OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Amtrak will discontinue service on most of the long-haul routes across the country up to three times a week later this year instead of the current daily service, as ridership has fallen significantly during the coronavirus pandemic.
Amtrak spokeswoman Kimberly Woods said on Wednesday that the cuts will take effect on October 1 and will last until at least the summer of 2021, but daily service could be restored as demand on long-haul routes improves.
Jim Mathews, president and chief executive of the Rail Passengers Association advocacy organization, said he thinks the cuts are shortsighted and will hurt long-term demand for these routes.
“Long-haul services fell the least among Amtrak’s three businesses during the delay caused by the coronavirus, and their services remain vital to the hundreds of small communities in the United States with fewer options than Philadelphia or Boston or New York City,” Mathews said.
The train routes shortened to three days a week include the California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder, Lake Shore Limited, Palmetto, Southwest Chief, and Texas Eagle. The Sunset Limited and Cardinal trains run three times a week.
Amtrak said his car train, which runs from the suburbs of Washington, D.C. to the Orlando, Florida area, is the only long-distance route that will continue to run daily.
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