Michael sent a message to Joseph H. Boardman – CEO, Amtrak – Email Address that said:
I want to thank you for the experience of riding on a train from Seattle to Oakland this past March on the Coast Starlight. I have always been intrigued with the idea of traveling by rail to California and now I have done just that thanks to your business.
After searching for a ticket from the nearest Amtrak station in Mount Vernon. I was surprised to see that if I were to take the train from Mount Vernon I would have to spend a night in Seattle waiting for the connecting train. I decided instead to be dropped off by my family at the King Station in Seattle. This scheduling inconvenience makes it unlikely that I could or would use this form of transportation in the future.
Seats not right for sleeping:
Despite the scheduling challenge I was excited for my trip and I departed from a clean station and the seats were generously spaced. The lounge car was where I spent most of my time and I enjoyed the opportunity to meet people from around the US and indeed the world.
Food at a Premium yet not Premium:
I ate diner in the dining car and was disappointed with the quality of the food for the high price. I recommend not offering crab cakes to the general public. The cakes were fishy and
Economy Comfort/Train Technology Lacking:
The biggest issue with taking the train comes down to the issue of comfort. The seats on the train do not lie down flat and it became a most uncomfortable night of rest. In other countries, a bed would be what most people would pay for when traveling overnight. Premium accommodations would be a more private cabin. Why not in the USA? Mere seats for overnight travel in most countries would be bargain pricing. Prices need to either come down to greyhound levels or something must make your product more compelling to the average person. I love trains and I have used them in several other countries outside of the USA. I suggest that you cut your rates or increase the speed of trains so that a trip like mine need not be overnight.
Thank you Amtrak for attempting to bring train travel to the masses. I just wish it was something that the masses could get excited about because your product was a superior solution to using a car, plane or other form of transportation. So far, train travel is something that is novel but not useful due to cost, outdated train technology, and poor scheduling infrastructure.