I'd like a hamburger and a giant side of red ink, please.
WASHINGTON – Amtrak loses millions on its food and beverage service, and a congressional committee wants to know why.
The company's food and beverage cars have lost $833.8 million over the last decade, including $84.5 million in 2011, according to testimony at a congressional hearing Thursday.
The reason: the difference between Amtrak's costs and what it charges passengers. For example, taking overhead into account, each cheeseburger costs Amtrak $16.15 and each can of soda costs $3.40. But Amtrak charges passengers only $9.50 and $2 for those items...
Ted Alves, inspector general of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, said most of the losses come from Amtrak's 15 long-distance routes. Some losses come from theft.
I'm a huge proponent of rail in high-density urban areas where it's convenient and it makes sense. That doesn't describe any long-haul east-west route in the U.S. Planes win on cost and speed, so from a competitive standpoint, these long-haul routes can only compete on experience. And by the numbers, there aren't enough people willing to pay for the novelty of rail travel.
Just shut these routes down already and focus on the routes people use.