Amtrak Limiting/Ending Some Fare Discounts

Old Dec 8, 17, 7:38 am
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Amtrak Limiting/Ending Some Fare Discounts

According to a report from LOSSAN (the Southern California management agency for the Pacific Surfliner), effective 1/9/2018 Amtrak will:

- Reduce the senior/disabled discount from 15% to 10%;
- Increase the senior discount eligibility age from 62 to 65;
- Decrease the allowable number of 50% child fares (age 12 or younger) from two per adult fare paid to one per adult fare paid;
- Eliminate the AAA discount program (effective sometime 1st quarter 2018)
- Eliminate the student discount on all trains

https://lossan.legistar.com/View.ash...6-BEBEE441BEE4
(link is a PDF download)
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Old Dec 8, 17, 11:38 am
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Originally Posted by NovaEngr View Post
According to a report from LOSSAN (the Southern California management agency for the Pacific Surfliner), effective 1/9/2018 Amtrak will:

- Reduce the senior/disabled discount from 15% to 10%;
- Increase the senior discount eligibility age from 62 to 65;
- Decrease the allowable number of 50% child fares (age 12 or younger) from two per adult fare paid to one per adult fare paid;
- Eliminate the AAA discount program (effective sometime 1st quarter 2018)
- Eliminate the student discount on all trains

https://lossan.legistar.com/View.ash...6-BEBEE441BEE4
(link is a PDF download)
At first I had hoped that it was only the Surfliner doing this, but this indicates that it's systemwide (and likely an unintentional leak that Amtrak HQ won't be happy with):

Need for Additional Fare Policy Modifications On November 8, 2017, the LOSSAN Agency was notified by Amtrak of upcoming changes to Amtrak’s national tariff policy. A number of modifications are being instituted with the implementation currently scheduled for January 9, 2018. The most significant of these are reductions to various passenger discount programs and the complete elimination of others. The proposed changes reduce the discount for seniors and the disabled from 15 percent down to 10 percent, with age of eligibility for the senior discount being increased from 62 to 65 years. The national student discount is being discontinued. Current policy allows for two children to receive a 50 percent discount per each full fare paying adult. The proposed adjustment would make that ratio one child per adult. Another adjustment being implemented in the first quarter of 2018 is the elimination of the 10 percent discount offered to American Automobile Association members. The LOSSAN Agency has expressed serious reservations about many of these adjustments to Amtrak and has rejected a number of these changes. The proposed changes to the Amtrak tariff policy would adversely impact students, seniors and the disabled, segments of our ridership who may be on fixed incomes and have limited choices concerning methods of transportation. Staff recommends the LOSSAN Agency adopt a revised fare and tariff policy that maintains the current discounts. The details of the proposed fare and tariff policy are shown in Attachment B. Included in the fare and tariff policy are only those discounts that would vary from the currently proposed Amtrak national tariff policy. Items such as the discount for active military are not impacted by the proposed changes, and thus are not included in the LOSSAN Agency fare and tariff policy.
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Old Dec 8, 17, 12:31 pm
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Not thrilled about the lack of student fares.
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Old Dec 8, 17, 5:40 pm
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Sigh. This is what happens when they have that MacGyver guy for the CEO.
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Old Dec 8, 17, 7:57 pm
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Save a copy of it. The LOSSAN reports always leak what Amtrak plans to do. Once Amtrak realizes this, they'll get LOSSAN to remove the document from the internet.
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Old Dec 8, 17, 9:04 pm
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Here it is, for posterity.
Attached Images
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Old Dec 9, 17, 1:08 pm
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I would rather see Amtrak selectively raise fares than cut amenities, frequencies, or routes. They will, of course, have to be careful that they do this in a way that minimizes loss of customers, but overall seems like a good move. Daze
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Old Dec 16, 17, 9:04 am
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The loss of these discounts will disproportionately affect longer distance travelers who are paying substantially larger fares to travel long distances. While the AAA discount is nice if traveling from Washington to Philadelphia, its not going to break the bank if it goes away. If traveling from Chicago to Los Angeles, the financial hit to the passenger is significantly higher.

Likewise, the new rule to cut the number of children discounted per paid adult fare is much more harmful on long distance routes, although undesirable on any route. How many single mothers with a couple of kids will now just drive or fly Southwest rather than pay full adult fare when traveling coach with several kids? If its going to cost essentially the same, a few hour trip beats a two day trip for many people.

Passenger rail service is not an airline, and those of us who have been in this business long enough remember when those with airline experience took over Amtrak at times in the past, always with undesirable results which required years of recovery afterward. Hopefully we are not headed into this cycle again. The obsession with "right sizing" consists by cutting off cars is the wrong approach. Much better to "right size" loads by creative marketing efforts to put people on the train to sell all the existing inventory that is available, thus maximizing revenue and ridership while helping to develop a larger political constituency to support passenger rail service.
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Old Dec 16, 17, 12:28 pm
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Actually, eliminating fixed/entitlement discounts like senior and AAA allows Amtrak better revenue management freedom (creativity, if you like) to target riders and better match supply and demand.
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Old Jan 17, 18, 9:36 pm
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
Actually, eliminating fixed/entitlement discounts like senior and AAA allows Amtrak better revenue management freedom (creativity, if you like) to target riders and better match supply and demand.
Actually, revenue management works about the same, regardless of whether passengers are traveling on discounts. I would be delighted to see examples of revenue management creativity to target riders to increase demand on weak segments of routes while raising fares (more revenue) on peak demand segments of routes. That sort of professional expertise exists with some airlines (Southwest comes to mind) but I have rarely if ever seen anything that could charitably be called "creativity" with Amtrak revenue management.
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Old Feb 24, 18, 2:33 pm
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The AAA discount appears to be no longer available.
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Old Feb 25, 18, 11:51 am
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Originally Posted by rewindrw View Post
The AAA discount appears to be no longer available.
Yup, for reasons as yet unclear, the AAA discount was discontinued as of Feb 15th. I'm not sure if Amtrak ended the relationship or if it was AAA.
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Old Feb 28, 18, 12:04 pm
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I popped into this section because I couldn't figure out how to bring up the AAA option on the newfangled website. That really stinks that AAA is not available. As noted, for a quick hop on the regional its not noticeable but for the big routes its absence is a noticeable increase.

On a side note, I prefer the old site setup
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Old Feb 28, 18, 12:45 pm
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The AAA discount will be returning for the California-funded services: the Surfliner, Capitol Corridor and San Joaquin. Similar to how California handled retaining the 15% senior discount for age 62 and over and the student discounts, the California AAA discount will require use of a discount code that will be posted on the websites of the state services. I believe the goal is to have the California AAA discount in place by the end of March.

California Amtrak Discounts
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Old Feb 28, 18, 10:03 pm
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Originally Posted by screeton View Post
The loss of these discounts will disproportionately affect longer distance travelers who are paying substantially larger fares to travel long distances. While the AAA discount is nice if traveling from Washington to Philadelphia, its not going to break the bank if it goes away. If traveling from Chicago to Los Angeles, the financial hit to the passenger is significantly higher.
...
.
I know your comment is months old, but I couldn't resist - it was a 10% discount regardless of length/cost, by definition it proportionally affected the long distance travellers more than the short distance traveller, nothing disproportionate about it. As for the second part, sure for a single trip, but I spent over $5000 last year on NYC<->PHL trips. I'm going to notice the loss of the discount, big time. [that said, not all of my trips were booked more than 3 days in advance, so a chunk of my spend was not eligible for the discount, I'm not trying to claim I lost $500/yr with the change]
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