Better World Club

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Amtrak Denies BWC a Member Discount Because It Can't "Publicly Oppose AAA"

Did AAA Use Its Influence to Intimidate Amtrak?

How's this for an unhealthy relationship: AAA -- an organization that has consistently lobbied against mass transit for the past 50+ years -- is granted a 10% Amtrak discount for its members. Better World Club -- an organization that has consistently lobbied on behalf of mass transit in general (and Amtrak in particular) -- is denied an Amtrak discount.

When advised by Amtrak that we would not receive an Amtrak discount equivalent to the one AAA members receive, an Amtrak representative actually stated that Amtrak couldn't "publicly oppose AAA" by offering a discount to BWC members. Is offering our members a discount "opposing" AAA? If Amtrak did offer BWC members a discount, would Amtrak executives have to start parking only in brightly lit parking lots?

Since Amtrak receives A LOT of public funding (we've even lobbied on their behalf here and here), we've approached lawmakers and asked them to look into the legality of Amtrak's preferential treatment of AAA.

What's next? How far is Amtrak going to take this self-loathing behavior? Will Amtrak employees stop taking the train to work in the mornings and all start driving alone? We want to help Amtrak break this cycle of self-defeating behavior. Readers, please comment on this article and let us know what you think is the best way to proceed.

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