Amtrak Blames Millennials for the Death of the Dining Car, They’re Not Having It

The Amtrak dining car will disappear as rail carrier cuts costs 1 photo
Cross-country train travel is just not the same without a dining car: that’s the general reaction to the news that rail carrier Amtrak will eliminate dining cars on 3 of its routes as of October 1.
In a statement to The Washington Post, Peter Wilander, Amtrak’s head of customer experience, explained the decision, but chose to focus on the needs of the modern passenger, instead of the economics behind it.

The bottom line is that Amtrak needs to cut costs, and doing away with the dining car and everything that it entails (kitchen, fresh supplies for the freshly cooked meals, the likes) will save an estimated $2 million. However, Wilander says that the decision was mostly influenced by millenials’ behavior, because they, apparently, don’t like having to sit down at a table with strangers.

“Some people, especially our new millennial customers, don’t like it so much,” Wilander explained. “They want more privacy. They don’t want to feel uncomfortable sitting next to people.”

He also said words about millenials being “on the go,” which means standing in line for a table and then actually sitting at the table was not something they would fancy doing. So, as of October 1, 3 routes will include a more “flexible” dining service, which involves serving pre-made food, and no dining car. The food won’t come in boxes, Amtrak is quick to say.

The 3 routes to see the dining car go are the Cardinal (New York – Chicago), Silver Meteor (New York – Miami) and Crescent (New York – New Orleans). Silver Star (New York – Miami) will also do away with the dining car in 2020.

Reactions to the news vary from welcome (the dining car was only open for a few hours and a table came with a long wait, and the food wasn’t that good, either way) to outraged. While most agree that this is an effective cost-cutting strategy, Amtrak could at least have been honest about it and not blame it on the millenials. If they’re willing to part with the tradition behind the dining car, they should at least have the courage to say why they’re doing it.

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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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