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Acela pricing, travel times increasingly uncompetitive

Acela pricing, travel times increasingly uncompetitive

Old Dec 9, 2023, 11:01 am
  #16  
 
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One thing I wonder is the effect of cancellations, which often happen close to the date, on prices. If a few people cancel, prices may drop.
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Old Dec 19, 2023, 2:36 pm
  #17  
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Just purchased 2 refundable Acela (BOS to NYP) tickets for $64 each (different days), cheaper than non-Acela coach fares with similar timing. Could have gotten value fare for under $50.

Depending on my BOS flight arrival, I would have some flexibility, so worth the additional $15.

Also saw non-Acela vaule fares for under $30. These are "flash" sale fares, but even during non promotional times a couple of months ago, I purchased refundable non-Acela fares (NYP-BOS) for less than $40 about a month out, to catch a cheaper fare ex-BOS (I am NYC based).
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Old Mar 5, 2024, 7:55 am
  #18  
 
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Looks like they just pushed through a 20-30% fare increase - at least on that cheapest fare. That $64 flex fare NYP-BOS is now $77 for example and the increase on value fares seems even larger. Second increase in just a few months.
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Old Mar 5, 2024, 8:23 am
  #19  
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Thanks for the note. I thought the higher fare was due to demand...did not know it was an overall increase.

Need to get up to Boston mid-month, Amtrak fares were not competitive, airfare was good (around $69 basic economy), but ended up buying a $23 + fees nonstop bus ticket leaving from Hell's Kitchen (ourbus).
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Old Mar 5, 2024, 8:40 am
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My daughter did the bus a few times and swore never again. If you are flexible on travel times you can get the $15-$30 regional fares and have a much more reliable ride than a bus.
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Old Mar 5, 2024, 9:21 am
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Originally Posted by BeantownFlyer
My daughter did the bus a few times and swore never again. If you are flexible on travel times you can get the $15-$30 regional fares and have a much more reliable ride than a bus.
​​​​​​NEC is expensive too on the day (weekday) of my travel.

What issue(s) did your daughter encounter?

Very small data set, but I rode ourbus last year, and it was uneventful. I picked that one, as it is literally less than 5 minutes of walking from my mom's place. I am definitely flexible all day...just need to get to Boston by early evening time frame.

Thanks!
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Old Mar 5, 2024, 10:03 am
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Just had one of those days when it took 2 hours to get to Stamford. Which unfortunately is not that rare depending on time of day.
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Old Mar 5, 2024, 10:20 am
  #23  
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Originally Posted by BeantownFlyer
Just had one of those days when it took 2 hours to get to Stamford. Which unfortunately is not that rare depending on time of day.
​​​​​Traffic is unavoidable even during nonpeak hours. Bus is scheduled to leave at 11am, which should minimize residual rush hour traffic.
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Old Apr 2, 2024, 10:14 pm
  #24  
 
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Originally Posted by Repooc17
Just purchased 2 refundable Acela (BOS to NYP) tickets for $64 each (different days), cheaper than non-Acela coach fares with similar timing. Could have gotten value fare for under $50.
Originally Posted by BeantownFlyer
Looks like they just pushed through a 20-30% fare increase - at least on that cheapest fare. That $64 flex fare NYP-BOS is now $77 for example and the increase on value fares seems even larger. Second increase in just a few months.
(sorry, catching up)

ErrI'm not seeing a material increase. Maybe I'm just spoiled since I've been buying $20 night owl fares, but as far as I can tell the base BOS/NYP coach fare is still $35, with the flex variant a $4 surcharge so $39. That's what I see all day on, e.g., Monday July 15, a day I picked relatively at random.

Am I missing something? As far as I can tell, all the higher fares I see are consistent with the cheap fares being snapped up and purchased by others, leaving only the more expensive fares. But not consistent with a fare increase?
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Old Apr 2, 2024, 10:31 pm
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Originally Posted by boswash52
(sorry, catching up)

ErrI'm not seeing a material increase. Maybe I'm just spoiled since I've been buying $20 night owl fares, but as far as I can tell the base BOS/NYP coach fare is still $35, with the flex variant a $4 surcharge so $39. That's what I see all day on, e.g., Monday July 15, a day I picked relatively at random.

Am I missing something? As far as I can tell, all the higher fares I see are consistent with the cheap fares being snapped up and purchased by others, leaving only the more expensive fares. But not consistent with a fare increase?
The biggest increase has been on the Acela. The flex fare between BOS-NYP when they moved to the new pricing system late in 2023 was $62. Then they boosted it to $64 in January. They have now increased it to $77 which is almost a 25% increase in just 4 months.

As far as the regional fare goes I believe the Flex fare started at $32 in December, so the increase to $39 is also an increase of almost 22% in just a few months.
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 6:19 am
  #26  
 
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Originally Posted by BeantownFlyer
As far as the regional fare goes I believe the Flex fare started at $32 in December, so the increase to $39 is also an increase of almost 22% in just a few months.
Fair! (Fare!)

Still way under the $54 prepandemic base fare though.
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Old Apr 9, 2024, 7:14 am
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How do you find the NE Regional fares for $15-25 dollars? And when are the flash sales? Thanks!
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Old Apr 9, 2024, 7:32 am
  #28  
 
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On the Boston-DC corridor (including intermediate stops) the early morning and late night trains are priced at those very low levels.

Amtrak now has 3 fare buckets - Flex, which is the highest and has no penalty to change or cancel. Value, which is slightly cheaper but cannot be changed and you lose 25% if you cancel (but do get a cash refund as opposed to the old voucher) and occasional sale fares which have a greater discount, also cannot be changed, and you lose 50% of the value if you cancel.

Note - each fare bucket has numerous fare levels within the bucket that will vary by anticipated demand. As an example the NYP-BOS Acela fare has a value fare as low as $70, and as high as $254.

Unless you are 100% positive that you have no plans to change or cancel the flex fare is the way to go. The discounts on the other fares are not so significant to make the penalty risk worth it in my view.
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Old Apr 9, 2024, 8:18 am
  #29  
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I have gotten as low as $64 on flex tix for Acela and half that for NEC under the new pricing structure. Other fare types were only a few dollars cheaper, making flex ticket a no brainer. Should note this was back in Feb, so non peak travels. Now pricing is $250+. No thanks. Could fly for much cheaper, but I have been using nonstop bus for $20.


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Old Apr 9, 2024, 8:21 am
  #30  
 
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I don't think BeantownFlyer is using "bucket" in the same sense that we have traditionally used it when talking about Amtrak fares (as I understood it, the "bucket" model was that for each salable ticket (origin/destination/train/coach-or-business-or-first quadruplet), there were some number of fares available in a particular price "bucket" and when the fares in that bucket sold out, only the next more expensive bucket was available).

Anyhow, Amtrak sends out promotional emails announcing their sales and they are often listed in the promotional carousel on the front page of their website as well as https://www.amtrak.com/promotions/deals.html

Night Owl fares are explained at https://www.amtrak.com/nightowl and run through 2026, so seem effectively permanent. Originally just between NYP and WAS, but extended up to BOS last year.

Flash sales, as the name implies, are short-term sales that are only around for a few days ("flash") and are usually promoted via email and perhaps social media. Generally I wouldn't hang out waiting for one on the northeast corridor.
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