Posts Tagged ‘discount train fares’

MoDOT Revives Discounts to Boost Ridership

April 17, 2018

In an effort to boost ridership aboard the Missouri River Runners, the Missouri Department of Transportation is offering free rides for children on select days and 25 percent fare discounts for midweek travel.

The Kids Ride Free offer is available on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Aug. 26 and applies to children ages 2 to 12 who are accompanied by an adult.

The midweek fare sale applies to travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and will run through Oct. 31.

Both fare programs are only available online. Passengers must make reservations at least one day in advance.

“One of these is geared toward children, so it’s important to us that we are having children take a chance on the train so that they can build a love for it, hopefully, and decide to be passengers as they grow into adulthood,” said MoDOT Railroad Operations Manager Kristi Jamison.

Jamison said MoDOT offered the same discounts last year and had saw good ridership during the spring and the summer.

“It was very well used, so we were glad to be able to offer that again on the Missouri River Runner,” she said.

Jamison said ridership to and from Jefferson City has been flat. The twice-daily River Runner trains posted ridership of 172,000 in fiscal year 2016 but that fell to 171,000 in FY 2017. In the current fiscal year ridership is up by 2.5 percent and has held steady.

She said track work in 2017 probably depressed ridership because trains often operated late.

The state appropriation for the service in FY 2018 was $9.1 million, but, Gov. Eric Greitens withheld $500,000.

MoDOT is seeking $15.1 million in FY 2019. Jamison said MoDOT has seen cuts in funding from time to time.

Veterans Wants Amtrak Discounts Reinstated

April 16, 2018

Veterans groups are pushing back against Amtrak’s termination of ticket discounts for military veterans.

They’ve launched a petition at change.org seeking to pressure Amtrak into restoring the discounts, which were ended in late March.

At issue is a program formerly known as Veterans Advantage, which offered discounts of 15 percent to members and their families.

Amtrak continues to offer fare discounts to active duty military members.

The Veterans Advantage program, which began in February 2001, ended along with standing discounts for members of AAA and the National Association of Railroad Passengers, now known as the Rail Passengers Association.

Amtrak has said that is has ended the discounts in favor of discounted Saver fares that require purchase at least 14 days in advance of travel as well as periodic fare sales.

Amtrak Launches Fare Sale This Week

March 27, 2018

Taking yet another page from the airlines fare sale playbook, Amtrak has launched a discount sale of its highly restrictive “saver” advance purchase fares.

The National Spring Sale Campaign, which began Monday and extends through March 29, is offering discounts of 20 percent to 33 percent for tickets purchased online only at Amtrak’s website.

The fares are good for coach travel between April 15 and June 21. There are no blackout dates, but the cheaper fares are not be available on every day or train.

They cannot be upgraded later to business class or sleeping-car travel and are “non-refundable.”

Making a change in your travel plans once you purchase a ticket will subject you to a 25 percent cancellation fee.

Amtrak Ends AAA, Student Discounts

March 1, 2018

Two popular Amtrak discount fares were eliminated quietly last month.

The passenger carrier removed its American Automobile Association and student discounts, both of which offered 10 percent off on Amtrak fares.

When asked to comment about the changes, Amtrak spokeswoman Kimberly Woods said that passengers seeking discounts should book at least 14 days in advance of travel or look for Amtrak’s Saver Fares.

The student fares had been scaled back, being limited to travel aboard state-sponsored trains.

Earlier, Amtrak had ended its Student Advantage and International Student Identity Card programs, both of which offered 10 percent discounts.

Since early this year, Amtrak has overhauled its fare structure, including increasing the penalties for cash refunds on certain types of reservations.

Amtrak also offers 50 percent off for children ages 2 to 15 (one per accompanying adult) and 10 percent discounts for seniors (age 65 and older), active-duty military personnel with military ID, passengers with disabilities, and members of the National Association of Railroad Passengers (now the Railroad Passengers Association) and of Veterans Advantage.

For the most part, these discounts require reservations to be made at least three days in advance of travel and cannot be applied to Saver fares

They also are unavailable on some trains, including weekday Acela Express trains and 7000 and 8000-series Thruway buses, as well as travel between Toronto and Niagara Falls, Ontario, on the segment of the Maple Leaf operated by VIA Rail Canada.

The remaining discounts apply only to the “rail fare” portion of tickets and cannot be used for accommodation charge for sleeping cars, business class or Acela first class.

Amtrak Holding Winter ‘Flash Sale’

January 30, 2018

Amtrak announced today a three-day “flash sale” on tickets for several long-distance routes, offering 25 percent if purchased through Thursday, Feb. 1.

Fares will be automatically discounted from the standard coach fare and cannot be combined with other discount codes.

The sale doesn’t apply to one-way travel and upgrades to business class are not allowed. Sale prices are not available on all trains at all times and tickets are non-refundable.

Tickets must be bought at Amtrak’s website for travel between Feb. 13 and March 22, and includes nine long-distance routes:

  • Auto Train (Lorton, Virginia, and Sanford, Florida)
  • The Capitol Limited (Chicago and Washington)
  • The Cardinal (Chicago and New York)
  • The City of New Orleans (Chicago and New Orleans)
  • The Crescent (New York and New Orleans)
  • The Lake Shore Limited (Chicago and New York/Boston)
  • Silver Service/Palmetto (New York-Savannah, Georgia-Miami)
  • The Sunset Limited (New Orleans and Los Angeles)
  • The Southwest Chief (Chicago and Los Angeles)

Amtrak to Make Discounted Fares Less Generous

December 15, 2017

Amtrak is poised to become less generous with its discounted fares starting next month.

Trains magazine quoted anonymous sources as saying that a number of changes will be made to fare discounts and cancellation policies in the wake of a review ordered by Amtrak co-CEO Richard Anderson.

Under the present policy, passengers who cancel a reservation before their scheduled departure time can convert the entire value of their ticket into a voucher to be applied to future Amtrak travel within a year.

The new policy will impose a 25 percent cancellation penalty for sleeper and super saver fares.

Passengers who cancel and seek a cash refund will see 10 percent of the value of their ticket deducted for coach or Acela Business Class reservations if canceled within 48 hours of scheduled departure.

Also under the present policy, a 15 percent penalty is imposed for sleeping car reservations canceled within seven days of departure. The penalties are waived for business class or Acela first class reservations.

The new policy deducts 25 percent of the value of a canceled sleeping car ticket or a coach or Acela Business Class ticket purchased with a saver fare regardless of whether the remainder of the ticket value is returned as cash or a voucher.

The penalty does not apply if the reservation is changed for a future date or otherwise modified short of cancellation. If a change results in a lower fare, the full difference can still be refunded as a voucher.

Many existing discounted fares will continue to be offered, but the discount will be less.

The 15 percent senior discount will be cut to 10 percent and the age eligibility threshold increased from 62 to 65.
Likewise, the disability discount of 15 percent will be cut to 10 percent. Unchanged are the requirements that passengers buying a disability fare ticket do so with an Amtrak agent by phone or in person at a staffed station. The disability discount will continue to apply to all rail fares.

Amtrak now allows up to two children between the ages of 2 and 12 to travel for half off the full adult rail fare when they are accompanied by an adult paying full fare.

The new rules will allow only one child per accompanying adult. All other children must pay the full adult fare.

The new rules will also create an exemption whereby many discount fares will not apply to the highest fare bucket.

Under the existing rules, all discounts can be applied to all fares except saver or E-bucket fares that require a ticket purchase at least three days in advance of travel.

The new rules will mean that only the disability discount can be applied to “full Y” bucket fares, which typically carry the highest rail fares and apply to the last tickets sold.

This change will also affect such discounts as student, AAA members, Veteran’s Advantage members and National Association of Railroad Passengers member discounts.

“Full Y” fares are the only ones available for purchase aboard a train from a conductor.

All discounts apply only to the rail fare and are not applied to accommodation charges for sleeper, business class and Acela first class tickets.

Tickets acquired with Amtrak Guest Rewards points will carry their own change and cancellation penalties.

Amtrak Holding Black Friday Fare Sale

November 24, 2017

Amtrak is joining in on the “Black Friday” craze and offering discounted coach fare tickets up to 30 percent on select trains nationwide.

The sale runs through Monday (Nov. 27) and travel must be completed between Dec. 11, 2017, and March 25, 2018.

Restrictions and blackout dates apply. Like all of its promotional fares, the “Black Friday” fares are yield managed and the price goes up once predetermined benchmarks are hit.

Would-be passengers wanting to buy a “Black Friday” fare need to know the train number and its schedule. The fare will not be displayed until you are completely logged in to the Amtrak website.

IP Offers BOGO for Hoosier State Travel

November 23, 2016

Iowa Pacific is offering buy one get one free fares for coach travel aboard the Chicago-Indianapolis Hoosier State.

iowa-pacificIt is also offering a deal of 50 percent off a business class ticket with the purchase of another business class ticket at full fare.

This offer is valid for travel through March 17, 2017, and blackout dates apply during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday periods.

Advance reservations are required a minimum of three days prior to travel. Seating is limited and seats may not be available on all days. Fares are subject to availability.

The companion and full fare passenger must travel together on the same itinerary and have tickets issued together.

For more information, visit http://www.hoosierstatetrain.com/promotions