$25000 Ticket on the Chicago-Bloomington Run

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

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eolesen
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Re: $25000 Ticket on the Chicago-Bloomington Run

Post by eolesen »

Keep in mind this is an advocacy group. It's their mission to portray themselves as victims...

The earlier cost estimate is probably low but shows all the costs involved. It isn't as simple as unbolting a few seats. It also doesn't take into opportunity cost for lost revenue taking the car out of service, incremental fuel, or trackable fees for adding axles for deadhead moves.

Can't say what a bus company would do, but an airlines response to accommodate this group would have been similar - spread out your travel. Bloomington is served with regional jets, and there are physical limits in how many electric wheelchairs can be loaded into a cargo hold. Upgauging to a larger jet to keep the group intact would have been a charter, and far more than $25000.

Tadman
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Re: $25000 Ticket on the Chicago-Bloomington Run

Post by Tadman »

John_Perkowski wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:21 pm
Tad,

The airlines would find a way.
They have a way. It's called use that narrow wheelchair and don't mess with the seats at all. Here's an example of Amtrak providing actual space for normal wheelchairs and now they're the bad guy. Head on over to UAL an you can pay the baggage fee and ride the narrow chair.
STrRedWolf wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:20 pm

Eight hours? Four men? For something as simple as unbolting and hauling out a pair of seats and a table on two cars?

Now you know why I came up with $232. This is a layover job for two people and an hour of work at $25/hour/person and a charged battery-powered drill gun. You put the seats back on at the other end, then take 'em out when they board the train after their setup (assuming there's a few runs between the round trips).
You're thinking on a practical basis. But that's not how a business estimates costs. Think about it this way - how much time does it take you to do some minor house work like plumbing or hang a ceiling fan? Last week they quoted my sister $600/ea to hang a ceiling fan. I came over and did two (take old ones down and hang new ones) in an hour and stole a couple coors lights. We all had a good laugh. But the electrician wasn't about to lower prices. He has travel time, salary, tools, trucks, insurance, advertising, cell phone... all those things have to be covered.

You also have to keep in mind that there might be engineering or supervisory sign off. It costs me $2000 to have my drawings looked at and signed by a PE when my customers ask for that. No calculations, drawing, or design work, just an eyeball.

It's also worth looking at from Amtrak's perspective. They are government funded and usually quite ready to accommodate people with special needs. I helped a friend with a service dog board at CUS a few years ago. I called a few manager friends about any trouble I might run into, and the unanimous reply was something like "we serve people with special needs and you should have no problem, it's a big part of our passenger base". Why would they send that $25k price, just to be jerks to their favorite customers? Are they having a bad day? Or maybe they have some serious costs to cover as I've shown.
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JimBoylan
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Re: $25000 Ticket on the Chicago-Bloomington Run

Post by JimBoylan »

The $25,000 probably includes the cost of shipping the car to the shops in Beech Grove, Ind. or Bear, Del. twice, and the lost revenue while the car is making those trips, since Amtrak has no extra replacement cars. That's also why Amtrak can't ad extra cars to the train. $25 per hour (plus employer taxes ad fringe benefit)s is probably too low for an Amtrak union member's wage.

rcthompson04
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Re: $25000 Ticket on the Chicago-Bloomington Run

Post by rcthompson04 »

I suspect we are missing costs even in our estimates like having enough staff to handle disabled passengers in an evacuation. God forbid there is an accident and Amtrak has not staffed a train properly.

Articles like this are why I lump NPR into the same category as Fox News, MSNBC and CNN of being partisan rubbish that plays to a specific constituency (college educated liberal whites). If NPR had done its homework instead of engaging in outrage journalism like us the fad today, we would have to be guessing what cost drove this estimate. This is the same stuff as I have seen in every area I have worked in my adult life (government, law and finance) regarding the press. The press is not up to the job, the public knows it and everyone is suspicious of them. Just another example of it.

MACTRAXX
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Re: $25000 Ticket on the Chicago-Bloomington Run

Post by MACTRAXX »

Everyone: This was another problem generating bad publicity that Amtrak has had to deal with...

Were there any other news reports from the Chicago and Illinois media concerning this problem?
This was written in the Chicago Sun-Times:
https://chicago.suntimes.com/politics/2 ... essibility
ADMIN EDIT: The link gives you a 404 inside the Sun Times website. IT IS the correct link, my best guess is the paper wants you to go in by thr front door. THAT SAID, it’s the same episode. JP.

I agree with the mention of having the wheelchair passengers take two separate trains
or to add a Viewliner baggage car that can specially accommodate this entire group of passengers.

I also agree with the thought that advocacy groups do refer to themselves by using victimization as an example.

This was a problem that needed further research-and better contact between this group and Amtrak may have made a big difference to solve this logistical problem...MACTRAXX
Last edited by John_Perkowski on Mon Jan 20, 2020 2:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Link issue
EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS

MACTRAXX
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Re: $25000 Ticket on the Chicago-Bloomington Run

Post by MACTRAXX »

JP: My apologies concerning the Chicago Sun-Times link. I tried to fix the link at first.
I re-typed the link in full and was subject to not only a paywall the link -
which was correct as you noted - did not further work.

This was posted at Yahoo News on the subject:
https://news.yahoo.com/tammy-duckworth- ... 42204.html

Again this is a no-win situation - and when news outlets with political biases get further
involved things can take a turn for the worse no matter what is being done
constructively to solve the problem...MACTRAXX
EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS

rcthompson04
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Re: $25000 Ticket on the Chicago-Bloomington Run

Post by rcthompson04 »

MACTRAXX wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 2:35 pm
JP: My apologies concerning the Chicago Sun-Times link. I tried to fix the link at first.
I re-typed the link in full and was subject to not only a paywall the link -
which was correct as you noted - did not further work.

This was posted at Yahoo News on the subject:
https://news.yahoo.com/tammy-duckworth- ... 42204.html

Again this is a no-win situation - and when news outlets with political biases get further
involved things can take a turn for the worse no matter what is being done
constructively to solve the problem...MACTRAXX
I wonder if the fine Senator would be willing to give up pork from elsewhere in her state for Amtrak to have fully ADA complaint cars.

DutchRailnut
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Re: $25000 Ticket on the Chicago-Bloomington Run

Post by DutchRailnut »

fully ?? lets be honest it only happens maybe twice a year that ADA requirements get exceeded because of demand .
should customer be punished or should Amtrak just eat it and remove a seat and pedestal for one 24 hour period ??
think the black eye sustained by Amtrak for this exceeds cost ... just sayinn..
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John_Perkowski
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Re: $25000 Ticket on the Chicago-Bloomington Run

Post by John_Perkowski »

Mactraxx...no problem. I posted the edit so others would know. Not your circus, not your monkeys if the Sun Times has a goofy fron/side door set.

Jaap has the right of it. Just eat the cost. It’s not worth the or negatives.
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STrRedWolf
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Re: $25000 Ticket on the Chicago-Bloomington Run

Post by STrRedWolf »

Update: Amtrak threw it in reverse.

https://www.npr.org/2020/01/20/79800030 ... complaints

Gist: Amtrak’s eating the cost for this and another advocacy group that’s taking the same train.

If this is a regular thing... it may be worth a PV.
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John_Perkowski
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Re: $25000 Ticket on the Chicago-Bloomington Run

Post by John_Perkowski »

Don’t piss off a fairy god-senator, especially when she is a) disabled, and b) gotten legislature through that the airlines mus report to the FAA anytime they break a wheelchair in transit.

https://www.npr.org/2020/01/20/79800030 ... omplaints/
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electricron
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Re: $25000 Ticket on the Chicago-Bloomington Run

Post by electricron »

Amtrak has a car sports teams use between cities on the NEC, providing "group" services.
Amtrak needs a car designed to support groups of mobility challanged individuals as well, that can be moved around as needed.
I would suggest using either a Amfleet I or II business class/food service car, just by removing one seat per roll in the business class with a large restroom in that half of the car. Shucks, removing two seats per roll for this purpose shouldn't cause Amtrak to go bankrupt. Then they wouldn't have to take the car out of service to pull and reinstall seats all the time. Do it once, and keep it in standby for the occasions it is not being used by groups.

CHTT1
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Re: $25000 Ticket on the Chicago-Bloomington Run

Post by CHTT1 »

Electricron has a good idea. Amtrak might need several of these cars stationed around the nation (east coast, midwest, west coast) to make it work, but the cost would certainly be Ok in order to avoid the embarrassing situation that started this discussion.

mtuandrew
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Re: $25000 Ticket on the Chicago-Bloomington Run

Post by mtuandrew »

Amtrak already has them, they’re called V-II diners. (The cars not having traps isn’t an issue - they would need level boarding or lifts anyway.)

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BandA
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Re: $25000 Ticket on the Chicago-Bloomington Run

Post by BandA »

This handicapped group is not asking for anything unreasonable. Imagine if you had a married couple in wheelchairs, with the husband relying on the wife to give him his medicine. Should they be forced to travel in separate cars? That would be unreasonable. Amtrak had enough time to plan how to accommodate these folks and do it at a reasonable cost on two or three or four coaches & make those available for this trip. Perhaps quick-releasing bolts with locks.

What if another unrelated person in a wheelchair happens to want to travel on the same day that a group is traveling? Does amtrak say "no"?

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