It’s time Amtrak stopped treating Lincoln Service Business Class like Second Class

Amtrak is far from getting it right with customer service. There are a lot of frustrated passengers out there. I am one of them and have seriously considered no longer riding Amtrak and going back to driving. The experience has just been to stressful – when it shouldn’t be. If your customers aren’t going home with a smile on their face you haven’t done your job.

There have been times were a good majority of my long distance Amtrak travel has been great – not so much when riding coach. But that positive experience when it happens – almost always gets ruined on the three hour ride home.

The solutions are really simple. Load and un-load business class at the Cafe door at ALL STOPS = no excuses!! Even for just one BC customer!! Start treating customers like they matter. Amtrak must feel there are enough customers that they can treat them like dirt without worry. Many employees act like they don’t realize those customers keep them employed and earning a paycheck.

Over the years I have seen that it’s not just Lincoln Service crews with the bad mentality. But it does seem to be more of disease in this region. There are many good Amtrak employees who care about passengers – but they are outnumbered by those who don’t.

Maybe it is time for the Pope of Amtrak who lives here in Springfield Illinois to pull their funding. Maybe once those people lose their jobs they will appreciate the next one they get a bit more. Right now from what I see in Illinois those jobs don’t seem appreciated and the customers even less. Amtrak has been given a gift and opportunity in Illinois to bad they are squandering it.

New rolling stock won’t do anything to change bad attitudes and a lousy customer experience.

I should note that the Amtrak Metropolitan Lounge female employee I mentioned above would get praise from one customer. Her baggage got misplaced in the holding room. She rightfully was freaked out and going ballistic. The phone drama could have won an Oscar that day. Metropolitan Lounge counter attendant helped the woman find her luggage. The passenger couldn’t stop singing her praises. Even asked for the name of a supervisor so she could praise the employee.

To bad that type of service doesn’t shine through when she is dealing with people upon check-in. I saw more negative from that employee that day and others – so the luggage save doesn’t make up for it.

I bet if Amtrak President & CEO Joseph H. Boardman had to go bust ice blocks on passenger stairs – things would change quickly. But I guess the number of customers who slip and fall yearly on these ice sheets is good PR and good service in his mind. Or is just the cost of doing business?

Customers normally don’t care what you have to do to get it done. They just want the service they feel they paid for.

Amtrak is long overdue for secret riders / shoppers – who actually pay attention to what is going on around them. If honest secret shoppers would report what really goes on daily – much – if not more than what I have said here would come to light.

On all my recent Business Class rides leaving St Louis – except for the trip with Julie & Rachel – Cafe car attendants did not acknowledge passengers as they boarded. In some ways this is good – when I am pulling my bags in Cafe car and get asked – Business Class? by attendant – it drives me crazy!! I always want to say no blues clues I am just dragging my bags through the Cafe because I have nothing better to do!! But a simple hello would be nice.

Recently no Cafe car attendants – except for Julie & Rachel have bothered to explain Business Class and it’s free newspaper / drink. Newspapers have rarely been offered. Normally in the larger stations – attendants used to introduce themselves and explain the ins & outs. Some even would come by and do the same when passengers boarded in small stations such as Springfield. Rarely if ever do you see either being done on my recent Amtrak Lincoln Service BC travels.

Haven’t seen this in years regionally or on long distance – when managers ride crews DO NOT act normal – it’s funny how procedures are followed to the letter. Saw this on Southwest Chief a few years back. As soon as crews know management is gone – back to the same old routine.

Amtrak trains I have ridden in the past four months.

Hoosier State heading to the Midwest High Speed Rail Association 2013 Fall Meeting in Indianapolis Indiana round trip. No Business Class or food service is offered on this route. Hoosier State was given a one year reprieve from being discontinued do to no financing by a large and vocal grassroots campaign. I was lucky it was even operational at the time of my trip.

California Zephyr coach round trip to Burlington Iowa.

City of New Orleans Roomette round trip to Memphis Tennessee.

Multiple Business Class trips to Chicago and St Louis on Lincoln Service.

Texas Eagle ( Roomette ) one way Chicago to Springfield Illinois.

Amtrak trains I have ridden since 2006.

Acela 1 round trip DC to New York and back to DC

California Zephyr ( coach ) 2 round trip

Capitol Limited ( coach ) 1 round trip

City of New Orleans ( coach & Roomette ) 2 round trip

Hoosier State ( coach / BC 2015 ) 2 round trip

Lincoln Service ( coach & Business Class ) multiple trips – to many to count.

Silver Star ( coach ) from Tampa Florida to Washington DC. Silver Meteor ride was screwed up by freight derailment – Amtrak put me on Greyhound bus all the way to Florida – absolutely horrible trip.

Southwest Chief ( coach & Roomette ) 2 round trips

Texas Eagle ( coach & Roomette ) A couple of trips. Have a Roomette reservation for later this year. Do to continued lousy service on Lincoln Service – purchased a Roomette on Texas Eagle from Chicago to Springfield Illinois. Cost is only slightly more, a lot less hassle and you have privacy. Upcoming reservation is round trip. Down side is no choice of departure times – like you have with Lincoln Service. We shouldn’t have to pay more and be inconvenienced because the Illinois regional train can’t provide decent customer service on most rides.

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