Why Is Amtrak So Expensive

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, connects many major cities across the United amerasasas.com continent. Due to their popularity, many people choose Amtrak to travel because of its affordable and reliable transportation option.

Amtrak does not charge a surcharge for riding its trains. Instead, they charge a fee called an operating fund which goes towards maintenance and operations of their systems.

Operating fund is a clever way to raise money without putting very much pressure on them to raise it. As it only covers maintenance and operations, you can still ride for free!

This can be costly for some as it is hard to tell how much money Amtrak has in the bank account at any given time. Some may feel the need to keep paying into the system in order to receive rewards from riding it.

This can lead to overspend which is why it is important for there to be an established fund each year.

Long distances require many transports

why is amtrak so expensive

This is a huge part of the reason why Amtrak is so expensive. A ticket from Boston to Philadelphia costs $1,400! That is a serious chunk of money to spend on a commute.

Amtrak does offer weeklong passes, but they are very expensive. A passes costs $625 and consists of Sunday through Thursday access for six days with no restrictions or coupons applied.

Weekend passes cost $625 also, making this pass even more prohibitively expensive than it already is. Even with these high pass prices, only one pass per month has an active account for approval so there are never enough people willing to buy it to meet demand.

Weekend passes can be very useful when traveling across state lines or between different locations within the same state.

Lack of track capacity

why is amtrak so expensive

Despite having a track system that can barely handle the demand generated by Amtrak, there are several reasons why the costs of running this train are high.

Trains run on mainline tracks or sidings that are able to support mainline trains. These tracks and sides are joined together by railroad spiles or crossings where a train would have to pass another before continuing its journey.

Since these rail spils do not exist in large enough quantities to support two trains running in parallel, one must purchase the rights to use them for only one train at a time. This cost is referred to as track capacity parole.

Another cost associated with running this train is acquiring track access rights on behalf of Amtrak on federal lands where the tracks must be located. These access rights must be used before January 1st of each year, so Amtrak can prepare for the next year of operations.

These rights may prove expensive when used during construction or on other occasions outside of construction.

Limited number of routes

why is amtrak so expensive

Amtrak’s website lists over 5,000 route distances, but only about 400 of those routes are actually in U.S. cities.

Most of them are in the suburbs or rural areas where there is not enough demand for an Amtrak train to survive. These cities include Boston, Chicago, Denver, New York City, and San Francisco.

These suburban trains are very cost-effective as they take you to a city center and then transfer to a subway or tram system for transportation back to your final destination.

However, with fewer routes available, commuters have more demand-offees for their train rides which can lead to high costs. Some riders even pay attention to the advertisements on the trains because of this effect.

Technology used is old

why is amtrak so expensive

While a lot of technology is new, it is old. The back-up camera used on Amtrak’s new trains was released nearly five years ago, yet none of the newer trains have it.

Amtrak has used regular tape for keeping the camera banked in place for years, which is very slow with out the new technology. This can be helpful when someone gets into a car without the old technology being attached, so they can call a taxi or lay-away to get them to another train or somewhere else.

With this new technology being added, train operators have to purchase new software and monitors which are not only expensive but time consuming to maintain.

Poor service results in high demand for tickets

why is amtrak so expensive

When service is bad, people feel like they are being ignored and overcharged. This causes a large amount of people to demand their money back by sending messages and calling in complaints. This increases the cost of your ticket because more tickets are sold due to people being aware of the poor service.

This effect is very strong when it happens at a very important time in your schedule. For example, if you need to get going early or want to cancel your ticket early, you will be required to pay for both parts of the ticket because it is a part of your whole ride.

This is very unfair because the passenger has to deal with both sides of the train having trouble running on time and needing to be canceled early. The person would have to sit out of comfort and safety for about an hour before they could get off.

Limited seating results in high demand for tickets

why is amtrak so expensive

Limited seating results in high demand for tickets. Because people want to ride the train, the sale of tickets is mandatory.

If you do not buy your ticket by a certain date, you will be forced to miss your ride due to lack of available spots. This can be costly!

Because there are only a limited number of tickets available, there is a higher demand for them. People buy extra tickets to ensure they have enough seating on the train.

This is legal since transportation entities do not sell access to public transportation systems, but buys extra seats on the train? Yes! It is a cost of travel that does not get addressed.

Lack of investment from governments

As mentioned earlier, Amtrak is very expensive. Most people do not realize that you have to pay for a ticket on Amtrak and then purchase a monthly or yearly pass to make it more affordable.

Amtrak does not have many advertisements, which is why it is so expensive. They would not want to lose money by running large advertising campaigns due to the high cost of reaching their target audience.

They do have certain stations that have free passes, but you must be verified through an account manager at Amtrak before you can receive your pass.

Competition from other modes of transport

why is amtrak so expensive

Passenger Transport has a long history, making its first appearance around 500 years ago when the Italian composer Handel used it to refer to his service for the rich.

Since that time, the mode has become more prevalent as people have needed to use it for business and entertainment. As the demand for transport grew, so did the need for passenger transport systems.

At first, boat or ship travel was an option, but with improvements in ships and improved safety measures, air travel became the norm. With faster and more reliable transportation options coming every few decades, transport companies had no choice but to offer competing ticketing systems in order to keep consumers happy.