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