Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday's Child is Full of Links

1.  Honey badger, schmoney badger.  The Okie Porkypine is the one what don't care.  Don't mess with the Okie Porkypine.

2.  Is higher ed being left behind, not just in terms of technology but also quality?

3.  Epic Crowd-failing.

4.  From Politico:  Amtrak is making progress on the issue [losses in food and beverage business], but Boardman admits it’s a long slog. “Food and beverage is important to our customers, and it’s very tough to make it profitable,” he wrote.

Amtrak President Boardman's job of running a $4 billion annual expenditure business seems to be impaired by his misunderstanding of what customers value or pricing to translate customer values into profit.  (ED's Note:  It is a little hard to understand why something that customers value and which is essentially a pure private good can, by definition, not be profitable...)

5.  Amtrak's "Fact Sheet."

Thanks to J.L., Angry Alex, J.S., and Jackie Blue.


Anonymous said...

Politico link is broken. (Just like Amtrak! Hah!)

russ said...

Selling a coke or pepsi for a small profit is something that hundreds of thousands of Hondurans do everyday. Even the most uneducated Hondurans do this successfully. The US government apparently cannot. Why should we trust government with more important parts of the economy?

Anonymous said...

Politico Link:

Anonymous said...

"Amtrak was created by Congress in 1970 to take over the passenger rail services previously required to be operated by private railroad companies in the United States. Those companies showed they had operated services at a net loss of millions of dollars for many years."
Excellent work amtrak! U turned millions in losses into billions!

SheetWise said...

Notice on the Amtrak Fact Sheet (June 2012) that the service between New Orleans and Jacksonville is still suspended. This service went down when the track was damaged during hurricane Katrina in 2005. They are rerouting traffic through Chicago and D.C. until they get the track fixed -- apparently, they're in no hurry.

The government can't run a railroad, can't make a profit selling food in a captive setting, and apparently they're not very good at locating "shovel ready" projects.

Anonymous said...

The tracks were fixed long ago by the host railroad, CSX. Amtrak has decided not to resume service so far although they float trial balloons from time to time. The Sunset Limited east of New Orleans was a particularly weak route and Katrina was a good excuse to end it.

Anonymous said...

This is my favorite part of the Amtrak fact sheet

"In FY 2011, Amtrak earned approximately $2.71 billion in revenue and incurred approximately $3.95 billion in expense. No country in the world operates a passenger rail system without some form of public support for capital costs and/or operating expenses."