Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Amtrak Fare Increase - details from amtrak.com

From the Amtrak site:

Amtrak To Modify Fare Increase

WASHINGTON - Amtrak today announced it has made modifications to its previously announced fare increases and will implement them in stages beginning Tuesday, October 4.

The fare plan is an important component of Amtrak's FY06 budget. The challenge for Amtrak, as for any business, is to cover its increases in current and anticipated expenses across the board, including the cost of fuel which has risen 40% in the past year. Amtrak's FY06 budget has been reviewed in detail and approved by the railroad's board of directors and senior management. The fiscal year begins October 1, 2005.

Three changes will take place beginning next month: a general fare increase will be implemented on most trains; discounts on Northeast commuter tickets will be reduced and standardized in stages; and some trains in the Northeast will begin to be revenue managed, in part to provide passengers with reduced-fare options for off-peak travel.

The first change will take place on October 4, when a general fare increase averaging $3 to $4 will be implemented. As such, fares across the country will increase 5-7% on most trains, including Acela Express (7%), Regionals (5%), long-distance coach (7%) and long-distance sleeper (5%) charges.

The second change, which applies to commuter tickets, will begin on October 16. In response to suggestions and comments received over the last few weeks, Amtrak will reduce the discounts on the commuter tickets in two steps with the first half of the change on October 16 and the second half in February 2006. The changes are going into effect on October 16 to provide passengers with sufficient prior notification. Amtrak serves about 2,000 Smart Pass monthly passengers in the Northeast Corridor, most of whom commute between Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.

The current monthly fare is discounted at approximately 70% for commuters - the deepest discount in the industry. It will be adjusted to allow passengers to enjoy approximately a 60% discount starting October 16, reducing the previously announced fare increase in half. In February 2006, the monthly discount will be adjusted to 50%. At both a 50% and a 60% discount, the monthly Smart Pass fare will remain the largest offered to commuters by any railroad.

Smart Pass 10-trip tickets will be adjusted on October 16 to provide passengers with a 20% discount.

The third overall change will take place on October 4, when Amtrak will begin to revenue manage some trains in the Northeast Corridor to better match fares to demand periods. Those trains include Regionals, Empire Service, The Vermonter, The Adirondack, the Springfield/Hartford Shuttles, and Keystones between Philadelphia and New York. While the standard fares for these trains will increase 5% (as stated above), passengers with flexibility to travel at off-peak times will be able to take advantage of lower fares.


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