As coronavirus concerns soar, Amtrak has seen a 50% fall in bookings, and a massive increase in cancellations. This week the company has announced that there will be huge reductions in services and told staff to expect periods of unpaid, voluntary leave.
Alongside the 50% drop in bookings the train service has seen a huge 300% increase in cancellations; revenue is dropping dramatically nationally but has been particularly severe in the Northeast. The provider is not expecting the situation to improve for a considerable period.
Despite this, there have only been 3 cancellations of Acela non-stop train services along the Northeast area as a result of the reduction in demand, and Amtrak continues to run hundreds of train services nationally.
The company has asked non-critical employees to take unpaid time off but at this stage, this remains voluntary. In a recent announcement, the operator advised customers and employees to expect that there will be"significant service reductions" in areas where ridership is dropping.
Amtrak has been working hard to achieve financial stability and transported record numbers of passengers in 2019.
Over the year 32.5million people used Amtrak, however, the organization is saying that this hard-won stability is now under threat, with anticipated losses reaching more than several hundred million dollars.
In an attempt to stimulate ridership Amtrak is publicizing the increased frequency of cleaning in stations and on trains and providing free hand sanitizer and wipes to all passengers as well as company employees. They have also waived certain fees on bookings made before April 30th this year.
On Sunday Amtrak announced that a passenger that had traveled on its Chicago to St Louis service had tested positive for Covid-19.
They immediately notified passengers and employees that had been on the train and the train has been taken out of service for cleaning and disinfection. Both Chicago and St Louis stations have also been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.