I am attaching copies of the letters back and forth from Amtrak as well as a letter I sent to our Senator in hopes he would be of some help. No one should ever have to go through the treatment we did after paying for decent transportation and then to recieve the treatment we did. I tried to put all of the information in this so as to make the statement as complete as possible. In my opinion, Amtrak should not even be allowed to transport people under the conditions they do and yet they continue to receive subsidies from our government.
Letter to our Senator,
Attached is a copy of the letter we sent to Amtrak regarding our
recent trip on the Amtrak train. I personally feel that the
government subsidies given to Amtrak are a complete waste! Perhaps
they would at least try to run a profitable, customer oriented
business if they didn't know that they don't have to because our
government will give them money to keep operations going anyway.
It's just another form of welfare as far as I'm concerned! I don't
know what you can do to help but feel that since this has to do with
your state, you should hear about their problems that they are so
dead set on inflicting on us! In my opinion, regarding my
experiences on Amtrak and Chicago, race relations have been set back
at least 50 years!
-------- Original Message --------
Re: Travel Feedback [#560623]
Tue, 12 Jun 2012 14:19:14 +0000 (GMT)
Amtrak Customer Service <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Thank you for contacting Amtrak. We respond to online
inquiries 7 days a week between the hours of 8 am and 11 pm
(ET). E-mails are answered in the order that they are received.
We will respond as soon as possible.
Please do not reply to this message.
Amtrak Customer Service
a Trip | Help
is a registered service mark of the National Railroad
----- Wrote -----
Our original complaint.
Subject: Travel Feedback
Nature of Comment: Complaint
Country: United States
Amtrak Guest Rewards #:
Reservation Number: 19749C
Date of Incident: 06/03/2012
Time of Incident: 1:20 p.m.
My wife and I are both 65 years old and had never ridden an Amtrak
train before. We had been planning this vacation for some time and
pre-paid everything so there would be no last minute problems.
Obviously, I didn't know how adversely Amtrak was going to impact
our entire trip! First, we were told to be sure to be at the train
station at least 30 minutes prior to boarding time. Well, we live 2
1/2 hours from where we had to catch the train so we went to Ottumwa
the night before and got a motel room so we would be sure and not be
late for our train. That cost us $89.49. As it turned out, we
wouldn't have had to get the room afterall because the train we were
supposed to catch at 8:09 a.m. didn't even get to Ottumwa to pick us
up until 1;20 p.m., 5 1/2 hours late!
As soon as we got on the
train, we talked with the conductors and were assured that we would
catch our connecting train in Chicago. We were originally supposed
to have a 5 hour layover in Chicago but that time was now gone.
During the trip to Chicago, we sat in our assigned seats and had to
put up with 4 & 5 screaming kids running up and down the aisle
while their parents and all train personell seemed to simply turn a
blind (and obviously deaf) eye (and ear) to everything happening in
front of them. (Don't y'all think that maybe observation cameras
with someone overlooking what's going on and caring about the care
and comfort of all riders might come in handy in many of these
Well, we finally made it to Chicago and were told our
connecting train had just left and they would put us up for the
night. How nice of AMTRAK! We were all then herded into a room where
we met 2 of the rudest people in Chicago! At least that's what we
thought right then, but, we hadn't had the opportunity to meet more
of the Amtrak employees yet because it only gets worse.
compensation I guess for delaying us and making us miss our
connecting train, Amtrak gave us vouchers for a room for that night
and $120 to cover taxi fares to and from the hotel and meals because
the next train going to our destination doesn't go until 6:10 p.m.
the next day! Was that voucher and $120 supposed to cover the
complete loss of one day of our vacation?
Was it supposed to cover
the fact that we still had to pay for the hotel room we didn't get
to sleep in because we made paid reservations. That cost us $51.65!
Then, we had to pay the extra for the car rental we had reserved and
wasn't thereto get it. That was another $45.51!
Now, we're in
Martinsburg West Virginia and it took at least 1 1/2 days to just
calm down and try to regain some of our dignity after our delayed
start of our vacation and loss of one day, indignity of having to
put up with screaming kids, attendants who really didn't care how
disturbing it all was, the absolute rude behavior from the Amtrak
representatives in Chicago and the humiliation of having to put up
with everything that goes on in the waiting areas of Amtrak.
doesn't Amtrak have people go around in the waiting areas to at least
try to keep down the roughhousing, language and filth in these
waiting areas? Alright, we were there in Martinsburg and we enjoyed
our time there on vacation but dreaded the return trip home home
hoping it would not be a repeat of our trip to West Virginia. Well,
it didn't take long for the nightmare to continue.
We were seated in
one car right in front of a disgustingly loud, foul mouthed drunk
who it seemed had one intention and that was to annoy & everyone on
that car. He had been warned by the attendants numerous times but to
no avail. We asked the attendant to let us move and she moved us
forward two rows and on the other side of the train. Still, the
drunk continued with his outbursts.
Finally, after 6 hours of
putting up with this drunk and listening to him argue with the
conductor, they kicked him off the train or at least that's what
they said they did. We made it into Chicago and started our 6 hour
wait for our connecting train to Ottumwa. I pity anyone who has to
wait in the Chicago Union train station for 6 hours with all the
disorganization that goes along with the operations of Amtrak. We
finally get called to board our train.
Seniors are called to board
first but all they have you do is wait in another area. Then, they
let you board but they also let everyone else board at the same time
so you're pushed and crammed down the aisle between two trains on
their tracks and finally get to your assigned seat. We were only 20
minutes behind schedule now but again they tell us they'll make the
time up but they never do. We finally make it to our destination of
I am quite positive that neither myself or my wife have
ever endured a more uncomfortable, demeaning and antagonizing trip!
I guess I understand why Amtrak is so quick to put all the delayed
people up in hotels and give them money for taxis and rooms and food
though. It's just taxpayers money that they get as a subsidy to
Amtrak anyway because they can't make a profit being as inept as
they are with their operations.
Perhaps, if they were to stop
recieving those subsidies, they'd learn how to properly run their
train and how to treat their people right. Right now, there is no
incentive to treat people as nothing more than an annoyance. I want
to know what Amtrak is going to do about the extra money we had to
spend for our car and hotel in West Virginia, our hotel in Ottumwa,
Iowa, our lost day of vacation and our loss of dignity with the way
we were treated in Chicago.
What we mainly saw while in the waiting
areas for our train was Amtrak attendants, cashiers, conductors,
bellhops and I don't know all but but there was obviosly no one in
charge because all they did was argue with each other and carry on
with each other and all the paying customers were obviously just
screwing up their big social get together! Before this trip, I
always belived (since I hadn't been on a bus before either) that a
bus ride was about as bad as it gets but I was proven wrong. It was
I will be waiting for a response and fully expect
reimbursement for our expenditures and indignities!