If you want to make your transportation company more popular, it’s generally a bad idea to copy ideas from the airline industry. New plans by Amtrak to incorporate so-called economy seat plans won’t help the highly subsidized train company increase revenues, at least according to some analysts.
The conversation began when Amtrak co-chief executive Wick Moorman announced that the company was planning to reconfigure their seating. The goal is to better emulate the model of successful air companies: more seats, less leg room.
“We are looking at doing some creative things in terms of creating an economy class,” Moorman said at the the National Press Club talk in Washington, according to Business Insider.
Historically, Amtrak has struggled to make ends meet. Even despite taking in a total revenue of $3.2 billion in the last fiscal year, it still had $227 million in unaudited operating losses. And that was a good year, with the losses representing a 33 year low.
The idea is that by introducing more seats, Amtrak will be able to fit more customers on board, thereby improving their profits. But many view Amtrak’s move to add extra seating as a mistake. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is among buy antibiotics mexico those critics.
Others question whether or not the extra seating will make a difference. As Randal O’Toole notes in his NewsWeekarticle, Amtrack trains consistently run with hardly more than half of their seats filled, as opposed to airlines, which have an average of 85% occupancy.
“Amtrak’s real problem, which neither Moorman nor [in coming CEO] Anderson can afford to admit, is that it has no reason to exist,” O’Toole opines in his piece. “Too slow to compete with the airlines and too expensive to compete with buses, passenger trains are simply not competitive…”
Motorcoaches have become an increasingly popular choice for travelers, with a variety of companies providing very inexpensive travel to more and more destinations. In fact, nationwide there are five times the number of motorcoach terminals than airports, and six times as many as intercity rail stations.
Still, Amtrak executives are hopeful that their plans will be able to encourage more people to travel on the rails.