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Amtrak Food Costs Lead To $834 Million In Losses For Company

Amtrak Food Costs the company $800 million

Amtrak food costs have led to more than $800 million in losses for the company over the last 10 years, due in the most part to waste and employee theft.

The revelation of the Amtrak food costs losses came this week when the railroad’s finances were audited by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the New York Times reported. The numbers play into a debate over how Amtrak should be run, with Republican lawmakers suggesting that Amtrak food services should be privatized.

Amtrak is subsidized by the government and has operated at a loss for many years, Atlantic Wire reported, but Thursday was the first time the scope of the inefficiency was reported.Two different departments oversee Amtrak food costs, but they haven’t coordinated with each other stop losses or prevent employee theft, the Atlantic Wire report said.

The audit from the Government Accountability Office and Amtrak‘s inspector general found that the company suffered about $80 million in losses a year selling food, and since 2002 it had lost a total of $834 million. The company said it was increasing the use of credit cards to prevent employees from stealing cash and would also be cutting staff and improving its inventory system.

The bulk of Amtrak’s food cost losses came on long-distance routes, the company’s inspector general found.

“It’s an outrageous cost to taxpayers,” said John L. Mica, a Republican from Florida and chairman of the House committee. “There has to be a better way. We can’t keep on paying this subsidy.”

Amtrak’s food costs were also found to be inefficient for the company. Amtrak charges $2 for a soft drink, but when labor is included costs the taxpayers $3.50, the New York Times found. The $9.50 hamburger costs taxpayers $16 once labor costs are added, the report said.

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7 Responses to “Amtrak Food Costs Lead To $834 Million In Losses For Company”

  1. Debi Gelbord Schneider

    Gee…can you say bail out? Entitlement bail outs for a poorly run government subsidized company that didn't KNOW THAT $834 MILLION WAS BEING DRAINED FROM THEM! I don't think so! Not only is it food theft but if you read further it's cash as well. So….let's see this is criminal behavior that most people would go to prison for. This is the kind of BS that leads law abiding citizens wondering what they are doing wrong. SCREW THEM

  2. Dorothy McKenzie

    So STOP serving food/drink. Riders bring their own or wait until they get off! Hey, just like our prior generations did – it's no big puzzle to figure out.

  3. Anonymous

    What you're talking about is several previous generations back in time. Dining and lounge cars started being used around the turn of the 20th Century. The World War One generation got used to them and they increased in popularity. These services are still considered a necessity by the rail traveling public which as of last year amounts to 10% of the US population. The pre-Amtrak (1971) railroads considered them money losers the same way, but they were able to lean on the the government subsidizing their losses through the transportation of the US Mail which only generated break even or modest profit. That was pulled in 1967 and given to the airlines who benefit from this subsidization to this very day. Besides, what passenger trains cost not including food/beverage service is what the real cost is. WAY over 834 Million a YEAR! Food losses compared to it's cost per year amount to only 1/10th of that. Vending has been tried and failed repeatedly over the last 50 years. A person you hand the money to and gives you the food is infinitely more reliable than a machine. Passenger trains have always been horribly expensive to operate and they always will be, so if you want a civilized alternative to the misery of airline, bus and automobile travel you're gonna have to pay for what long distance train service costs and put up with the pilfering that is culturally endemic to the demographic group that dominates it's on-board service personnel.

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