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Old 01-13-2008, 08:15 PM
 
4 posts, read 65,631 times
Reputation: 17

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My fiance and I are planning to move to Solana Beach. I am looking into taking the Amtrak (Pacific Surfliner) to commute to Irvine for work.

Any commuters out there doing this route already?
How safe is it?
How crowded does it get? (Leaving around 6-7am to Irvine, returning around 6pm to Solana Beach).
I have heard the trains are not reliabily on time-- how late are they? I can be at work 30 minutes late, but no more. Is it reasonable to rely on the Amtrak system?

Thanks!!
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Old 01-13-2008, 08:45 PM
 
9,518 posts, read 30,308,312 times
Reputation: 6405
Doesn't seem like a very popular option at 30 dollars a day. That's what, 800 bucks a month?
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Old 01-14-2008, 01:08 PM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 11,020,608 times
Reputation: 3022
The Amtrak is regrettably horrible for everything, and especially for commuting. If the train hits a car or catches on fire (happens more often than you'd think), they might cancel that particular train and shoehorn the other commuters onto the next train, which may come several hours later.

It is also incredibly expensive. Because it is a semi-subsidized monopoly, they can charge whatever they want for tickets, but they don't need to turn a profit. That's why the prices are so out of control, but the service is so poor. You can shave of about 30% of your ticket price by buying 10-packs of tickets. Check the website:

Amtrak

When it runs on time and the climate control systems inside work, the Amtrak is amazingly comfortable and fun to ride. It seems very safe. I would take it over commuting by automobile any day of the week. Except that it costs more and is unreliable.
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Old 01-14-2008, 05:43 PM
 
4 posts, read 65,631 times
Reputation: 17
Default Monthly Pass

Thanks for the advice. Keep it coming!

Yes, I realized the Amtrak can be expensive, but with the monthly pass, it comes out to be around 300-330 per month. Plus I get a 20% discount through work. Considering I won't have to pay for parking (around 60 dollars a month), gas, and wear/tear on my car, I think the Amtrak doesn't end up being too expensive.
My biggest concern is the timeliness of the train-- it doesn't sound too reliable. Any thoughts on the metrolink and coasters? I suppose I could take the metrolink to the oceanside station and connect with the coasters.
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:11 PM
 
Location: In a room above Mr. Charrington's shop
2,916 posts, read 11,030,505 times
Reputation: 1764
Default Surfliner is OK

In my experience, Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner is pretty reliable. It's mainly managed by the state -- CalTrans. There again, my experience is that the Amtrak routes managed by the state (San Joaquin, Capitol) are very reliable, clean and easy. The Surfliner section between LA and SD has almost hourly service.

The cost can seem high at first glance, but when stacked side-by-side with car ownership (factoring all of the costs), Amtrak comes out the same or cheaper. Remember, gas is only about 1/2 your true costs when driving. Other out-of-pocket expenses drive the cost of driving quite high, 50¢ per mile, easy. Opting to buy monthly passes or multi-ride tickets between specific destinations, and with your employer covering some of the cost, you will save money over driving. You'll also save your nerves!
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Old 08-21-2010, 02:36 PM
 
1 posts, read 16,342 times
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Amtrak absolutely is inconsistent and sucks!! No where else in the US is the trains sooo inconsistant!! Buy a ticket to come south from orange county to solana beach, be ware, they may be oversold, running late and YOU will miss 1 or 2 or even maybe 3 trains before they allow you on the train!! Then you will miss your event!!!!!! Then no compensation!!! It is ridiculous!! Oh yes.. don't be a female alone late at night waiting for the train, because their computers shut down for maintance and leave you stranded at the station waiting for a train for possible...LET SAY 3 hours and give you NO Customer service.....!!!!!!!!!!! MONOPOLY... HMMM.. does this happen in Chicago or NY or Boston..HELL NO
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Old 08-21-2010, 05:08 PM
 
Location: Southern California
3,113 posts, read 8,340,700 times
Reputation: 3721
If Amtrack is late or not running, you might be able to catch the Coaster to Oceanside, and then Metrolink into Orange County. They're commuter trains and only run during the rush hours, but if your Amtrack train is delayed, they are another option. And they too have monthly pass options.
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Old 08-21-2010, 05:11 PM
 
Location: Southern California
3,113 posts, read 8,340,700 times
Reputation: 3721
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guertie View Post
does this happen in Chicago or NY or Boston..HELL NO
Southern California has a car culture - so we have far fewer trains running - which means far fewer options if one is delayed. Our service will never be able to compare to major cities where public transportation is more widely available. Just a fact of life, if you choose to live in Southern California.
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:16 PM
 
Location: In a room above Mr. Charrington's shop
2,916 posts, read 11,030,505 times
Reputation: 1764
Quote:
Originally Posted by bouncethelight View Post
Southern California has a car culture - so we have far fewer trains running - which means far fewer options if one is delayed. Our service will never be able to compare to major cities where public transportation is more widely available. Just a fact of life, if you choose to live in Southern California.
But to play the devil's advocate, So Cal's car culture is the cause of endless traffic delays, often with few options to go around as all routes can be clogged at once -- particularly in Orange County. So there you sit at a standstill, only not at a train station, behind the wheel of a car. I guess it's fair to let each choose her/his preferred place to sit while waiting for one's preferred mode of transpo to get you some place.

I will also say this that Orange County is by far more embracing of the car culture than other So Cal locales, save, perhaps, the Inland Empire. Los Angeles is absolutely traversable by trains and transit if you live in the right place. I would also assert that the future will not be as car-craving as the past has been. This has actually been changing in L.A. for the past decade or more. L.A.'s car culture has peaked, in my estimation.

Amtrak between L.A. and S.D. runs practically hourly. For me, driving to San Diego is strictly for those times when I feel I've been bad and deserve punishment.
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