On April 2, I rode Amtrak train #777 from Los Angeles Union Station to Grover Beach. It was overbooked and overcrowded, holding some 400 passengers. The result was standing room only in both Coach and Business Class. All aisles and stairways were blocked. Conductors could not pass along the train. Discharge of passengers at stops was slowed, causing delays.

This caused not only discomfort for passengers, but also a serious safety hazard. If someone had become seriously ill, it would have been impossible for help to reach them. A rapid emergency evacuation of the train would have been impossible. Derailment, collision, or other abrupt movement of the train would have resulted in massive casualties.

Disabled or elderly passengers (like me, 70 years old), faced serious discomfort. This passenger load was certainly anticipated. Hundreds of UCSB students were aboard, heading to campus at the end of spring break.

This happens yearly. Amtrak can anticipate this and increase accommodation by adding cars, or stop selling tickets when all seats have been claimed.

This state of affairs is unacceptable for public transit. One wonders whether Amtrak prioritizes ticket sales over passenger comfort and safety.


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