Wednesday, August 01, 2007

AMTRAK should figure out a policy for dealing with drunken passengers before they make more of them.

In order to convince more people to ride the train, AMTRAK is now going to give away up to $100 in free alcoholic beverages per passenger to passengers who are members of its guest rewards program (regular AMTRAK travellers.)

Of course they have a right to give away anything they want to in a promo, but the choice of alcohol is an astoundingly poor choice for AMTRAK right now, and a bitter irony for Roosevelt Sims, a diabetic man who was kicked off of an AMTRAK train out in the middle of the Coconino National Forest, miles from civilization just over a month ago. Sims' family claim that he was going into diabetic shock even as he was being kicked off the train; AMTRAK says that he was intoxicated. Luckily, after state and local authorities spent thousands of taxpayer dollars searching for Sims, he was found four days later, though in pretty bad shape, dehydrated and confused as to where he was. Luckily it was summer and he didn't freeze to death. It's a good bet that if it had been during the winter, they'd have had to carry him out in a body bag.

Since this new policy is being announced only a month later, I doubt if AMTRAK has had time to revise their old policy. So the question has to be asked, what if one of their passengers has too much booze?

Do they kick them off in the middle of the Sonora desert next time? How about the Okeefenokee swamp? What about a bare plain in Montana when the temperature is about forty below? The promo is after all scheduled to run between November and January. And don't say they wouldn't do it, because as they proved with Roosevelt Sims, safeguarding the lives of their passengers is not much of a priority.

And until it is, and they have a policy that safeguards the lives of passengers, even drunk passengers, they have no business giving anybody alcohol.

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