Amtrak needs a bailout fast; Metro Transit cancels overnight service; S.F. transit does not alter much during lockdown

Written by RT&S Staff
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Amtrak says it needs a government bailout immediately to help deal with ridership drop during coronavirus pandemic.
Amtrak/Marc Glucksman

Amtrak and other passenger rail services say $1 billion is needed to help recover from the coronavirus pandemic sweeping through the U.S.

Last week, RT&S reported that Amtrak cancellations were down 300 percent and bookings have dropped 50 percent. Amtrak believes the reduction in ridership will continue for some time, and the passenger rail service says it needs federal aid to make up for the drop in riders and to also minimize employee and service impacts.

Meanwhile, Metro Transit in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area is cancelling overnight light rail service in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Ridership continues to decline for Metro Transit, which says the move to pause overnight service is needed so it can focus its limited resources when transit demand is high.

Metro Transit believes that 60 percent of biohazard incidents happen during the p.m. hours, and workers will be using the extra time to sanitize train cars. Metro Transit wants commuters to use light rail only during the day and early evening hours for essential trips.

San Francisco residents are now on lockdown until April 7, as Mayor London Breed said on March 16 that people could only leave their homes to meet basic needs.

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority will continue with normal service, while Caltrain will cut peak-hour service. The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) is cancelling weekend train service until April 5.

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