Amtrak has announced a number of cleanliness and convenience measures prioritizing safety and peace of mind as it welcomes customers back to its trains, including flexible and limited bookings as well as enhanced cleaning and contactless ticketing.
Amtrak continues to operate as an essential service although some routes have been reduced or suspended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Acela train in the Northeast Corridor will resume on a reduced schedule beginning June 1 and other trains will eventually return to service as Amtrak monitors demand and works closely with state partners to ensure a safe experience.
The rail transportation provider is currently waiving all change and cancellation fees for reservations made by August 31, 2020, and limiting ticket sales to 50 percent of each train’s seat capacity to allow for social distancing.
Meanwhile, private rooms providing additional space, comfort and privacy are also available on many national network trains, Amtrak said.
Enhanced station procedures include frequent disinfecting of commonly used surfaces, signage to promote physical distancing, face-covering requirements and arrival recommendations to prevent overcrowding.
Amtrak is also promising travelers a contact-free travel experience, accepting only cashless payments, allowing Amtrak app users to receive gate and track information via push notification at select stations and encouraging passengers to board with eTickets that conductors can scan from the app.
Onboard, Amtrak is requiring all customers and employees to wear face coverings unless in their private rooms or seated alone and encouraging frequent handwashing, which is available in each car’s restroom. What’s more, all non-safety materials have been removed from seatback pockets to limit exposure and customers can use an “automatic door open” button with their foot to move between cars.
Amtrak is also offering flexible dining service and beginning May 20, cafe service will be offered as carryout only. Additional measures for added protection include sneeze guards being installed at cafe countertops, physical distancing protocols for dining and lounge seating and cashless payments.
“Now more than ever, we stand ready to play a critical role as our nation recovers. We are doing everything we can to offer vital transportation services in a way that prioritizes employee and customer safety and well-being,” Amtrak President and CEO Bill Flynn said in a statement.
Fewer trains in service have resulted in a surplus of food and supplies that the company has donated to charities and local communities.
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