Amtrak Tracking for My Commute Between New York City and Philadelphia

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The long haul from Phila to NYC: Low housing costs here, lucrative jobs there make the commute palatable

Article today in the Philadelphia Inquirer by Jen A. Miller titled "The long haul from Phila. to NYC: Low housing costs here, lucrative jobs there make the commute palatable." discusses the Philly to NYC commuter. Good article. 

Some facts about the Philly-NYC commuter on Amtrak finances from the article:

"Amtrak estimates it pulled in $9.4 million from 220,800 rides on multi-trip tickets on the Philadelphia-New York route in 2007 - an all-time revenue high."

The article states that:

"For most of these commuters, it is real estate that keeps them riding the rails, especially when the average purchase price for a Manhattan apartment is $1.4 million. That can make Amtrak's monthly rail pass seem like a cheap alternative at $1,098, especially when people are willing to move deeper into the suburbs and travel farther to work so they can afford the houses they want."

For sure housing is cheaper in Philly compared to NYC but $1,100 a month for Amtrak! The article should talk about how crazy high that is. This Amtrak pricing is going to wipe out the low housing cost in Philly advantage over time if you ask me. You can commute 1.5 hours via Metro North or NJ Transit too and pay $800 less per month and find a home that is likely in the neighborhood of what you get in the Philly burbs.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Pic of who owns the train tracks along the NEC

Ownership of tracks along the Northeast Corridor has never been totally clear to me. This picture helps a little bit:


The stretch of track from Philly to NYC is owned all by Amtrak. Any improvements to this stretch will have to be borne by Amtrak I'm assuming. So to get better times for those regular travelers between Philly and NYC; pull for federal subsidies so Amtrak can get on with track modernization efforts.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Amtrak vs. Chinatown Bus

Blog post discussing pros and cons of using Amtrak or Chinatown bus. This post is about getting to NYC from DC but Philly has a Chinatown bus service too so there's relevancy in this blog post to Philly-NYC commuters.

Blog Post on the Benefits of Amtrak Guest Rewards Membership

I recommend anyone commuting via Amtrak to be a Amtrak Guest Rewards member as well as get a Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard. This will allow you to get points for free tickets fast and I felt the Amtrak Rewards program was much more generous when compared to credit cards with airline points. This blog post talks about another Amtrak Rewards advantage - phone calls from Amtak notifying you of canceled trains. Not sure how often an Amtrak commuter will benefit from this since such folks get a montly or a ten trip ticket so there's no way for Amtrak to know which specific train you'll take. Perhaps Amtrak can send out broad communications quickly when there are service interuptions.