Posts Tagged ‘Charleston West Virginia’

Station Customer Reps Placed in Cincinnati, Charleston, Shelby

October 28, 2020

Amtrak has placed customer service representatives in its stations in Charleston, West Virginia, and Cincinnati to assist passengers booking trips and boarding the Chicago-New York Cardinal.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said that the station waiting room in Charleston has been relocated to a trailer due to construction to make the station compliant with ADA standards.

The interim facility will be open for passengers at all train times as will be the station in Cincinnati.

Customer service representatives have also begun working in the Amtrak station in Shelby, Montana, to assist passengers boarding or buying tickets for travel aboard the Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder.

Passengers will be unable to buy tickets with cash but must use a credit card, reloadable credit or debit card, or an Amtrak gift card.

Manchin Trying to Force Amtrak to Return Agents

June 8, 2018

A West Virginia senator wants federal law to require that every state served by Amtrak have at least one station agent.

Joe Manchin of West Virginia amended a pending fiscal year 2019 transportation appropriations bill to include the requirement after his state lost its last Amtrak ticket agent.

Amtrak closed the ticket office in Charleston, West Virginia, on June 8.

Manchin’s amendment also requires Amtrak to justify its decision to increase prices for special and charter trains, and to stop accepting private passenger cars in Huntington, West Virginia.

In a statement, Manchin said removing the agent at the Charleston station will make it harder for Amtrak to attract new customers and retain the ones it already has.

“Amtrak has told me that most of their sales are now online, but West Virginians buy far more tickets at the Charleston station than most places around the country. That’s not surprising, as nearly 30 percent of West Virginia is without internet access, and mobile broadband access is also difficult in my state’s rugged, mountainous terrain, making online ticket sales difficult,” he said.

Charleston is served by the Amtrak’s 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.

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.

Support for Daily Cardinal Builds in W.Va.

November 29, 2016

Support for daily service by Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Cardinal is building in West Virginia, but supporters know that it remains long way off.

Amtrak CardinalAmong those recently supporting increasing the frequency of service of the tri-weekly train is the mayor of Charleston, Danny Jones.

Jones describes himself as train travel enthusiast who travels via Amtrak several times a year.

“It would bring more people through or more visitors if it were seven days a week,” Jones said. “However, “It would still lose money.”

Shortly after a conference was held in Cincinnati this past September to discuss a daily Cardinal, the West Virginia Governor’s Conference on Tourism unanimously passed a motion in favor of daily Cardinal service.

The Cincinnati conference was sponsored by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce.

In the meantime, Mayor Jones is fighting to retain the Amtrak agent at the Charleston depot, which is wedged between MacCorkle Avenue and the CSX railroad tracks.

Jones said some improvements have been made to the stop, including the installation of benches outside and some signs and landscaping around the station.