Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak passengers’

Amtrak Passengers to be Required to Wear Masks

May 8, 2020

Amtrak passengers will be required to wear masks or other facial covering starting May 11.

The carrier said the requirement will apply to passengers on trains, Thruway buses and those inside Amtrak stations that are still open during the pandemic.

“The safety of Amtrak’s customers and employees is our top priority and requiring a facial covering is one more way we can protect everyone,” Amtrak President and CEO Bill Flynn said in statement. “Amtrak continues to operate as an essential service for those who must travel during this public health crisis.”

Amtrak said the exceptions to the rule include removing covering to the nose and mouth when eating in designated areas.

Small children who cannot maintain a facial covering will also be exempt from the rule.

Passengers will not be required to have the facial covering on when in private rooms in sleeping car accommodations, or when seated alone or with a travel companion in their own pair of seats.

The intercity rail passenger carrier said it has reduced ticket sales on trains so that they operate at no more than 50 percent of capacity to ensure social distancing.

Amtrak Averaging 4,000 Passengers Per Day

April 14, 2020

Amtrak is carrying an average of 4,000 passengers a day during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The carrier normally averages 100,000 passengers a day. About 57 percent of Amtrak’s departures have been temporarily suspended with the Northeast Corridor seeing a reduction of 77 percent of its scheduled trains.

“We are running trains where we have more staff than customers,” Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson said during an employee town hall meeting last week.

Anderson described the $1.018 billion in emergency aid it is receiving from the federal government as essential but said “we are burning about $50 million a week in cash.”

Anderson said Amtrak’s recovery from the pandemic will proceed as travel demand grows.

“We are going to be a very different railroad when we come out the other other side of this; we will be 20% smaller,” he said.

Anderson hopes that travelers understand Amtrak doesn’t pack passengers aboard its trains as densely as airlines do in their planes.

That could favor Amtrak in shorter-haul markets, he said.

Senators Demand Amtrak End Forced Arbitration

December 4, 2019

Pressure is growing on Amtrak to eliminate a requirement that passengers submit to arbitration rather than filing lawsuits to resolve disputes with the passenger carrier.

Thirteen U.S. senators have written to Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson to ask that the arbitration clause be removed from the contract of carriage that passengers agree to when buying tickets even if most of them are unlikely to know that.

The senators, led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), told Anderson in the letter that the arbitration policy “is gravely imperiling traveling Americans’ access to justice and public accountability.”

The letter said the arbitration agreement is “particularly disturbing due to its broadness of scope,” which includes personal injury claims and wrongful death. It would also eliminate potential class-action suits.

In response Anderson rejected the request, saying that arbitration expedites the resolution of disputes at lower cost.

Amtrak quietly imposed the arbitration requirement last January.

“Agreements to arbitrate are desirable precisely because they trade the procedures of federal courts for the simplicity, informality, and expedition of arbitration,” Anderson said.

He said money saved resolving disputes through arbitration instead of in court “can then be spent in safety programs and other passenger service and care programs.”

Blumenthal said Anderson’s response was to be expected. “They say it costs less, it’s quicker, but the rights of plaintiffs are vastly undercut,” Blumenthal said.

The Connecticut senator has introduced legislation to invalidate all forced-arbitration agreements.

Boarding in Waterloo

October 19, 2019

Their train was late and it had to make two stops at the station in Waterloo, Indiana.

That’s because when Amtrak operates on Track 2 on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern it doesn’t halt next to the platform.

Instead, passengers board and disembark from a much smaller platform between the two tracks.

Such is life on a busy freight line and on this morning the NS was very busy with faster trains relegated to Track 2 and slower unit trains to Track 1.

So the westbound Capitol Limited made two stops in Waterloo, one for sleeping car passengers and the other for coach passengers as shown above.

Looking for a Seat

October 13, 2019

He has just boarded the northbound Hoosier State at Lafayette, Indiana. Now comes the task of finding a place to sit. The image was made from an elevated plaza overlooking the Amtrak station.

Boarding in Durand

August 12, 2018

Passengers board Amtrak’s westbound Blue Water in Durand, Michigan, with most of them en route to Chicago.

The tracks used by Amtrak here are owned by Canadian National but their ancestry is Grand Trunk Western.

GTW’s trains to Chicago were discontinued with the coming of Amtrak in 1971, but later revived with funding from the State of Michigan.

Remember the Old CUS Metropolitan Lounge?

June 28, 2018

It is May 2014 and passengers are lined up waiting to board the California Zephyr, which will be leaving soon for the San Francisco Bay area.

These passengers are holding sleeping car accommodations and were waiting in the former Metropolitan Lounge at Chicago Union Station.

A new lounge has replaced this facility, but the old lounge should be a familiar sight to those who rode Amtrak sleeping cars to and from Chicago during the past couple of decades.

When it was time to board your train, you went through a door toward the back of the lounge and an Amtrak agent escorted you to the track where your train was waiting.

Boarding CONO in New Orleans

March 16, 2018

The first call for boarding of Amtrak No. 58, the City of New Orleans, has been made at New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal and the sleeper class passengers are the first allowed onto the platform to board their train.

They will shortly be in their assigned rooms, which are in the last car on the train today.

Further down the platform, station workers are stocking the dining and lounge cars. The first meal to be served will be dinner with initial seating coming somewhere in Mississippi. Passengers will watch the Illinois prairie roll by as they have breakfast the next morning.

Woman Says Amtrak Agent Told Her to Remove Pin

October 30, 2017

Amtrak has apologized to a Chicago woman who claims that an Amtrak gate agent told her to remove a “love trumps hate” button before boarding a train to Seattle last Friday.

In issuing the apology, Amtrak said its employee misinterpreted a company policy.

The incident came to light after Melissa Stone wrote about it on Twitter.

She said the Amtrak agent told her that because the passenger carrier is “federally funded,” that Stone would have to remove the pin or “stay in her cabin” during her trip.

Stone said an Amtrak manager confirmed that the action of the Amtrak agent wasn’t proper.

In a facebook post, Stone said she and her partner, Chase McClure, were traveling to Seattle to celebrate their 10th anniversary.

She said the agent said Amtrak asks passengers to remove such pins to prevent fights from breaking out on trains.

McClure also weighed in on the dust-up on social media, saying she would be just as angry if the agent had asked another passenger to remove a “Make America Great Again” hat, which is commonly worn by supporters of President Donald Trump

“Love trumps hate” was a slogan used by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and continues to be used by some who dislike Trump.

Staying Cool in the Sightseer Lounge

May 5, 2017

Outside the temperature is going to be an unseasonably 90 plus degrees in North Dakota. But inside the Sightseer Lounge of Amtrak’s westbound Empire Builder, the passengers are staying cool.

There is hardly a seat to be found as the train rolls west of Minot.  When this image was made in May 2014, the oil boom was at its peak and BNSF was laying new tracks as fast as it could.

Oil is still pumped here, but the amount of it moving by rail has fallen off.