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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

F'n Amtrak

So I am trying to leave Boston to get home to NYC on Tuesday night. There is an Amtrak train leaving at 7pm - perfect. I get to the station and have this encounter:

Kid Dynamite (KD): "I'd like a ticket for the 7 o'clock to New York please."
Counter Douchebag (CD): "Do you have a reservation?"
KD: "No."
CD: "They've blocked it out in the system - if you don't have a reservation, I can't give you a ticket."
KD: "Huh? It's sold out?"
CD: "No, it's not sold out, but there was a problem with the tracks outside of New Haven, so all the trains are stopping there."
KD : "OK, I'll go to New Haven, and then take Metro North."
CD: "They blocked it out in the system though - you can't buy a ticket if you don't already have a reservation."
KD: "WHO blocked it out in the system - I don't understand. " (DO YOU KNOW WHO THE FUCK I AM?)

At this point, Counter Douchebag shows me the screen to attempt to explain the bullshit he is propagating. I confirm with him: "But the train is NOT sold out."
"No." he confirms
"And I still can't buy a ticket."
"Correct."
"What happens if I just get on the train?" I KNOW this angle won't work...
"They'll kick you off at the next station."
I want to scream at this Douchebag: "DO YOU KNOW WHO THE FUCK I AM? I'M GOING TO WRITE ABOUT THIS ON MY BLOG! YEAH - YOU HEARD ME - I HAVE MY OWN FUCKING BLOG! SUCK IT! AND YOU KNOW WHAT? WHEN I TRASH AMTRAK ON MY BLOG, IT WON'T MAKE THE SLIGHTEST DIFFERENCE FOR ANYONE!"

Hmmm... So, now I consider the gambit: I try to freeroll on the train, and hope to charm the conductor, else risk getting kicked off in Providence... Uggh.. I don't like those odds.

Amtrak, FUCKWADS that they are, are probably thinking like this: We are a business. We don't want unhappy customers. Thus, if we don't let anyone else board this tran, we won't have to deal with any more unhappy customers.

Come on now, that's retarded, because now my travel plans are all fucked up, and I KNOW I'm going to have problems when I come back tomorrow to try this trip again - I'm ALREADY a pissed off, unsatisfied customer... Anyway,temporarily defeated, Kid Dynamite slinks home to watch TV and get some sleep, planning a new attack in the morning.

The Next Morning:
I return to the station, after scouting out the situation on the internet, further tilting from the technological insufficiency of my Mom's original IMac, which a p.c. user like myself simply cannot adjust to: All of the Acela Express trains are cancelled due to damage to the overhead electrical track wires caused by a fire from a gas tanker truck that exploded on the highway near the tracks. Amtrak says the problem is just past New Haven, and that delays will range from 30-40 minutes. Now, being the savvy northeast traveler thatI am, I know that this means I'm basically fucked, but I figure I don't have a better option, as I'm not about to get on the bus.

Back at the station, I ask the counter clerk how long the delays are. He tells me it shouldn't be much of a problem, that the first two trains of the morning made it through with minor delays.

I board the train, and we are hauling along - smooth sailing - until there is a brief announcement as we pass through Mystic that the train will stop for about 20 minutes at New Haven to attach a diesel engine, which will remedy the problem caused by last night's explosion. However, we only stop for about 3 minutes at New Haven, and cruise right to Stamford. Things are looking up - I figure we've made it through the delay - piece of cake.

Of course, in Fine Fuckwad Fashion, we leave Stamford, pass through New Rochelle and branch off to the Amtrak line toward Penn Station, and come to a stop. FOR 70 FUCKING MINUTES! All the while, the conductor is explaining how there was a fire last night, and that we have to get towed through the damaged area. Are you kidding me? Why didn't you tell me this 15 minutes ago - I would have exited at Stamford and taken Metro North home for the final 45 minutes. Instead, I get to sweat in an Amtrak car with no electrical power, my internal degree of TILT slowly simmering to a medium boil... We eventually make it to Penn Station, about an hour late.

Anyway, I think they need to privatize Amtrak. It is a sinkhole for government funding as it is, but there's no reason why it shouldn't succeed. Let the free market see if it's a viable business model - and stop wasting tax dollars on a product that could be better off without them.

getting down off my soapbox,
KD

5 comments:

Libertarian Slim said...

I'm all for privatization. The problem is one of unfair competition - Amtrak cannot compete with the massively subsidized Federal highway system - created by the largest public works project in history.

Kid Dynamite said...

Interesting point... but is Amtrak competing with the highways themselves? they compete with the airlines... and the bus companies... I don't think they really compete with "driving yourself for free."
-KD

Libertarian Slim said...

Of course they do. Just not for big limosine ballah's like you. I take the #){($*)# $15 greyhound to NYC because I'm not gonna pay the friggin $120 for the train.

My point isn't original. It's a well discussed issue.

Kid Dynamite said...

I hear you

Huge Junk said...

I just know that I don't go anywhere that I can't park directly in front of.

I'm lazy.