Crazy Acela Pricing

Old Mar 6, 18, 2:27 pm
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Crazy Acela Pricing

Amtrak is getting greedy... this is for a trip this June



I guess they think people will simply book the Acela at nearly 4x the price to save 40 minutes...

I haven't ridden the Acela BOS-NYP in so long since even when making a last minute purchase the price is regularly 2-3x the regionals...
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Old Mar 6, 18, 9:22 pm
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I don't think this is in any way new; it seems to me it has always been this way, and people do pay that fare. On the NYP-WAS route it saves just ~25 minutes and is also over 3x the price of a Saver on the Regional, but they often sell out close to departure anyway. Acela travelers mostly have expense accounts and if someone else is paying, why not get in earlier? Time really is money and for business travelers, it matters. Also, seats are a bit comfier and Acelas are prioritized during delays. When I am in the Acela lounge in NYP, I watch as people come in and, having finished up earlier than expected, switch from the 5pm Acela to the 4pm or similar (and that's how I know they sell out, because that's often the response from the rep at the desk). I can only imagine what that costs in terms of the walk up fare. But who cares? It's on someone else's dime. And if someone is going to waste money, I can think of worse beneficiaries than Amtrak.

I ride trains on the NEC every week but have taken the Acela precisely three times: once for a family emergency, once on a promotional sale fare, and once when someone else was paying.
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Old Mar 8, 18, 8:59 am
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Originally Posted by musicalbox View Post
I don't think this is in any way new; it seems to me it has always been this way, and people do pay that fare. On the NYP-WAS route it saves just ~25 minutes and is also over 3x the price of a Saver on the Regional, but they often sell out close to departure anyway. Acela travelers mostly have expense accounts and if someone else is paying, why not get in earlier? Time really is money and for business travelers, it matters. Also, seats are a bit comfier and Acelas are prioritized during delays.
This. When I was working, I took Acelas as a rule between my home base in WIL and NYP, rather than Regionals. The time savings was part of it, the comfort was part of it, the priority during delays was a big part of it, and the OPM aspect was part of it. These days, as a lady of leisure, I take Regionals 100% of the time (in fact I am on one as I type this!)

Interestingly, in the nor’easter disruption yesterday and spilling into today, all Acelas were cancelled, but my WIL-NYP Regional yesterday was still running—over an hour late, but at least I got to NY.
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Old Mar 8, 18, 6:37 pm
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Originally Posted by travelmad478 View Post
Interestingly, in the nor’easter disruption yesterday and spilling into today, all Acelas were cancelled, but my WIL-NYP Regional yesterday was still running—over an hour late, but at least I got to NY.
Yeah, exactly. The regionals can sometimes be running right behind a delayed Acela and offer no additional amenities on board (unless in Acela F). I also find the Acela is typically pack the whole distance, from NYP-BOS, wheras the regionals will lighten up east of New London and you'll get more space.

I'm shocked people are paying 4x for the acela over the regional, but would be interested to know how well Amtrak is selling these super-expensive new fares...
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Old Mar 8, 18, 10:29 pm
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Originally Posted by hi55us View Post
but would be interested to know how well Amtrak is selling these super-expensive new fares...
Again, they aren't new and they seem to sell pretty well. A quick Google search shows ridership on Acela is steady and accounts for 25% of Amtrak's total revenue. As you yourself say, the trains can be packed (I'll take your word for it since I don't take them).

I mean, I get it, the prices seem outrageous when compared to Regionals. But it's been that way for as long as I can remember and people pay it. Frankly, it would be more surprising if Amtrak didn't take advantage of a market of people who will pretty much pay anything, ie, corporate America. And they can keep right on subsidizing my $49 NER fares.
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Old Mar 9, 18, 4:50 am
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I'd be curious to see a survey of passengers riding Acela on how much time they think they're saving by taking the Acela over the Regional. I think the name scheme, marketing, and the look of the equipment itself has a significant effect pushing folks to the Acela and those Regionals are only for the folks going short distance to/from stations not served by Acela.
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Old Mar 9, 18, 5:52 am
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Originally Posted by musicalbox View Post
Again, they aren't new and they seem to sell pretty well. ... But it's been that way for as long as I can remember and people pay it. Frankly, it would be more surprising if Amtrak didn't take advantage of a market of people who will pretty much pay anything, ie, corporate America.
Indeed. I myself have always been stunned that anyone would pay the extra for an Acela F seat vs. an Acela regular seat, but if you take a quick look at this very forum, you’ll see dozens of FTers recommending it on thread after thread. So maybe you should ask them?
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Old Mar 16, 18, 8:53 pm
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Originally Posted by Sicariis View Post
I'd be curious to see a survey of passengers riding Acela on how much time they think they're saving by taking the Acela over the Regional. I think the name scheme, marketing, and the look of the equipment itself has a significant effect pushing folks to the Acela and those Regionals are only for the folks going short distance to/from stations not served by Acela.
My head spins when I hear co-workers talk about how much faster it is from NYP to PHL (10 minutes) or to wait an hour after a Regional just to ride Acela. My normal preference is Regional but just to give a couple other perspectives:

-I've had to pay the absurd Acela fares a few times due to the departure or arrival times. There are a couple of time slots where they run Acelas back to back instead of alternating (leaving Boston at end of day). So if you're going for the next Regional, you're waiting a while and that initial 40 minutes saved getting home effectively becomes a couple hours. The premium cost becomes more palatable.

-There are some corporate contracts that discount Acela but not Regional fares. Depending on the size of company and what bucket the Regionals are selling in, it's not rare to have Acela price lower especially during peak times.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 10:09 am
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Meanwhile I am seeing AA/DL/B6 are offering sub $100 fares between BOS-NYC. There is really no points booking Acela.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 11:54 am
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Originally Posted by mediator View Post
Meanwhile I am seeing AA/DL/B6 are offering sub $100 fares between BOS-NYC. There is really no points booking Acela.

Totally agree.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 2:51 pm
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Originally Posted by mediator View Post
Meanwhile I am seeing AA/DL/B6 are offering sub $100 fares between BOS-NYC. There is really no points booking Acela.
It's always been cheaper to fly NYC<->BOS or NYC<->WAS than take Acela. The competition has never been on price.
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Old Apr 5, 18, 2:57 pm
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I remember reading a long time ago some Amtrak official saying the core user of Acela is the business traveler who perceives they are saving money from taking Acela - so they will put up with a bit more time -- but that person isn't going to spend extra time to save more money - the current Acela timings are as much as they will spend - which is why he was stumping for investments to make the NE Corridor more high speed.
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Old Apr 6, 18, 10:07 am
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I'm usually content taking Business on the regional when I'm on client trips. But, if there is a close delta between the Regional Business and the Acela Business, I will often consider the Acela.

What I've noticed is the Acela will be jam packed while the Regional in Business might be 60% full. Chances of an empty seat are higher.
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Old Apr 7, 18, 11:04 am
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Originally Posted by mediator View Post
Meanwhile I am seeing AA/DL/B6 are offering sub $100 fares between BOS-NYC. There is really no points booking Acela.
Let's see. How about:

Avoiding security theater.
Downtown to downtown. Have you ever tried to get from JFK/LGA to Midtown?
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Old Apr 8, 18, 8:36 am
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BOS to NYP is 3:45. Shuttle takes about an hour flight time plus security/wait plus commute. In my mind this is closer to a toss up than WAS-NYP versus the Shuttle from DCA to LGA. And, Amtrak is not immune to their own types of delays. We had a nice delay the other week owing to somebody getting hit by a train south of Route 128.
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