Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak tickets’

Lamy Ticket Office Now Closed

August 13, 2018

Another Amtrak ticket office has closed. On Aug. 3 Amtrak pulled its agents from Lamy, New Mexico, on the route of the Southwest Chief.

The closing of the Lamy office had been announced earlier and set for July 31, but the closing was moved back a few days.

In a service advisory Amtrak said passengers for Nos. 3 and 4 will continue to have access to the station waiting area and restrooms for all train arrivals and departures.

The station is open daily from noon to 3 p.m. Amtrak personnel on the train will assist customers boarding and detraining but unaccompanied minors will not be allowed to board at this station.

Ticket options include buying with a credit card from Amtrak reservations or at the Amtrak website. Passengers paying cash can pay for tickets on the train but such tickets will be priced at the highest fare and subject to availability.

Checked baggage is no longer handled at Lamy. Nearest full-service station is in Albuquerque, about an hour southwest of Lamy.

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Senators Protest Cincinnati Ticket Office Closing

June 2, 2018

Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman have written to Amtrak seeking to get it to reconsider its decision to close its ticket office in Cincinnati on June 5.

“We believe that destaffing Union Terminal now would be pennywise and pound-foolish, as the decision to cut services now would likely need to be reversed once the terminal is fully renovated and ridership increases,” the senators wrote in their joint letter.

The letter expressed concern that removing ticket agents would leave passengers, especially the elderly and those with disabilities, without appropriate levels of service for baggage check, ticket purchasing, and general passenger assistance.

Amtrak serves Cincinnati with its tri-weekly Chicago-Washington Cardinal.

Senators Plead to Keep Ticket Offices

May 22, 2018

Two U.S. senators are seeking to get Amtrak to delay plans to close ticket offices in their states.

Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) wrote to the passenger carrier to express “serious concerns” about the criteria Amtrak used to determine which ticket offices to close.

In a letter to Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson, Manchin said removing the ticket agent from Charleston on June 6 “will not only deprive the state of West Virginia of its last Amtrak ticket agent, but will also compromise safety and upkeep of the facility, and make access more difficult for potential customers.”

Manchin said that Charleston handled 9,749 passengers in federal fiscal year 2017, which works out to more than 62 passengers per day for each day that the tri-weekly Cardinal operates there.

He said Amtrak’s decision to calculate ridership on a weekly basis ignores the fact that the Cardinal does not operate daily. “The policy penalizes Charleston’s station for part-time service without allowing it to be a full-time station.”

Manchin also said 30 percent of West Virginia lacks Internet access and that mobile broadband access is limited in many parts of the state.

Senator Steve Daines (R-Montana) sought to keep the ticket offices in Havre and Shelby open during a hearing in the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies.

He also called on Amtrak to create a station stop in Culbertson.

“The Empire Builder is critically important to keeping our rural communities connected, transporting out-of-state visitors to some of Montana’s pristine landscapes and supporting local economies,” Daines said. “Amtrak must take action to ensure the needs of Montanans and rural travelers are met.”

Stephen Gardner, Amtrak’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer of Amtrak, said during the hearing the carrier is supportive of adding a stop at Culbertson once station infrastructure is in place.

Marshall Seeking to Keep Ticket Office Open

May 3, 2018

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.

More Ticket Office Closings Planned

May 1, 2018

Amtrak will close 15 ticket offices in the next several weeks serving seven long-distance route. The closings will begin on May 15 and extend through late June.

Spokesman Marc Magliari said the closing are a bid to reduce expenses that was “made jointly by the operating divisions and the Long Distance Service Line.”

Magliari said the carrier is still figuring out which, if any, of the affected stations will have trainside checked baggage.

He said 22 jobs are being eliminated although some of the affected agents are retiring, leaving Amtrak service or bumping another agent at another location by exercising their seniority rights.

“The different dates depend on the staffing in the area and also whether agents are moving from station to station as a result of attrition,” Magliari said.

Caretakers are being hired to open and close the waiting rooms of all affected stations before and after train arrival and departure times.

The affected stations and closing dates by route are:

Southwest Chief: Lamy, New Mexico, (July 31); La Junta, Colorado,(June 1); Topeka, Kansas, (May 20); Garden City, Kansas, (May 15); and Fort Madison, Iowa, (May 16)

Crescent: Meridian, Mississippi, (May 17) and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, (May 21)

Texas Eagle: Texarkana, Arkansas-Texas, (May 15) and Marshall, Texas,  (June 29)

Empire Builder
: Havre, Montana, (June 1); and Shelby, Montana, June 5)

Cardinal: Cincinnati (June 5) and Charleston, West Virginia, (June 6)

California Zephyr
: Ottumwa, Iowa, (May 19)

City of New Orleans
: Hammond, Louisiana, (May 15)

Amtrak management has for several years been guiding passengers to booking travel on its website and closing small town and lesser used ticket offices.

It has also offered some discounts that are only available online.

Magliari said just one in 10 reservations are booked by station agents.

“This seems to be part of Amtrak’s new cost-savings strategy under CEO Richard Anderson to cut station staffing and on-board service to the long-distance national network,” said Peter LeCody, Rail Passengers Chair and President of Texas Rail Advocates in a statement.

Amtrak Sets Round of Ticket Office Closings

April 30, 2018

Amtrak is closing at least five more ticket offices across the nation. The latest stations slated to lose their ticket agent are Cincinnati; Charleston, West Virginia; Texarkana, Arkansas-Texas; Marshall, Texas; and Lamy, New Mexico.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the stations in all cities will remain open.

Magliari said the closing is being done to save money and because the volume of business done at ticket counters continues to decline.

“Nine out of 10 tickets across the country are purchased online,” he said.

In most cases the stations will open for a period of time before train time and be maintained by a caretaker.

“However, stations under this status have the option of partnering with Amtrak to host a station. Hope, Arkansas, does this,” Magliari said.

Magliari said the Lamy ticket agent is expected to transfer to an open position in Albuquerque after the Lamy office closes on June 1.

The Texarkana window in Union Station will close on May 15 and the Marshall office on June 29. It is not known if the agents in Texarkana and Marshall will lose their jobs.

“Other positions could be found for them,” Magliari said.

Main Street Texarkana recently provide funding and volunteer labor to beautify Union Station with new landscaping. More work is also planned.

Arkansas-side Mayor Ruth Penny-Bell said she understands Amtrak’s need to cut expenses, but regretted the changing business model.

“I was glad to hear we will still have our station, but I was not happy with the ticket counter closing,” she said. “But from those of us of an older generation, it hurts not being able to go to the station and buy your ticket there.

“Sometimes it feels like the world is moving too fast, and many of us are being left behind.”

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones expressed similar regrets when he said that city’s Amtrak ticket office will close on June 6.

Jones said after that date, anyone who wants a ticket in Charleston will have to buy it online. He

Jones said not having a ticket window will be a terrible inconvenience for anyone who rides trains, adding that a lot of people are not Internet savvy and information about trains is not always up to date.

The Cincinnati ticket office is also set to close on June 6.

Pacific Surfliner Ticket Policy Changes

February 20, 2018

Amtrak has changed its policy governing the use of 10-ride tickets on Pacific Surfliner trains. The validity period for 10-ride ticket for the Pacific Surfliners will be extended from 45 days to 60 days.

The change will apply to 10-ride tickets issued on or after Feb. 15, 2018, for travel on or after March 1, 2018. Tickets issued prior to Feb. 15 will retain the 45-day validity period.

In an unrelated development involving the Pacific Surfliner route, Amtrak said that it has partnered with Disneyland® Resort to offer special, limited-time savings for Southern California Residents on train travel and theme park admission through May 21, 2018.

Anaheim Resort Transportation provides a connection from the train station to Disneyland from the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center.

Passengers should board ART Route 15 located at Bus Bay No. 12 for a ride to the theme park. The ride is free with a valid train ticket. Participants can travel to ARTIC by train from points throughout Southern California, including San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.

For each adult ticket purchased, one free children’s ticket can be issued for those ages 2-12. To redeem, select one “Adult” and one “Child” as your passenger types, and enter promo code V231.

Discounted Tickets Will No Longer be Sold Aboard Carolinian, Piedmont Trains Effective June 5

May 18, 2017

Amtrak said this week that effective June 5 that discounted fares will no longer be sold aboard the Carolinian or Piedmont trains.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said that only the full undiscounted, unrestricted fare will be available for purchase and that conductors will only accept cash payments on board the train.

All Piedmont and Carolinian trains are reserved trains and seating on reserved trains is only guaranteed with a reservation.

Amtrak said passengers wishing to pay with with credit cards can make reservations and obtain eTickets at Amtrak.com, by using the Amtrak mobile apps, or by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).

eTickets can be printed at home or displayed using a smartphone. Tickets can be purchased with a credit card at stations with Quik-Trak kiosks and at Amtrak ticket offices.

Amtrak Removing Huntington Ticket Agent

December 20, 2016

Amtrak is planning to remove its ticket agent from its station in Huntington, West Virginia.

amtrak-cardinalThe station agent, who serves the tri-weekly Chicago-New York Cardinal, is slated to be removed on Wednesday.

Amtrak will hire a part-time caretaker to open the station 30 minutes before train times and then lock it after the train departs.

Removal of the Huntington agent will leave Charleston as the only station served by the Cardinal in West Virginia that still has a ticket agent.

Amtrak removed its agent at Prince last February.

Chuck Riecks of the advocacy group Friends of the Cardinal, told The Herald-Dispatch, a Huntington newspaper, that Amtrak wants to remove agents at several stations across the country. “The figure I hear is 122 stations,” he said.

He said the standard that Amtrak is using to determine whether to remove an agent is ticket sales. In recent years, Amtrak has not replaced agents who retired or left the company.

When a ticket agent is removed, it usually means that passengers will no longer be able to buy tickets at the station.

Agents also handle checked luggage, provide information on train status and help passengers plan trips by rail.

In news stories about the removal of agents in other cities, an Amtrak spokesman has often cited a rise in the number of passengers who buy tickets online.

Riecks said the Prince station has gone through at least two caretakers since the agent was removed.

“Prince, and more recently Huntington, just had a bunch of Amtrak money spent to put the stations into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act,” Riecks said. “Charleston is the next station slated to get the ADA work, and in all seriousness some of us are thinking we don’t want it. We know what comes next.”

Amtrak Offering Fall Ticket Discounts

October 18, 2013

Amtrak is marking its FY 2013 ridership record with a 31 percent discount off companion rail travel. Passengers must purchase tickets between Oct. 15 and Oct. 21, for travel between Oct. 22 and Dec. 12. The discount is available on regular full adult fares with qualifying adult companion traveling on the same itinerary with tickets issued together. This offer is valid on coach seats on select trains. Blackout dates of Nov. 26, 27, 30 and Dec. 1 apply.

Amtrak announced earlier this week that it carried 31.4 million passengers between Oct. 1, 2012, and Sept. 30, 2013.