Wednesday, December 22, 2010

This service is cancelled

Due to the record rainfall in Southern California, today Amtrak service from San Diego to San Juan Capistrano was cancelled. There are floods along the line at Sorrento Valley , and mudslides in Encinitas and San Clemente Metrolink isn't running any further south than Laguna Niguel.

While Metrolink (commuter service in LA, Orange, and other counties but not San Diego) and the Coaster (San Diego commuter service) both have updates on their websites about schedules, and even twitter updates, there is no such luck from Amtrak's website. Check the train status, and it doesn't even say "Cancelled", just "this information is not available" which isn't very helpful. And a phone number.

Then, reading an article about the storm in the OC Register, I found out that Amtrak DOES have a twitter feed for the Surfliner. Note to Amtrak: it's not much use unless you tell us about it! Perhaps it's telling that the Coaster and Metrolink twitters are customized with their logos, and updated frequently. Amtrak's, not so much.

So, finally, I found out there's limited service between LA and San Juan Capistrano, and no alternatives provided. If you need to get between San Juan and San Diego county, you are out of luck.

And the status updates that Metrolink and Coaster put on their front page? The Coaster site says at the top that repairs of the flooded track will take until Christmas weekend (4 days, anyway). It took till after 7pm my time for the main Amtrak webpage to post ANY status update up top--and trains have been cancelled since 6am. On the Amtrak California site, there's no indication of trouble. No, you have to click on a link in a 6pt font for "news" at the bottom of the page. It's not in one of the main menu buttons. NOT helpful, guys.

Amtrak has a real problem with communicating with the customers. Surely it can take a lesson off of Metrolink and Coaster and keep the websites up to date.

Regardless, I'm sure glad I decided to stay home today and telecommute, and that I can telecommute tomorrow too.

Amtrak: get it together, would you? You can't help the weather but you can sure do a better job letting us know what's going on.

Photo from San Diego Union Tribune.

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