Marshall Seeking to Keep Ticket Office Open

Rail passenger advocates in Texas have launched a campaign to try to get Amtrak to reverse a decision to close its ticket office in Marshall, Texas.

The ticket window is one of 15 that Amtrak plans to shut down between now and late June.

Marshall is on the route of the Texas Eagle and the ticket office on the route in Texarkana, Arkansas-Texas is also slated to close.

Amtrak has just one employee in its Marshall ticket office. It plans to hire a caretaker who will open and close the waiting room at train time and keep it clean.

The passenger carrier is also installing a ticketing kiosk at the stations in Marshall and Texarkana.

In making the case to keep the office open, the Texas Eagle Marketing and Performance Organization contends that closing it will reduce ridership and revenue.

The group also said that removing local agents means no ticketing information service will be available locally and there will be no assistance for the elderly.

“If I didn’t have George [Cantliy, the Amtrak agent in Marshall] to help me get on that train with my luggage, I’ll have problems and I ride that train about once a month,” said Gail Beil, a Marshall resident.

The Marshall Depot Board of Director was to hold a meeting at the station this week to discuss information about Amtrak’s plans.

The Board said an Amtrak agent does more than sell tickets. The agent also provide services to ensure safe boarding and de-boarding of passengers, safety on the platform, assistance to those with disabilities and/or special needs and assistance with luggage.

TEMPO is asking Marshall residents and passenger train supporters to write to their congressmen and the president of Amtrak and ask that the Marshall ticket office remain open and staffed.

For its part, Amtrak contends that few people buy tickets at the stations, electing to buy them online from Amtrak’s website.

The 15 ticket offices scheduled to close all reportedly handle 40 or fewer passengers per day.

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