Amtrak: No Cheap Rail Pass For You

Reader Dan writes in with a tip about Amtrak’s Rail Passes. The only “national” pass available to US and Canadian citizens stipulates that “Your trip must include at least one journey between the U.S. and Canada.” and costs $999 peak/$709 off peak for 30 days of Amtrak travel. Sounds like a deal, right? Until you look at the pass available to “international” travelers.

$565 peak/ $395 off peak, no trip to Canada required. From Amtrak’s site:

    “The USA Rail Pass is for international visitors only. US and Canadian citizens are not eligible to purchase USA Rail Passes, unless their permanent residence is outside the US or Canada (proof of residency required).”

The only explanation given for why the USA Rail Pass is not available to US and Canadian citizens is “The USA Rail Pass is not intended for use as a commuting pass.” Isn’t there some way of preventing people from using the pass as a commuting pass other than a high price? Amtrak is, after all, supported in part by tax dollars.—MEGHANN MARCO

USA Rail Pass [Amtrak]