Amtrak, which receives roughly $1.4 billion in taxpayer subsidies found another way to draw ill will from the American taxpayers on July 4th.
A train, empty, left approximately 150 passengers stranded on the 4th of July and had their plans ruined when they were left stranded by Amtrak in Boston. Due to a “miscommunication” of epic proportions, Amtrak Acela train number 2253 departed from the station nearly empty while customers waited on the platform for the “ok” to board the train. Except the “ok” never came.
The train was scheduled to depart from Boston at 11:00 AM. Passengers waited on the platform, tickets in hand, for permission to board. The call to board never came and as a result the train departed with only a fraction of the paying customers on board.
According to a rider this is only 1/3 of the crowd, giving credence to people saying that Amtrak lied when they tried to blame the passengers and that only “50” people got left behind.
Amtrak claims approximately 50 passengers were aboard the train when it left the station but several eyewitnesses claim not a single person was on the train. Several customers took to twitter to express their frustration with Amtrak.
Instead of owning up to their mistake and turning the train around Amtrak chose to stuff all of the customers on to the next, non-express, train with the promise that they would receive business class seating. Amtrak failed to deliver on this promise as well. The passengers were quickly ushered out of business class to coach seating.
Predictably, passengers were not happy.
Amtrak has committed this mistake several times in the past. In 2014 Acela Express 2253 left Penn Station completely empty. Another train left Penn Station for Washington D.C. without a single person on board. Rather than learning from their errors and creating an action plan Amtrak continues to make preventable errors.
Amtrak continued to disappoint travelers by the way they handled the situation. Several Amtrak employees told customers they would receive full refunds. AmericanMilitaryNews.com contacted the Amtrak customer service department and was told that:
“They tell you whatever they need to tell you.”
The customer service rep candidly explained that employees on the platform will tell passengers will tell customers whatever they need to hear to diffuse a situation. Other customers were told that the company would “need to decide what to do with you.”
AmericanMilitaryNews.com contacted the media relations dept. on Tuesday and was informed that they were unaware of the incident. However, later that day the company released the following official statement regarding the issue:
Due to a miscommunication at Boston South Station on Monday, July 4, Acela Express Train 2253 departed before all passengers could board. Approximately 50 of the 152 passengers scheduled to board were re-accommodated on the next southbound departure. Amtrak apologizes for this inconvenience and encourages affected customers to call 800-USA-RAIL to discuss compensation.
While the company seems to be reluctantly upholding its commitment to refund the passengers money they have left many questions unanswered. Where did the train go? Did the empty train carry on with its normally scheduled route? And, the most important question of all, can a company that is receiving approximately $1.4 billion in taxpayer money each year afford to keep making careless errors?