CarterB wrote: ↑Sun May 24, 2020 7:08 pm
I'd support your idea wholeheartedly!!
Price the slumbercoach on the routes as ratio of slumber havinng 40 berths vs the number of berths ratio on superliner total per car berths
In the spirit of Mr. Maitland’s original post, let’s define the rules.
-I’m assuming that we won’t be able to fit 40 Slumbercoach compartments in a Viewliner due to modern regulatory and Amtrak-specific reasons, but we should be able to get 32 compartments, an Accessible Bedroom, a crew Roomette, and bathroom facilities. Likewise, we can plan for an equivalent Parlor car with 32 seats, an Accessible Bedroom, a crew office and bathrooms.
-For expediency and a truer comparison, the Slumbercoach compartments won’t have sinks or toilets. Neither will offer sheets or a turn-down service (all seats will be adjustable by passengers.) Meal service will be via a ticket upgrade at purchase or onboard. And, don’t expect an individual thermostat in your compartment.
-I’ll allow a microfridge (sized for a 2L soda, a six-pack, or a bottle of Mr. Norman’s grape juice) for each seat in both car types. Both will offer a prepacked complimentary blanket, pillow, eye mask and earplugs. Otherwise, expect a window shade, a 110VAC outlet & pair of USB-A outlets, an air vent, a tray table, a personal ambient/ceiling light and a spotlight.
-Any other differences - seat type & comfort level, sound deadening, temperature control & ventilation, etc - we’ll try to make pretty close. The main tradeoff seems like it’ll be privacy and possibly sound control versus headroom and at-seat luggage space.
How about we further set it up as a double-blind test? For the first couple months, Amtrak can sell “enhanced accommodations” with no guarantee of which type they’ll
get, and then surprise customers with their berth/seat when they come aboard. Call it Schrödinger’s Coach
and get as much survey information from riders as possible.
Once Amtrak gets the first round of feedback, it can specifically assign types of cars to specific trainsets. Meaning, if you book for a given Tuesday you could get a Parlor seat but not a Slumbercoach; if you book for the following Wednesday you can get a Slumbercoach compartment but not a Parlor seat. These would rotate through the week, meaning some Fridays you could get a Slumbercoach and some others you could get a Parlor seat. See which day gets more bookings.
After the second round and as more cars come available, the final round would be to offer both on one train (or at least one type each on parallel trains, like the Cap & LSL or the Star & Meteor.) See which type gets more bookings and at what fare bucket, and see what the customer reviews are.
That’s a lot, but does it sound reasonable to you?