Amtrak is reinforcing its commitment to the safety and well-being of its customers and has implemented new and improved personal safety measures to best protect passengers traveling in the COVID-19 era.
"As we continue to prioritize health and safety in traveling, it's important we provide our customers with new, innovative measures that promote physical distancing and contactless travel," said Amtrak President and CEO Bill Flynn.
New technological capabilities are proving key both to protecting customers and providing an unprecedented level of convenience when it comes to rail travel. As part of the company's New Standard of Travel, the Amtrak app enables customers to purchase tickets, access up-to-date gate and boarding information and present e-tickets using their own mobile device.
To simplify and safeguard the experience, Amtrak now provides real-time boarding information when customers enable push notifications through the Amtrak mobile app so that they can wait comfortably at a distance until their train is ready.
By opting-in for delay notifications on the app, passengers at New York's Penn Station (NYP) station, in particular, can count on receiving a text or email two hours prior to departure that outlines the station's updated cleaning procedures and restroom protocols and supplies their recommended arrival times, boarding and ticketing information.
"We encourage all customers to download the app to receive our new app updates, which will prevent crowding inside the station waiting for the boarding information to post; and provide an extra level of confidence to make travel safe and secure, in addition to the many safety measures onboard our trains and at our stations," added Flynn.
Notably, at NYP, but also at other stations across the U.S., Amtrak has implemented the following modifications:
Physical Barriers: Protective plastic barriers have been installed where necessary, including in front of customer counters at Amtrak's busiest stations.
Enhanced Cleaning: Heightened frequency and intensity of cleaning protocols throughout the station, with an extra concentration on high-touch surfaces (e.g. door handles, countertops, seating areas and Quik-Trak kiosks) using EPA-registered disinfectants. NYP station is closed every night between the hours of 12 a.m. and 5 a.m. to allow for complete disinfection.
Heightened Hygiene: Hand-sanitizer products are provided for customer use in all Amtrak areas of the station.
Physical Distancing: Signage has been installed in high-traffic areas at Amtrak's busiest stations to indicate safe distances in high-traffic areas.
Facial Coverings: Amtrak already requires all employees and customers to wear appropriate facial coverings while inside stations and onboard trains.
Station Arrivals: Customers are advised to arrive 30 minutes prior to their departure, or 60 minutes prior if they will need ticketing and/or baggage assistance.
Boarding Policies: The Priority Boarding feature has been discontinued, ensuring that all passengers can board when they are ready and have the space to remain socially distanced throughout the boarding and seating process.
Limited Capacities: Amtrak is implementing new capacity restrictions at ClubAcela to protect customers and prevent overcrowding.
Restroom Updates: On-duty restroom attendants are on-hand to monitor and manage the number of people allowed inside the facilities at a single time, in compliance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Signage to indicate appropriate physical distancing will soon be installed in restrooms. Also, cleaning and disinfection processes are ongoing, even when restrooms are open for customer use.
Increased Staffing: At NYP, Amtrak has increased its personnel numbers, with one employee posted upstairs and another downstairs on the platform, in order to expedite boarding and minimize customers wandering around in search of the right train.