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Amtrack Spokesperson Responds to Kinchen Editorial

Posted by kinchendavid on July 16, 2006

Dear Mr. Kinchen

We read with interest your July 9, 2006 editorial regarding Amtrak’s plan to reduce costs associated with its telephone reservation and ticketing services. Amtrak has recently reduced some costs by moving more sales to interactive channels such as Amtrak.com, Quik-Trak machines and voice response technology. In fact, fully half of all sales are now made through interactive channels. Despite the savings Amtrak has realized through these initiatives, call center labor costs continue to be among the highest in the industry and are unsustainable if Amtrak is to remain a competitive transportation provider. The greatest portion — 89 percent — of our call center cost is labor. As a recipient of significant taxpayer support, Amtrak has an obligation to review all options to reduce costs. However, no plan currently being considered would cut call center jobs and there are no plans to eliminate our call centers. If a third party is to handle a portion of reservation and ticketing calls, it would only be to supplement the loss of employees through attrition. Amtrak values the service its call center employees provide to our customers while we continue to undertake efforts to be a competitive provider of transportation in West Virginia and across the nation.

Barbara Richardson
Vice President Marketing and Sales
National Railroad Passenger Corp. (Amtrak)
60 Massachusetts Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002


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