Taking an Amtrak to work may be better for the environment, fiscally responsible, and all, but it is such a painful process. To be fair, regardless of how people get to work; be it driving or taking public transport, there is no escaping the monotony of the process. The commute involves sitting down in the same place and passing the same sights. The situation is enough to drive a person crazy. At least Amtrak has WiFi, except the connection is so slow, getting the information via carrier pigeon would be a boost in speed.
Thankfully the Northeast corridor is getting an update to their network. The problem has been that up until now Amtrak has used the same networks that have all the mobile phones on their service. Except, of course, their network is shared, so instead of getting about 10 megabytes per second riders are sharing 10mbps. The service might be workable if the patrons were only planning on reading an article or two on a mobile site, but even the full site would thoroughly test one’s patience. However, on Monday Amtrak announced that they will offer their own WiFi, and all commuters were overwhelmed with gratitude regarding the potential boost in online speed.
Amtrak customers received another round of news to be thankful for when the GOP House members announced that they would not be cutting the railway’s subsidies. Republican from Georgia, Paul Braun, pushed for an amendment to 2015 Transportation Bill that would have cut their $340 million dollar subsidy. He argued that the company is continually in the red and that they should no longer be able to coast off of the subsidies year after year. The main reason that the company is losing money is because their long distance routes are simply too unprofitable; for every one rider they lose over $100, despite having the highest ridership in years. Another drain on the company is their food and beverage service. Tom Latham a Republican from Iowa argued that cutting the subsidy would essentially be a guarantee of bankruptcy for the railway company, and though currently unprofitable it was making strides in the right direction. This argument was enough to sway the vote away from dooming the company.
Another factor that helped seal the company’s future was the realization that the Northeast Corridor is still profitable; due to numerous commuters traveling between Boston and Washington D.C. on a daily basis. It makes sense then that the company help ease the tedium of the passengers who helped save it. Their network will be improved by adding towers that are owned by the company itself. This will have the benefit of being able to be readily upgrade them when necessary, or if the company ever gets back into the green. Another perk for the customers will be the fact that no longer will they have to suffer areas without service. The towers will bring with them a 250 percent boost in WiFi speed for the loyal Northeastern Amtrak passengers who kept the company off of the chopping blocks; though unfortunately they will still all be sharing it.
By Eddie Mejia