Amtrak expands discount for Acela, Metroliner trains |

Amtrak expands discount for Acela, Metroliner trains

Donna De La Cruz

WASHINGTON – Amtrak said Friday it will offer discounts of as much as 15 percent for some tickets on its Acela Express and Metroliner premium trains that run between Washington and Boston, expanding on a discount program already offered for some of its regional train services.Amtrak described the Feb. 6 pricing change, which also will including boosting prices by 15 percent for some peak travel periods on Acela and Metroliner, as part of its plan to cut costs and restructure its operations.Revenue management systems are used by many industries, from airlines to Broadway theaters, as a way of pricing tickets to get the most profit by looking at booking patterns, said Bob Harrell, president of the New York-based Harrell Associates, a travel consulting firm which tracks airline fares.The railroad began using revenue management last October on its regional trains that run between Boston and Newport News, Va.”There are pluses for both Amtrak and its passengers,” said Amtrak spokesman Cliff Black. For example, in addition to the three current prices for Acela walk-up one-way fares between Washington and New York – $135 off peak, $152 midday and $168 peak – new discount $115 and premium $193 fares would be added to the pricing mix.The new pricing is separate from negotiated discounts that many corporate travel departments negotiate with Amtrak.”The fares will not be driven strictly by time of day, or day of week, although we will loosely follow that,” Black said. “They will be driven by the number of advance reservations and are keyed to times of day, to some extent.”Black added that Amtrak will not charge a fee for changing a ticket.”Revenue management is utilized because it works,” Harrell said. “You might have three prices, low, medium and high, and what you want to do is can charge the highest price on those departures where you have the greatest demand.”Amtrak’s load factor – the proportion of seats that carrier manages to fill with paying customers – for Acela Express and Metroliner trains was not immediately available.Vail, Colorado

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