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Amtrak hypes enhanced safety measures on trains ahead of Thanksgiving week travel

AmtrakAmtrak, facing a $5 billion shortfall, is touting a new standard of travel that the train service hopes will convince travelers that they can get to and fro safely and comfortably during the Thanksgiving travel season.

“By combining our enhanced safety efforts with the guidance of our full-time medical director and public health and safety teams who are working in partnership with experts from the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, we want to ensure our customers feel a renewed sense of confidence when they travel with us this holiday season,”  Amtrak President and CEO Bill Flynn said.

Amtrak and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation partner to provide intercity passenger rail in the Commonwealth. The Amtrak Northeast Regional provides a same-seat trip from Norfolk, Newport News, Richmond, Charlottesville, Lynchburg, and Roanoke to Washington, D.C., and other cities in the Northeast and as far north as Boston.

“This holiday season, customers can travel in confidence while avoiding unnecessary traffic,” Director of DRPT Jennifer Mitchell said. “With enhanced safety measures, we want to ensure our customers feel a renewed sense of confidence when they travel with us this holiday season.”

Customers are strongly encouraged to plan and book early to guarantee available tickets. Bookings will be limited to allow for more physical distancing in seating areas. Amtrak’s new standard of travel includes:

  • Face coverings: Amtrak requires all customers and employees wear a face mask or covering that fully covers the entire mouth and nose, fits snugly against the side of the face, and secures under the chin at all times while onboard and in stations unless actively eating or drinking while stationary and maintaining appropriate physical distancing.
  • Station Arrival: Customers are encouraged to arrive 30 minutes before departure and 60 minutes if in need of ticketing and/or baggage assistance.
  • Capacity indicator: When searching for travel options, customers will see a volume percentage next to each route so they can get helpful insight into which trains are less crowded. The percentage displayed is available in real-time when customers search for their train.
  • Seamless gate information: To reduce crowds at departure boards, Amtrak app users can receive gate and track information via push notifications at select stations.
  • Partnership with RB, the makers of Lysol®: Built on its commitment to the safety and wellbeing of travelers, Amtrak announced a partnership with RB, the makers of Lysol. As part of this partnership, germ-kill experts and microbiologists from RB will help Amtrak strengthen and reinforce its comprehensive disinfection protocols for trains, stations and Metropolitan Lounges.
  • Amtrak app: Customers can book, board, check train status and access information from the convenience and safety of a mobile device. Amtrak encourages boarding with eTickets, which conductors scan from the Amtrak app.
  • Air quality: All Amtrak trains are equipped with onboard filtration systems with a fresh air exchange rate every 4-5 minutes.
  • Physical distancing: Signage has been displayed at our busiest stations to indicate safe distances in high traffic areas. In addition, protective plastic barriers have been installed at customer counters at our busiest stations.
  • Limiting bookings: Amtrak is limiting bookings on reserved trains to allow for more physical distancing in seating areas. Individuals traveling alone may use the seat next to them for personal belongings, while friends and family members will easily find seats together.