25 October 2009

At long last, an Amtrak update

A nice lady from Amtrak called me to talk to me about this post. I wish they had a bigger staff so I didn't have to wait weeks for a resolution, but that's Congress's problem, I suppose.

Eddie Valentine said she is route manager for the train I was on, and that I am completely off my tree with charges of racism. She didn't say it that way. She was very polite.

"Don't see something that isn't there," she said.

She explained that on long-distange trains, passengers are sorted by destination to minimize the amount of foot traffic and luggage moving and whatnot that might disturb others as they prepare to exit the train.

Makes sense. I cannot remember anyone asking me my destination but I am willing to admit that my memory may be faulty. I was dealing with bags and traveling companions and tickets and ID and perhaps the lady did ask me. I don't remember it - but I could be wrong on that count.

Ms. Valentine also explained in no uncertain terms that she is Black and that there is no way she would stand for that kind of activity on her train.

So there we have it. An explanation at last. What do you think? Make sense?

6 comments:

Suzanne said...

I think it makes sense, and that is what I hoped was the answer. It does make some sense to sort people by destination if they have luggage or something. I've personally never ridden an Amtrak train where I was told where to sit, so the whole story freaked me out. I'm glad they got back to you.

Also, thanks for the explanation for all your awesome headers.

Joe Crawford (artlung) said...

It sounds plausible, but it sounds like the answer has not really satisfied you, which is a bummer.

sassymonkey said...

It definitely sounds plausible. I've travelled by train a lot though not Amtrack (seeing as we don't have that in Canada...) and I've been divided into trains depending on where my destination was. It makes it easier for the porters to make sure that people get off at the right stop. I think it's a plausible explanation for it happening...once. If you saw it again I'd be more doubtful.

jen said...

I ride Amtrak somewhat regularly, and have noticed that different routes have different methods, depending on traffic/time/etc. Most often it's by destination but I've also noticed they will split groups of 3 people or more into a different car so there is a better chance of them sitting together. Regardless, I'd question what you experienced, too!
(New reader thanks to link from Jonniker!)

mar said...

i think it makes sense (& hope that's the truth). one assumes that your destination is on your ticket, so why would they need to ask other than verifying your ticket is valid?
sometimes i'm still eternally optimistic about certain things.

Dingo said...

I travel on Amtrak a lot and I have never had someone ask me for my destination. And the whole "I'm black so it couldn't be racism" thing just rings false. Not that I'm doubting that she's black but she's also an employee and it's also her job to diffuse situations. I think she may be the one not seeing something that possibly was there.

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