Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak ticket agents’

Amtrak Says Cincinnati Ticket Office Will Reopen

May 23, 2020

Amtrak acknowledged on Friday that it will reinstate ticket agents in Cincinnati and 14 other stations that lost them in 2018.

The action is in response to a congressional mandate.

Other stations set to regain ticket agents include Marshall, Texas; Texarkana, Arkansas; Topeka, Kansas; Meridian, Mississippi; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Hammond, Louisiana; Charleston, West Virginia; Fort Madison, Iowa; Ottumwa, Iowa; Garden City, Kansas; La Junta, Colorado; Lamy, New Mexico; Shelby, Montana; and Havre, Montana.

Those stations lost their agent because they averaged less than 40 passenger boardings a day.

Cincinnati was the largest city to lose a ticket agent during that 2018 wave of ticket office closings.

It will take several weeks for the ticket offices to reopen.

Over the next four to six weeks Amtrak will post job openings and follow that up with interviewing and training.

The carrier has said the station jobs will be part-time and pay $20 per hour.

Cincinnati, which is located on the route of the tri-weekly Chicago-New York Cardinal, handled 11,382 passengers in 2017, an average of 36.4 passengers for the 313 days the station was open that year.

Ridership fell to 8,482 boardings in 2018 although some of that might have been due to a construction project being undertaken at Cincinnati Union Terminal.

Amtrak used a temporary station facility that was difficult to find.

In 2016, Cincinnati handled 12,481 passengers, which met the 40 passengers per day threshold. The passenger count in 2015 was 12,503.

In statement issued on Friday, Amtrak said those hired for the 15 stations will be uniformed workers trained to assist passengers with booking and boarding trains, including helping with unaccompanied minors, carry-on baggage and providing information on the status of arriving and departing trains.

The agents will be scheduled to meet customers for all trains.

Applications for the jobs will be available online at jobs.Amtrak.com. However, the carrier said before it hires outside applicants it will initially seek to fill the jobs internally.

The Amtrak statement said the Cincinnati station will not offer the services Amtrak requires to carry minors ages 13-15 traveling on their own.

It attributed that to the time of day when rains arrive in Cincinnati. Nos. 50 and 51 are scheduled to reach Cincinnati in the dead of night between 1 a.m. and 3:30 a.m.

The federal law prompting the return of the agents is contained in the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 that became law in December 2019.

It directed Amtrak to provide a ticket agent at every station that had agent position eliminated in fiscal 2018.

Cincinnati May Regain Amtrak Ticket Agent

May 22, 2020

A story in a Texas newspaper says Amtrak plans to restore ticket agents in Cincinnati and at 14 other stations that lost their agents two years ago.

The Marshall News Messenger said the depot board that operates the Amtrak station in Marshall, Texas, received a phone call from an Amtrak manager on May 18 that said an agent would be restored in Marshall and 14 other stations.

Other stations reported to be set to see ticket agents restored included Texarkana, Arkansas; Topeka, Kansas; Meridian, Mississippi; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Hammond, Louisiana; Charleston, West Virginia; Fort Madison, Iowa; Ottumwa, Iowa; Garden City, Kansas; La Junta, Colorado; Lamy, New Mexico; Shelby, Montana; and Havre, Montana.

The restoration of agents is expected to take place in the next month to six weeks.

The story said Amtrak plans to internally post the listing of the restored jobs in and then post them externally.

No Amtrak officials were quoted by name in the story and the passenger carrier has not announced any plans to restore ticket agents at any station.

At the time that Amtrak said it planned to close ticket offices at several stations, it framed the move as a cost-cutting measure at locations where ticket sales and passenger boardings were low.

The decision to close the Cincinnati ticket office was criticized for applying a minimum passenger count to a station that does not have daily service.

Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Cardinal stops in Cincinnati on Monday, Thursday and Saturday westbound and on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday eastbound.

Cincinnati was the largest city to lose its ticket agent. Amtrak also has closed ticket offices in Michigan in Flint, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Niles and East Lansing.

Amtrak to Close Kalamazoo Ticket Office in Early 2020

December 9, 2019

Amtrak plans to close its ticket office in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in early 2020.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari told a Kalamazoo TV station that the closure is being prompted by a decline in sales at ticket offices in favor of online purchases.

He would not comment on how many Amtrak employees will lose their jobs as a result of the closing but said in the past the carrier has given agents the option to transfer to other stations.

Amtrak has been closing ticket offices in the past two years, including offices in Michigan at Niles, Flint, East Lansing and Jackson.

Kalamazoo is served by eight trains a day, including Chicago-Detroit (Pontiac) Wolverine Service and the Chicago-Port Huron, Michigan, Blue Water.

None of those trains offers checked baggage or package express service.

The Kalamazoo station is a also a transfer point for Amtrak Thruway bus service to northern Michigan.

The Rail Passengers Association and Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers said it is working with Amtrak and the Michigan Department of Transportation to develop a station host program for Kalamazoo.

A similar program exists in East Lansing and MARP said it has worked well.

East Lansing Ticket Office Closing Monday

October 28, 2018

The Amtrak agent in East Lansing, Michigan, will be removed effective Oct. 29.

Amtrak said passengers boarding or people meeting detraining passengers from the Chicago-Port Huron, Michigan Blue Water will continue to have access to the station’s waiting area and restrooms each day.

The access for westbound Train 365 will begin at 7 a.m. while access for eastbound Train 364 will state at 8 p.m.

 

Amtrak Ticket Office to Close in East Lansing

October 20, 2018

Amtrak will remove its ticket agent from the East Lansing, Michigan, station on Oct. 29.

A caretaker will continue to open the waiting room at the station.

Passengers will be able to buy tickets from a self-serve kiosk at the station or make reservations at Amtrak.com, on the Amtrak mobile app, or by phone at 800-872-7245.

East Lansing is served by the Chicago-Port Huron, Michigan, Blue Water. It also has connecting bus service to Amtrak’s Wolverine Service trains that operate between Chicago and Detroit.

Amtrak to Close East Lansing Ticket Office

September 7, 2018

Amtrak plans to close its ticket office in East Lansing, Michigan, as soon as it can work out arrangements with station owner Capital Area Transportation Authority.

The fourth-busiest Amtrak station in Michigan will join a list that includes Niles, Jackson and Flint where Amtrak has removed ticket agents.Mic

The Amtrak ticket office in East Lansing is currently closed on Tuesday and Wednesday with only a caretaker paid for by the Michigan Department of Transportation overseeing the station.

MDOT Communications Manager Michael Frezell said the agency is working to hire a full-time caretaker for East Lansing.

The caretaker would open the stations before trains arrive. “With a vast majority of tickets being purchased online, having tickets purchased at the station has significantly reduced over the past year,” Frezell said.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari declined to comment on the closing of the ticket office in East Lansing, saying that the carrier posts notices of that intent on its website but it has yet to do so in the case of East Lansing.

Magliari also wouldn’t comment on what threshold of patronage that Amtrak uses when deciding to close a ticket office.

This year Amtrak has closed several ticket offices at stations that it said averaged fewer than 40 passenger boardings per day.

Trains magazine quoted an unnamed Amtrak source as saying the minimum threshold of 40,000 boardings per fiscal year is being used to review which ticket offices to keep open and which to close.

More than 68,000 passengers boarded trains at East Lansing in fiscal year 2017, almost was 10,000 more than the number who boarded at Detroit, which is retaining its ticket office.

Amtrak also continues to maintain ticket offices in Michigan in Dearborn, Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo, all of which had higher patronage than East Lansing in 2017, and at Battle Creek and Port Huron, both of which handled fewer passengers in 2017 than East Lansing.

East Lansing is served by Amtrak’s Chicago-Port Huron Blue Water.

Amendment Would Restore Cincy Ticket Agent

July 31, 2018

An Amendment introduced by two Ohio U.S. Senators would direct Amtrak to restore a ticket agent in Cincinnati.

The amendment to the transportation appropriations bill would require Amtrak to staff stations that averaged 25 passengers a day over the last five years

Introduced on July 26 by Sen. Sherrod Brown and Sen. Rob Portman, the measure would also affect the following stations that lost their ticket agents earlier this year: Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Ottumwa, Iowa; Topeka, Kansas; Hammond, Louisiana; Meridian, Mississippi; Havre, Montana; Shelby, Montona; Lamy, New Mexico; Marshall, Texas; and Charleston, West Virginia.

The amendment to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill is under consideration.

Cincinnati is served by Amtrak’s tri-weekly Chicago-Washington Cardinal.

More Opposition to Cincinnati Ticket Office Closing

June 9, 2018

The Hamilton County transportation improvement board has passed a resolution urging that Amtrak keep its ticket office at Cincinnati Union Terminal.

However, the office closed on June 5. Cincinnati is served by Amtrak’s tri-weekly Chicago-Washington Cardinal. It handles about 11,000 passengers a year in Cincinnati.

Amtrak has hired a caretaker to open and close the waiting room and assist passengers with their luggage and boarding.

Because of construction at CUT, Amtrak is using a temporary facility adjacent to the iconic station.

The Cardinal stops in Cincinnati in both directions in the dead of night. The city will be one of the largest Amtrak cities in the county to lack a station ticket office.

Amtrak now has ticket offices in Ohio in Cleveland and Toledo.

Manchin Trying to Force Amtrak to Return Agents

June 9, 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 7.

Manchin’s amendment also requires Amtrak to justify its decision to increase prices for special and charter trains, and to stop accepting private railroad 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 Amtrak’s tri-weekly Chicago-Washington Cardinal.

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.