Amtrak seems to be feeling the crunch of the current recession, as I noticed on a recent trip.
Every few months for the past several years, I have used Amtrak to take short trips up to Oceanside or San Clemente. On these jaunts, I usually opt for business-class travel — an extra ten bucks doubles the fare, essentially, but used to be justifiable for the perks.
Business-class travel used to include a choice of drinks (I usually chose cola), a decent snack pack (with tortilla chips and salsa), and a porter-delivered USA Today.
On an Amtrak trip north on July 19, I discovered that the drinks, formerly in standard 12-ounce cans, had been downgraded to the 8-ounce, 100-calorie jobbies. The snack pack was noticeably smaller, and the snacks were of lower quality than before. Complimentary coffee and newspapers remain available, but on a self-serve basis at the front of the car. Where there used to be two porters working the business-class car, on that day I saw only one.