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Amtrak, Corridor apologize to Isabel

By enelson
Thursday, August 31st, 2006 at 12:38 pm in Capitol Corridor (Amtrak), Funding, rail, Safety.

Photo from on the train.jpg

Amtrak may not serve Wooster, Ohio, but Isabel Francis now has a chance to ride the rails – perhaps out of Cleveland – with the compliments and the apology of the national rail system.

After being booted from Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor in Berkeley and failing to obtain satisfaction from Amtrak, Isabel and her father, David Francis, finally turned to the multi-county Capitol Corridor, which pays Amtrak to operate its railroad service between Auburn and San Jose. Here is the result of that effort: In addition to the conductor who booted her being sent home without pay for 30 days, the Corridor’s managing director, Eugene Skoropowski, outlined these steps in a letter to Michael Graff of the Bay Rail Alliance:

Michael,I just returned from a week off and found all this info on the incident had
come into my office. I have attempted to call the girl’s father (left
messages at both his office and on his cell phone). He did speak to our
Marketing Manager, Priscilla Kalugdan on Friday last, but she was not aware
of the incident.
I was aware of the incident, but I had no information on the name and
contact information of the passenger (this may have been given to Amtrak
staff at Emeryville, but our office did not have this information).
Amtrak operates our Capitol Corridor trains under a contract, and all
employees on the trains are Amtrak employees. While we cannot become
directly involved with relations between Amtrak and its employees, we
clearly do become involved when an incident involves one of our customers.
Hence, my attempt to contact the girl’s father, and I will extend an
apology to his daughter. I expect that he and his daughter will also hear
directly from Amtrak.
As for the Amtrak employee, yes, he has been returned to work but only
after being off for a month without pay, formal disciplinary action is now
in his personnel file, he has been ‘counseled’ on proper conduct in such
situations in the future, and I can tell you that he is one very sorry
person about this whole incident. It almost cost his family their
livelihood, and he knows it. In any future incidents, I think the
conductor will use his head and his heart before enforcing what he thinks
are the Amtrak rules.
From my perspective, I think the employee situation has been addressed and
taken care of. The apology to the customer has not, and that is what I am
trying to take care of now. I think our Capitol Corridor riders know that
we are trying to operate a customer-based service. I still read every
e-mail that comes into my office, and see that those that require a reply
get one. This one is no exception.
In a business that relies on human talent to operate the service, and
provide the major contact with the customers, there will be an occasional
‘human failing’. This incident certainly qualifies. The ability to
apologize to others for our mistakes, and forgive those who fail when the
apology is sincere, is what distinguishes our civilized society from other
societies that are not so forgiving.
I am attempting to provide a measure of ‘healing’ to this incident.Gene   





Additionally, Skoropowski added, in an e-mail to me, that an Amtrak representative had also left a message for Isabel’s dad offering free Amtrak travel in the Ohio area “as evidence of the sincerity of Amtrak’s apology.”

That’s still not the face-to-face confrontation that the aggrieved young lady had sought, but it is a belated (on Amtrak’s part) effort to atone. Is it enough? I await your comments.




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6 Responses to “Amtrak, Corridor apologize to Isabel”

  1. Frequent Amtrak Rider Says:

    Sounds like an appropriate resolution all the way around.

    Thank you for following up on this one.

  2. r.b.hadlock Says:

    Please, someone, tell me what ” the incident” was! How can the newspaper and the web so carefully avoid saying WHY the lady was “kicked off” the train?

  3. Frequent Amtrak Rider Says:

    Read back to earlier topics, there should be two separate topics on this. The incident is described in great deatail including a response from the young lady and her father.

  4. Paul Marcelin-Sampson Says:

    Thanks for including the photo and acknowledging it with a link. I enjoy your blog and your newspaper articles!

  5. Frequent Amtrak Rider Says:

    This is old news but I rode Amtrak last week on the Capitol Corridor and no one asked me for ID going or coming.

  6. Capricious Commuter Says:

    I hesitate to say this, because I ride the train every day, but no one ever asks me for my ID. I guess now they’ll start.

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