Amtrak releases new train travel guidelines as America begins to reopen

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WASHINGTON (NEWS10) — Amtrak is reassuring customers by implementing several cleanliness and convenience measures as America gradually reopens to help simplify and safeguard the travel experience.

“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,” said Amtrak President and CEO Bill Flynn.

Amtrak says while some routes have been reduced or suspended, they will continue to operate as an essential service. On the Northeast Corridor, Acela will reportedly resume on a reduced schedule starting June 1 and other trains will return to service by monitoring demand and working with state partners to prioritize safety.

Here are the following measures Amtrak is taking to ensure traveler safety:

When you book:

• Trip flexibility: Amtrak is waiving all change and cancellation fees for reservations made by August 31, 2020. This includes reservations booked with points.

• Limiting bookings: Amtrak is limiting ticket sales to 50% of each train’s seat capacity to allow for physical distancing while traveling.

• Private rooms: Private rooms are offered on many national network trains; for both short and long distance trips, sleeping cars provide extra space, comfort and privacy.

Enhanced station procedures:

• Enhanced cleaning:  Amtrak has enhanced cleaning and disinfecting frequency and retrofitted protective barriers where necessary. Commonly used surfaces in stations such as door handles, counter tops, seating areas and Quik-Trak kiosks are frequently cleaned with EPA-approved and CDC-endorsed disinfectants.

• Physical distancing: Signage has been displayed at our busiest stations to indicate safe distances in high traffic areas. In addition, clear protective barriers have been installed at customer counters at our busiest stations.

• Facial coverings: Amtrak is requiring all customers and employees to wear facial coverings while in stations.

• Preventing overcrowding: Except for the Auto Train, customers are encouraged to arrive only 30 minutes before departure and only 60 minutes if in need of ticketing and/or baggage assistance.

Contact-free travel experience:

• Cashless service: Amtrak is accepting cashless payments only.

• Seamless gate service: To reduce crowds at departure boards, Amtrak app users can now receive gate and track information via push notification at select stations.

• Contactless ticketing: Amtrak encourages boarding with eTickets, which conductors scan from the Amtrak app.

Onboard:

• Facial coverings: Amtrak is requiring all customers and employees to wear facial coverings while on trains or thruway buses. Facial coverings can be removed when customers are in their private rooms or seated alone.

• Enhanced cleaning: Amtrak has amplified the cleaning of our trains, to include fogging, a sanitization method that disinfects surface areas and is highly effective and safe. Following the fogging process, highly touched surfaces including tray tables, seats and restrooms are thoroughly sanitized.

• Limiting bookings: Amtrak is limiting ticket sales to 50% of seat capacity, with customers encouraged to use the seat next to them for personal belongings.

• Reducing exposure: All non-safety materials have been removed from seatback pockets.

• Handwashing available: Available in each car’s restroom, Amtrak strongly encourages washing hands thoroughly with soap and water.

• Contactless movement onboard: To move between cars, customers can use an “automatic door open” button with their foot.

• Upon arrival: When the train is approaching a destination, conductors will make announcements regarding where and when customers can disembark to minimize crowding at the door.

Food & beverage:

• Café service: Effective May 20, café service aboard Amtrak trains will be offered as carryout only. Seating in the café will be closed. Customers can bring items back to their seats or private rooms.

• Flexible dining: Amtrak is temporarily offering flexible dining service in the dining or lounge car on all long-distance routes (except Auto Train) and encouraging Sleeping Car customers to select optional room service.

• Dining and lounge seating: Dining and lounge seating will remain available on select long distance routes with physical distancing protocols in place.

• Physical distancing: For customers placing orders in the cafe, signage and markers promoting physical distancing leading up to the café counter have been added.

• Protective barriers: For added protection, sneeze guards are being installed at café countertops.

• Cashless service: Amtrak is accepting cashless payments only.

Giving back:

• Fewer trains have resulted in a surplus of food and supplies. Amtrak is reportedly donating extra food to shelters in locations around the country to help those in need during this unprecedented time. Amtrak has also partnered with Delivering Good to donate surplus blankets to the military-run hospital at the Javits Center in New York City, who are caring for patients impacted by the Coronavirus.

Amtrak says they continue to evaluate current practices and launch new initiatives to support personal safety. For more information, follow Amtrak on social media, subscribe to Amtrak email notifications and visit Amtrak.com/coronavirus to stay updated on the latest news and information on their services. 

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