Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Arkansans Increase Amtrak Revenue

If you missed it, my friend, Dr. Bill Pollard from Conway, got his picture on the front page of yesterday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Pollard is part of a volunteer team that has, for the past nine years, been successfully managing the sleeping car and coach inventory on Amtrak. They manage the price charged for tickets based on availability. Airlines do a similar thing.

This group also talks with train crews and helps them identify regular travelers, especially between St. Louis and Chicago, and target them to buy unused sleeping car rooms as office space. Since that is a short trip and the same room is sold later at night, when the business traveler is gone, it increases revenue. It looks like this little hobby has brought revenue up for the Eagle, which passes through Arkansas once daily northbound and southbound.

Why does every long distance train not have a marketing expert devoted to increased revenue production? The reason is that airline and highway interests want Amtrak service snuffed out anywhere it is not already booming.

That is the other dirty little secret. In the northeast, where there are modern fast trains on convenient schedules, rail travel is thriving. Around the world, many countries have trains going at over 200 mph.

(Broadcast August 29, 2007)

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