Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman
Suburban Station wrote:my biggest complaint on the nec is the two week advance purchase nonsense. they don't size trains to meet demand so there is zero advantage to knowing in advance what you're ridership will be.The 2-week advance bucket is purely for purposes of sorting "business" from "leisure" (not capacity planning). They can't ask "is this a personal trip?", but they can ask "are you willing to buy 2 weeks in advance? (or a non-refundable ticket)"
Arlington wrote:this is the exact opposite of how I travel. My business trips are planned well in advance but my ny trips are spur of the moment.Suburban Station wrote:my biggest complaint on the nec is the two week advance purchase nonsense. they don't size trains to meet demand so there is zero advantage to knowing in advance what you're ridership will be.The 2-week advance bucket is purely for purposes of sorting "business" from "leisure" (not capacity planning). They can't ask "is this a personal trip?", but they can ask "are you willing to buy 2 weeks in advance? (or a non-refundable ticket)"
Business travelers effectively "out" themselves by being unwilling or unable to buy in advance and needing to buy refundable/changeable tickets, while personal trips and "conventioneers" and other lower-value trips usually can buy two weeks out). It is near-pure "price discrimination" (a good thing for both the railroad and all their customer groups). Charge more to the people who assign a higher value to their trip, and let people who are cheap "work for it" and "show how serious they are about needing low prices" by jumping fairly arbitrary hurdles.
If they didn't make it hard to get the low fares, everybody would crowd into the low-fare buckets and ruin everything.
At the same time, I have found Amtrak doing pretty decent intra-day price tweaks on NYP-BOS trips, where for a last-minute purchase, a not-sold-out early-afternoon Acela was underpricing an NER at a slightly "better" (end of business day) time, so I happily took the Acela and filled that seat at a decent fare ($110 o/w?) at the last minute.
Arlington wrote:Note that October is a *very*busy travel season for Boston & New England between the perfect weather, the fall foliage, and lots of reasons to visit to or from a college (regattas, parents' weekends, homecoming weekends), such as:Last Week: Vermont Foliage, Yale Parent's Weekend, Boston Half Marathon, Columbus Day,Well said, you have all these legacy events in Boston, plus conventions, and general business created by a resurgent city with yearly populations gains.
This Week: Exurb Foliage, "Parent's Weekends" (eg Tufts, BU, and the biggie: Head of the Charles Regatta (which draws 11,000 competitors and 400,000 spectators, many of which are college kids from "preppy rowing" places down the NEC), and Boston College Homecoming.Next Week: City Foliage & More Parents' Weekends (e.g. Northeastern).
Not that any one parents' weekend is going to sell out a train, but this is high season up and down the NEC for all kinds of "we'll visit now that you're settled in" for all the school & post-school "moves" that happened for the young, urban, and car-free around Labor Day. But if Amtrak has hiked fares, I consider it a good thing, since it indicates that they're confident in strong demand for trains despite fierce bus competition and falling gas prices. Its good for the railroad.
Jeff Smith wrote:Quick question; is there a way to check or compare fares or availability over multiple days for a specific route? I.e. outside of the normal Amtrak.com reservation system? Or do you just have to, so to speak, "hunt and peck" it? I'm including all types of reservations, i.e. coach, business, Acela, sleeper, etc.Yes. There is a site called Amsnag. It can pull up to 30 consecutive days of fares and accommodation charges for a specified city pair, and displays the results tabularly for comparison.