Thursday, April 7, 2011

Increased Ridership Can Be Bad For Business

Amtrak is on pace to set a new ridership record this year based on it's latest press release. This is good news from the standpoint of overall interest in the rail system. Hopefully it spurs a new era of track improvements and system efficiency. In the meantime, it means more crowded trains and complaints from both regular riders and tourists.

The following photos document a rare, but increasing problem. This is the record of my horrific ride home on 3/18/11.

Picture #1 could be a shot of a Tokyo commuter train (not actually, but you get the point). There were not enough seats for riders. There was not enough standing room either.

Picture #2 shows the riders who were fortunate to make it on the train, but unfortunate enough to have been stranded on the stairwell.  I was shocked to see a conductor make his way through this to punch tickets.  So were some of these people who voiced their displeasure.

Then to add insult to injury, I made my way to the bar only to find it had no beer!

Not a happy commuter...

This particular train did not accept new passengers till Irvine, so I am sure the next one (2.5 hours behind it) was just as joyful.


  1. Of course 3/18 was a Friday with lots of Spring break traffic. Amtrak is a very fragile system. If a butterfly flaps it's wings the 784 will be affected. Extra people? Out of the question.

  2. You think that's bad, you should see the northbound trains in the late afternoon/evening during the week of Comic-Con. The convention traffic isn't bad, but it's when the train stops at Solana Beach and you've got the crowds leaving Del Mar trying to get on that it gets sardine can ugly.

  3. Yeah, that zoo of people fresh out of Del Mar makes for a packed, yet entertaining ride.

  4. Even 763 is getting crowded now.