLAIN $108K or more worth of refunds each year for a particular route would me more of a problem than the problem which the "guarantee" was implemented to solve in the first place. That's my take.

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  7. FriscoCharlie

    FriscoCharlie Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I presently make most of my living writing sales material (advertising).

    There are certain "staples" in business that have not changed in the modern idiom of advertising. Offering a money-back guarantee, no matter what business you are in, will always bring you more business. The result of that will be that a percentage will ask for their money back - whether by just griping because they know they can, or people that purposefully take advantage of the situation in order to gain a free service with the promise of their money back.

    Some people will do that but the majority will not. Money-back guarantees, especially "double or triple your money back" causes sales to soar in any business. This is common in television commercials that always offer your money back if not satified, just CALL NOW TO ORDER! Most people won't ask for their money back even if they ARE unhappy. The good feelings that a money back guarantee creates between the business and the client far outweighs any financial losses that the business might suffer.

    One of my clients always offers a money back guarantee on everything he sells. They do several millions of dollars a year worth of business. Most of their products are multimedia; tapes and compact discs. People could easily purchase them and duplicate them and send them back claiming they were not satisfied. That rarely happens and not often enough to cause him to even consider dropping his money back guarantee.

    I have to admit, I never thought of that concept being used in rail travel, but there can be no doubt that offering an iron-clad money back guarantee works!

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    Ship It On The FRISCO!

    [This message has been edited by E-8 (edited 01 April 2000).]
     
  8. TrainTech

    TrainTech E-Mail Bounces

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    Yes, this scheme does sound crazy, but I still say Amtrak has a contigency scheme up their sleeve. After all, if the same person complains more than once, Amtrak I'm sure will have a record of the person's name, etc. when they got their first refund for the trip. If it's the same person and same trip when the info is put into the computer system for tracking refunds, I would think this would raise a <font color="red">RED</font> flag to the clerk issuing the refund.

    So I think if the same people or person continued to do this to get <font color="green">free rides</font> on Amtrak this little scheme would end up backfiring on them and Amtrak could possibly issue a standing trespass warrant on the claimant, thereby keeping said person from riding the rails on Amtrak for quite some time.

    They do this all the time on the city bus system where I live to irresponsible or folks that create problems on the bus.

    So I think Amtrak has themselves covered and anyone that tries to "scam" Amtrak is going to possibly learn a hard lesson. Especially if that's how they commute to work every day and have to find other avenues to get to work which may be either more costly or completely impractical.

    I really believe Amtrak has themselves covered for any would be scam artists out there.

    Just my 2 cents.


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    Clay/TrainTech
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    http://members.tripod.com/~White_Kitty


    [This message has been edited by TrainTech (edited 09 April 2000).]
     
  9. Well I ridden the same line all my life. Parts of the routs of the Super Cheif. Back when the trains carried the mail the seats were hard wood, but roomy and a station was a great place to go. Now Amtrax has made a great effort to make the train comfortable and the trains on time. The new engins are great. I think anyone who goes to a nonworking station, where they stop, push you and your bags off, and leaves; knows in advance such is the case and can't demand refund for the inconvenice. I bet they have all their T's crossed and their I's dotted. I still prefer to take the train to see my mom as it still stops in her city. When I go by plane I still have a two hour drive ahead of me. I've taken my grandkid (10 4 & 2) on the train so mom can see them if for no other reason than they can say I've rode a train.
     
  10. Maxwell Plant

    Maxwell Plant TrainBoard Member

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    I work for the largest retail pharmacy in the US, we have our own brands of mechandise that have a 100% MONEY BACK GUARENTEE! NO QUESTIONS ASKED, NO RECEIPT REQUIRED. Even if you used all of it, you can bring back the container and get your money back. (I don't want to turn this into a commercial, so I'll get to the point...) We are not in danger of going out of business from this, it attracts MORE businees to us because we are willing to stick our necks out for our customers. Amtrak is just going "GOOD BUSINESS" by offering the same guarantee. Like I said in the post about the cars and services offered in their trains, you got to spend money to make money. Any Harvard Business grad will tell you that. [​IMG]

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    Brent Tidaback
     
  11. reggierail

    reggierail E-Mail Bounces

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    Rode on the Coast Starlight April 8th. I was ticketed from Los Angeles but missed the train. I went through a long process of a bus, a train, a bus & finally a cab before I caught up with the train in Oakland. During the trip to Oakland I had a Ceasers Salad on the San Joaquin[take my word for it save your money]. This was all I had to eat all day. Of course I was looking forward to having dinner on the Starlight & upon boarding the train in Oakland I found out the dining car was closed. After talking with the conductor[no chief on the train that day] & explaining my tale of catching up with the train he told me to sit in the Pacific Parlour car & he'd see what he could do. The attendant also comped me a cocktail. About 15 minutes later the conductor came back to where I was sitting with a tray of food. I had a nice chicken breast & a fillet of salmon. Since the warming trays were shut down I had no side dish except for some carrot & celery sticks with a nice ranch dressing & some sliced tomatoes. There were also some dinner rolls & a piece of caramel turtle pie. It was a great meal & the guarantee certainly worked in that instance. I was completely satisfied. I would recommend travel on the Coast Starlight very highly. If this level of service was implemented systemwide it would really be great. Reggie
     
  12. FriscoCharlie

    FriscoCharlie Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Despite my earlier post on how well money back guarantees work, I think it is good that airlines don't offer this. I know it would be off topic but we could probably start a "Airlines Horror Stories" thread and hear enough tales to make people always take the train [​IMG]

    Glad you came out okay Reggie.

    Charlie

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  13. wt&c

    wt&c Guest

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Pat:
    Usually, such a campaign is the result of negative public perception of a company, and the company's wanting to make a statement to the effect that its confident the level of service has been or will be improved.

    But as a regular Amtrak passenger, I haven't noticed anything that I would consider wrong with the trips, per se...at least not from Amtrak's standpoint.

    Take on-time performance, for example. I've seen lots of cases where a train is late because the railroad which owns the tracks gives its own freights preferential treatment (even though, financially, it's not in their best interest). I've seen where Amtrak passengers have missed connecting trains because of this. Does Amtrak plan to refund these angry passengers' money because of a problem caused by say...um... CSX? I would hope not.

    But then we get back into the PR swing of things...the passenger doesn't care whose fault it was... only that his/her trip was bad. If Amtrak plans to refund in a situation like I mentioned above, perhaps it's just a way to "save face."

    Also, I've noticed on my nearly 600 Amtrak trips that there is ALWAYS at least one passenger on each run who finds somthing to complain about, whether valid or not. Supposing this "profile person" goes from CHI to NOL for say...$150.00. Multiply that by the 363 days a year, and Amtrak has refunded a whopping $54,450.00 a year on refunds. But, since the train in my scenario above runs BOTH directions daily, the daily refund amount for just that one, hypothetical passenger comes to $108,900.00 a year (assuming there's only one complainer and that the complainer is paying $168).

    I would think that having to EXPLAIN $108K or more worth of refunds each year for a particular route would me more of a problem than the problem which the "guarantee" was implemented to solve in the first place. That's my take.

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    About the part about CSX, The freight probably is worth more to CSX than the passengers( in your obvious opinion) and anyway, the tracks aren't really in the condition of smooth riding, more for just regular freight. And it wouldn't happen to be CSX's fault if the Amtrak train just so happened to be blocking to darn intersection, the Freight 's trying to get to. AMTRAK SHOULD BUILD THEIR OWN LINE. AFTER ALL, IT ISN"T CSX 's FAULT THAT THEY LAID THE TRACKTO GO 35 OR 40, NOT 70 Or 110 an have a bigger chance if killing everybody oneboard when you hit a gap in the rails about one inch long at breakneck speed. That's my better take.
     
  14. BC Rail King

    BC Rail King E-Mail Bounces

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    I don't like the silver they used on the Super liners.

    Please give me a ful refund [​IMG]

    Happy Railroading!

    Dane N.

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    TAMR2860@hotmail.com
     
  15. Maxwell Plant

    Maxwell Plant TrainBoard Member

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    I sure hope CXS isn't hauling any "hazzards" on a line that has "one inch gaps in the rails". If CSX is going to allow Amtrak to run on it's track, then it should be expected to be in top shape for passenger service. If I was a "freight customer" of CSX, I rather they not beat the hell out of my lading in one of their boxcars or containers on their shoddy track. And that's my take...

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    Brent Tidaback, Member #234
     
  16. wt&c

    wt&c Guest

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    Hell, The tracks near my house have 1 1/4gaps between the rails and the 12-14 treains a day at 45 MPH doesn't hurt a thing.
     
  17. wt&c

    wt&c Guest

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    their hauling bromine, wood and most of all coal along a river for about 120 miles.
     
  18. TrainTech

    TrainTech E-Mail Bounces

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    Very interesting comments about CSX "shoddy track". I have to disagree with that, yes, they have had their share of derailments in Florida, but I have watched their MoW crews in ation repair and replace worn track, ties, regap the tracks, etc. They are doing one hell of a fine job in my region for maintaining and upgrading their rail system.

    As for Amtrak, you can't expect a "leased" operation to maintain the tracks they don't own, nor can you expect CSX freight not to have problems when Amtrak Trains are running 60-80 mph speeds when the CSX freights are limited to 35-45 mph speeds on the same rail. I would think Amtraks high speeds would create more problems for CSX to keep the rails maintained in a well and orderly fashion to keep their freights from toppling (derailing) off their own tracks that they can't even match the Amtrak Passenger speeds.

    Just my take on this from all my railfanning activities where I watch trains for photographing and also talking to the CSX as well as some of the Amtrak MoW crews.

    This is definitely a love-hate relationship.
     
  19. Maxwell Plant

    Maxwell Plant TrainBoard Member

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    If you rent/lease a house or apartment and the toilet won't work properly, it's up to the land-lord to fix the problem. Of course, it's also just a matter of when [​IMG] If the track's not up to Amtrak's speed and safety requirements, it's up to CSX to make sure it is. And that's the truth [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

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    RAILROADING-TO-THE-MAX, Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Style!
    Brent Tidaback, Member #234
     
  20. TrainTech

    TrainTech E-Mail Bounces

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Maxwell Plant:
    If you rent/lease a house or apartment and the toilet won't work properly, it's up to the land-lord to fix the problem. Of course, it's also just a matter of when [​IMG] If the track's not up to Amtrak's speed and safety requirements, it's up to CSX to make sure it is. And that's the truth [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I thought that's what I just said. CSX maintains the tracks and I see their crews out all the time inspecting and making sure the tracks are up to "passenger rail standards", but I still maintain that by allowing Amtrak to operate at faster speeds does do more wear and tear quicker than most slow moving freight and now Amtrak is tacking freight on to their Passenger Service. So should not Amtrak also be "required" to slow down when such a consist exists? I think if any train is of a mixed consist like that then "freight speeds should apply."

    Again this is my take, I'll have to ask a few of my railroad conductor friends and engineers (both Amtrak and CSX) and get their take on this matter as I'm sure there has to be something in the rail rule books about this type of mixed train.
     

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