Full view of the Amtrak Station in Rochester, NY.
City wheels

My Problem’s With The Rochester, New York Amtrak Station

In 2014 They Put Up A New Rochester, New York Amtrak Station

Finally, in 2014 they tore down the old Rochester, New York Amtrak Station, and I say good riddance.

New Amtrak Station in Rochester, NY.
New Amtrak Station in Rochester, NY.

At my former full time job, our customers would come from all over, including big cities such as New York City and Chicago.

The first things that would come out of their mouths would be, how horrible the Station and customer service was.

I’ve been to the old Amtrak Station many times and I can agree that it was completely garbage.

The Rochester, New York Amtrak Station Exterior Was In Worse Shape Than An Old Barn

The exterior was in worse shape than an old abandoned barn. In fact, the barn would have been an upgrade.

Not only was the station in desperate need of a new paint job, the metal panels were all coming loose, and hanging. Anybody coming on business to Rochester, New York was smacked with a bad presentation.

Even The Rochester, New York Amtrak Stations Interior Was A Nightmare

The interior was even worse. All the chairs in the sitting area were all crammed together. Maybe Amtrak was hoping all the passengers would snuggle together and sing songs. Seeing that Amtrak is always ridiculously late, I’m surprised that hasn’t happened yet.

LED train schedule screens in Rochester, New York Amtrak Station lobby.
LED train schedule screens in Rochester, New York Amtrak Station lobby.

There were also no screens available, like in the new station, requiring passengers to ask through a dingy window, or look at a board with times written on it with chalk.

And you didn’t dare look up at the ceilings. The ceilings had stains from the roof leaking, and looked like they were going to crumble down upon you at any time.

Overall, the place was not only in horrible condition, it was shamefully filthy. One time I went to use the bathroom and there were turds floating in the toilets.

Obviously, the staff was too lazy to clean the bathrooms. The toilet seats were saturated with dirt along with the floors and sink. I ended up walking out disgusted.

Fortunately Rochester, New York Has A New Amtrak Station

As soon as you arrive at the new Rochester, New York Amtrak Station, you can see a huge difference.

Far away view of the Amtrak Station in Rochester, NY.
Far away view of the Amtrak Station in Rochester, NY.

The parking lot is much bigger and better suited to handle traffic.

Full view of Taxi lane at Amtrak Station in Rochester, NY.
Full view of Taxi lane at Amtrak Station in Rochester, NY.

There’s a taxi and shuttle drop off area right in front of the entrance.

Taxi lane at Amtrak Station in Rochester, NY.
Taxi lane at Amtrak Station in Rochester, NY.
Outside Sitting area at new Amtrak Station in Rochester, NY.
Outside Sitting area at new Amtrak Station in Rochester, NY.

And the exterior has an old fashioned look and charm to it that honors an Amtrak Station of the past.

Rochester, New York Amtrak Station lobby.
Rochester, New York Amtrak Station lobby.

The interior has also been improved dramatically. There’s plenty of modern chairs in the much larger lobby, instead of the old plastic ones that looked like they came out of the 1970’s.

Stairs leading to train boarding platform at Rochester, New York Amtrak Station.
Stairs leading to train boarding platform at Rochester, New York Amtrak Station.
Windows in Rochester, New York Amtrak Station lobby.
Windows in Rochester, New York Amtrak Station lobby.

Instead of having to wait outside in all weather conditions, there’s steps that lead down to the train boarding dock. And above these steps is an old vintage looking clock. I think that this is a nice touch.

Clock in Rochester, New York Amtrak Station lobby.
Clock in Rochester, New York Amtrak Station lobby.

You also don’t have to guess what time your train is arriving. And you no longer have to ask rude agents through a dingy window, or look at an ugly board with chalk.

Now, you can just check the LED screens that give up to the minute arrival times.

And Now For The Ugly Part Of The Rochester, New York Amtrak Station

The new station looks great and feels very inviting, but there’s a lot to be desired with the service.

Front entrance to Amtrak Station in Rochester, NY.
Front entrance to Amtrak Station in Rochester, NY.

Let’s First Discuss How Long The Train Trip Takes

A typical train ride from New York City takes about 7 hours. One from Chicago takes about 13 hours.

That’s how long a train ride takes, if it’s on time. Many passengers have complained that it’s been 6 hours late on many occasions.

Amtrak Is Late Due To Having To share The Track

Amtrak has to wait until the freight trains pass, because the freight company owns the track. That means there’s been many times when passengers had to sit on a hot train for hours.

Benches at new Amtrak Station in Rochester, NY.
Benches at new Amtrak Station in Rochester, NY.

And if the train is delayed and you miss your connecting train, just like my sisters boyfriend did a few days ago, Amtrak doesn’t seem to care.

They had the nerve to offer him two options. To either cancel the trip and get a refund, leaving him stranded with no way home.

Or stay in a hotel and be given a $10 food ticket for the whole day, and only good at the machines in the station.

It really shows how much Amtrak thinks of it’s customers.

How About Those Rickety Train Tracks?

I had the pleasure of talking to a representative that sells the trains to Amtrak. According to this knowledgeable gentleman, the train is capable of reaching speeds of 140 mph.

Unfortunately, there’s only 65 miles of good track between Rochester, New York and New York City. This means that Amtrak trains can’t even reach half of their top speeds.

We’re Way Behind Compared To Other Countries When It Comes To Train Travel

Countries such as Japan and Europe have trains capable of reaching speeds over 300 mph. They have perfected the technology while making it much safer and faster.

Our politicians and leaders on the other hand, don’t see the value of investing in passenger train technology and infrastructure.

According to them, trains in the United States are more than adequate. Seems to me, that they find it acceptable to leave customers stranded on trains for hours waiting for freight trains to pass.

Or stuck in unknown cities overnight with no way to get back home.

Politicians And Leaders Always Focus On Lack Of Funds And Low Ridership

These politicians and leaders are right, there’s a huge lack of funds and low ridership.

What they don’t seem to understand is that the low ridership is due to horrible customer service, and crappy slow trains.

Our new Amtrak Station in Rochester, NY.
Our new Amtrak Station in Rochester, NY.

Many people who try the train, say it was miserable and will never ride it again.

The ones who stop, realize that cheap flights such as Jetblue cost just as much, or less. And takes way less time to travel such short distances.

Fixing The Amtrak Train Service Will Bring New Customers

It’s time that Amtrak was giving it’s own tracks and started using newer technology such as Japan and Europe .

Faster trains will motivate customers to ride the train instead of the plane, as long as there’s no extended delays.

Riding the train could be much more convenient since there’s no long security lines. And you’re not as restrictive with what you can pack in your luggage.

Improving the customer service is another necessity. Have your agents learn to talk to customers with respect, and be more empathetic when problems occur.

To All Our Politicians And Leaders, Here’s An Important Message

The lack of funding and ridership that you mention, is due to your broken train system.

Of course many people don’t want to ride it, including myself.

If you actually made the few fixes that I mentioned, many more people would travel by train, because they’d sincerely enjoy it.

Flag pole at Amtrak Station in Rochester, NY.
Flag pole at Amtrak Station in Rochester, NY.

What you’re comparing your current train system, that’s severely broken, are to ones that would actually work.

But what I’ve noticed is that in your world, rain doesn’t fall, but instead goes upward.

As you’re sitting here embracing excuses, instead of solutions, the rest of the world is way ahead of us when it pertains to intercity travel.

Then again, that’s what we’ve come to expect, and allow from our current crop of politicians and leaders.

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