More screening

Discussion in 'Railways, Highways, Waterways' started by KrazyKat, Sep 1, 2011.

  1. KrazyKat

    KrazyKat Original Member

    If this is the answer to "Security Fatigue", what's the question?
    We know that's a problem
    Passengers must be terrorized, or we cannot be secure!
    So, get ready: new security measures announced by AMTRAK to possibly foul-up the fine option of rail travel. Expect:
     
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  2. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    So far, Amtrak PD Chief John O'Connor has shown reason and restraint (he reamed out the TSA over the Savannah debacle). Let's hope he stays that way. This press release might be complete (expletive deleted) to appease the masses, or it might be an ominous sign. I, for one, will refuse to allow my person or baggage to be screened.
     
  3. KrazyKat

    KrazyKat Original Member

    Yes, he responded appropriately to the Savannah corral of exiting passengers. Hopefully he didn't just get the new TSA memo.
    As we know, how something is done everything. Assuming passengers are potential suspect terrorists until cleared is not the way to go about anything. It does not bode well if TSA is becoming an increasing part of passenger rail operations. Seems to me that the PR would be to appease TSA leaders. I hope AMTRAK holds its own against TSA mission creep without end.
     
  4. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    Amtrak is up in riders, at least on coast starlight west coast. Extra cars, packed. Am using it next week. These are folks abandoning the airports.
     
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  5. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    Perhaps we should organize a letter-writing campaign to Chief O'Connor in support of the current procedures, and requesting a permanent ban of TSA and TSA-style screening from the premises?
     
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  6. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    +1

    Look at the rail lines in Europe -- none of the bull :trash:, you just climb on with your luggage and eventually once you are underway the conductor will come around to check your ticket or collect your fare.
     
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  7. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    My sister is taking the train when she comes here to visit later this month. I'll be taking the train back with her. The starlight is nice. And yes, it's totally packed.

    Another little anecdote -- now that I drive up and down the west coast instead of flying... Every time I've stopped at a restaurant in my travels I overhear people talking about how they are driving and not flying. Every time.

    Wish we had good numbers for how many people actually are driving or taking the train instead of flying.
     
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  8. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    We driven roughly 17,000 miles (diesel Beetle, 47 mgp :D ) so far this year with road trips that would have been flown last year (St. Louis 12X, Denver). I requal'd as a Hilton Diamond mostly with stays at roadside Hampton Inns by mid August.

    Haven't been on a plane since last Dec. 27. After my wife's Nov. 1 grope we canceled all our trips except a DO in Athens that I had organized & it would not have been fair to back out of that one.

    So far I've given away 11 round trips on Southwest (2 to go) before they expire, and we'll just be sitting on our 400K CO/UA (mostly) & DL miles indefinitely.
     
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  9. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    It's really difficult to get at that kind of data.

    However, anecdotally I would say that the airlines are really starting to feel the heat.

    I know of 1 airline that asked for voluntary retirements that became effective yesterday (9/1/2011). And it's unknown (to me, at least) if they just didn't get enough in the voluntary group, or other factors are at play. They are currently in the process of further thinning the herd.

    Now, of course it's a confluence of increased fuel prices and decreased traffic. Our internal data generally indicated that bookings dropped prior to further economic drops ahead of other industries, in that business travel was generally off because travel departments would reign in travel budgets ahead of other cuts, and general skittishness put a damper on leisure travel. I imagine air travel is forecast down as the economy continues to lag, and those who are able to travel freely just aren't going to pay to be abused at an airport. I know other airlines are also making cuts, I just know they are pretty severe at the one I cite.

    And as I've mentioned previously, to add to Mike's point, we fly for free and are driving when we can.
     
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  10. KrazyKat

    KrazyKat Original Member

    Social science survey techniques--tried and true. Not that hard to do, especially if you look at one mode shift at a time.
     
  11. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    How would we go about doing that?
     
  12. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    Think about what would happen if significant numbers of airline pax start taking Amtrak. There is no way they could handle that traffic increase. It would take many months if not years to add the rolling stock they'd need, not to mention limitations on the numbers of trains that can occupy the single track at any one time.
     
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  13. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    And I think that's exactly why we haven't seen greater increases. Outside of the Northeast, the infrastructure simply doesn't exist.
     
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  14. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    And I think that's exactly why we haven't seen greater increases. Outside of the Northeast, the infrastructure simply doesn't exist.

    I'm not sure the cause and effect works that way. I think what would happen is that trains would be packed all the time and more trains would be added over time. It's just that there would be a waiting list both at the Amtrak station and at the Pullman factory or wherever the cars are made these days...

    btw, took the coastal starlite down from see att le yesterday, after flying up due to time constraints. And yes, all seats were indeed sold. It's a throwback to a simpler and more decent era. If you ever get a chance to ride it, be sure to go sleeper and and use the Parlor car. It's a fun place to hang out, doubles as observation car for sleeper and a section set off with tables. I'm told it's the only line that has a reserved car for sleeper pax.
    I was impressed by the caliber of people getting on the train at seattle, portland, and oregon, most of who travelled coach, younger folks, but also a good cross-section. Makes me want to leave CA.
     
  15. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    It's the quality of the tracks that are there, not just the capacity. A lot of the old rail beds aren't suitable for the high-speed passenger trains. The infrastructure that works just fine for freight trains often must be modernized to attract passengers, e.g.
     
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  16. Cartoon Peril

    Cartoon Peril Original Member

    Our rail infrastructure is a mess. Much of the problems with air travel could be alleviated by rail transport.
     
  17. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    If the railroads in this country were as heavily subsidized as the airlines and auto/highway industries are, we'd have stellar train service, à la Europe.
     

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