An Open Letter to Amtrak

Amtrak Leveraging Indeas

Dear Amtrak,

Do you want to turn your fortunes around? Do you want to become more popular than JetBlue? Please hear me out:

Look at your demographic. It’s incredible. Your riders are primarily young professionals who are paying between $90 and $150 to travel between New York, Boston, Connecticut and DC. Many of your travelers take the same routes daily or weekly. These riders have money, they understand technology and they are upwardly mobile. Give them social media.

What does this mean?

You are a potential Your’re a potential – but IN PERSON. You are a ready-made dating and networking smorgasbord. Where do most people venture at some point during their ride? THE BAR CAR.


To hang out and socialize. That is why trains are awesome ’“ people hang out. They can walk around, talk, meet, network.

Railroads have traditionally been on the forefront of new technologies, from President Lincoln’s Pacific Railway Act to the Maglev. Amtrak needs to differentiate and the best way is to embrace technology – 90% of your travelers carry a computer and yet you do not even offer wifi. Please get Wifi. Then, take the lead’ create the first social network designed for transportation.

Most likely 30% or more of passengers already know someone else a given train. Possibly 40% of all passengers could meet someone from their same industry: student, lawyer or banker. Design a network so that when riders purchase tickets online, they can see who else we will be riding with.

Amtrak, do want to reverse your fortunes and become the hippest way to travel in America (at least for the under 30 crowd)? Do you want to suddenly have a windfall of positive press? Then do more of what you already do best: let riders interact with each other.

P.S. You could easily pay for the service by eliminating your magazine that no one reads anyway’


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