• Will They Ever Return?

  • This forum will be for issues that don't belong specifically to one NYC area transit agency, but several. For instance, intra-MTA proposals or MTA-wide issues, which may involve both Metro-North Railroad (MNRR) and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Other intra-agency examples: through running such as the now discontinued MNRR-NJT Meadowlands special. Topics which only concern one operating agency should remain in their respective forums.
This forum will be for issues that don't belong specifically to one NYC area transit agency, but several. For instance, intra-MTA proposals or MTA-wide issues, which may involve both Metro-North Railroad (MNRR) and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Other intra-agency examples: through running such as the now discontinued MNRR-NJT Meadowlands special. Topics which only concern one operating agency should remain in their respective forums.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, nomis, FL9AC, Jeff Smith

  by lensovet
 
Trains looking pretty full today
B39388DD-E079-41F7-9BB9-27CF1AC44126.png
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  by eolesen
 
School holiday weekend...

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  by lensovet
 
tomorrow a school holiday too? 7.37 am Keystone from Trenton to NYP is sold out.

wednesday's train is 90% full with coach tickets costing $92 (for what costs $17 on NJT).

not that i should expect anything else from the "california is not putting enough money in its filled to capacity rainy day fund" crowd…
  by eolesen
 
For some Catholic schools, Columbus Day is a four day weekend, so yes actually...

If it's sold out for two weeks straight, maybe you've managed to find the smoking gun that proves everyone else wrong where commuting recovery is concerned.

Or maybe it's just an anomaly or outlier.

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  by lensovet
 
Sure and Wednesday is also a holiday?

Okay let check back in a week.
  by Literalman
 
This only anecdotal, but I rode Septa regional rail three times in the past week or so (I mostly ride the Media and Sharon Hill trolleys), and there were a lot of people riding the regional trains. Nobody standing, but not a lot of empty seats either.
  by eolesen
 
lensovet wrote:Trains looking pretty full today
B39388DD-E079-41F7-9BB9-27CF1AC44126.png
Same trains tomorrow are 90/60/80% full...

Tuesday... 80/50/60%....

So yeah, last week might have been an anomaly.
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  by lensovet
 
Makes sense to check how full trains are an hour before departure, not a week before.
Business is sold out? On a regional where the upgrade gets you nothing other than an assigned seat?
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  by eolesen
 
How many of your average commuter are living 60 miles away in Trenton and can afford commuting in business class with the luxury of arriving just before lunchtime?...

I'm sure that the move by investment banks to force people back in-office has pushed the numbers upward, but I still say that's an outlier more than a general trend.

Regardless, the total coming into the city still is below 75% of pre-COVID numbers, which seems to be the generally accepted recovery rate people here have agreed on. My gut says it's going to be 75% on Tu/We/Th and <50% the remaining four days, which will be a serious hit to farebox recovery. Fares will have to go up thanks not only to energy and wages, but to make up for that reduction on the new weekend days of Friday and Monday...

Oh, and COVID seems to be trending up in our area again, so there's that....
  by lensovet
 
Sorry, what does it matter whether it's your "average" commuter (whatever that even means these days) or some random vacation-goer if the train is full and there are no seats?

The point is that someone paid over $100 to go 68 miles. That's a pretty steep mileage rate.
  by eolesen
 
Well.... considering the topic is whether or not commuting will return to pre-Covid levels.... it definitely matters if they're commuters or random day trippers.

You even said it yourself months ago - Amtrak's pricing was enticing people who normally took NJT to take Amtrak, so did a fair number of those folks decide "quality" was worth the money over basic transportation once the cheap fares ran out?

Maybe these were people who took a car service and couldn't keep up with gas prices or a shortage of drivers... $100 to go 68 miles is still cheaper than a limo.
  by lensovet
 
It's worth noting that the cheap fares only exist a certain number of days out and are non-refundable and non-changeable. There's an exemption through the end of October, but my guess is that Amtrak won't bother extending it with loads like this.

At that point, NJT starts to look a lot more appealing with the ability to commit to the ticket — at a fixed price irrespective of demand — just minutes before departure.

My earlier comments were posted months ago. That's my point — the situation has definitely changed. It used to be that trains were half-full and you didn't need to sit next to anyone. These days, you're guaranteed to have a partner and you better be one of the first on the train if you want to be able to actually choose your seat.
  by eolesen
 
Interesting comments in United Airlines earning report yesterday....

https://www.yahoo.com/video/united-airl ... 00132.html
“There’s been a permanent structural change in leisure demand because of the flexibility that hybrid work allows,” CEO Scott Kirby said.

Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Nocella told analysts that traditional troughs in demand on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and holiday traffic spread out beyond a weekend or several days would enable United to operate a “less peak schedule,” leading to “really enormous efficiency gains.”
...
Even “secondary holidays are incredibly strong, not just the primary holidays,” he added.
...
Kirby cited the “permanent structural changes” that flexible work environments have created.
...
An upsurge in leisure travel and airline efficiencies tied to pent-up demand or flexible work arrangements won’t in themselves make United whole, although the airline is witnessing “incredible strength” from flyers booking coach seats, and the Premium Plus cabin, Nocella said.


If this is showing up in United's revenue, it's likely seeing a fair amount of that hybrid jetsetting demand at transit oriented cities... which drives to the heart of this conversation.

Arguably Amtrak stands to gain at local transit's expense here as well.

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  by Gilbert B Norman
 
A quick report this morning on WBBM 780/105.9 is that Chicago Loop offices are now estimated 60% full. The report also noted that the crime incidence on the CTA is a factor in that low occupancy rate. More have come to accept COVID is simply endemic - get your shots and if you get it, you get it - but you're not going to die from it!! (or at least that's my attitude).

Sure, the CTA is largely "back", because so much more of its ridership base represents front line workers rather than the knowledge worker base of METRA, who now have the option of hopping on United or other airline of choice, and working from wherever there is wi-fi.
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