Amtrak Keystone Service Trimmed As 4 Of 5 Passengers Stop Riding

Marlene Lang
·2 min read

HARRISBURG, PA — Beginning Jan. 4, more than a dozen Keystone Service trains will stop running on weekdays between Harrisburg and Philadelphia, as demand has dropped in the coronavirus pandemic to one-fifth of pre-pandemic levels.

"Across the entire Amtrak network, we are still seeing ridership at about 20 percent of what it normally was prior to COVID," said Amtrak communications manager Beth K. Toll today.

Amtrak also said tickets will need to be reserved ahead of time to allow for social distancing.

Amtrak made the announcement this morning in coordination with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), saying the changes are "in order to adapt to changing demand."

Effective Jan. 4, on weekdays, trains 607, 643, 609, 649,655, 619, 642, 644, 648, 656, 618, 658, and 622 are suspended and will not operate, Amtrak announced.

On weekends, trains 671, 662, and 612 are also suspended and will not operate.

The updated Keystone Service schedule includes seven weekday roundtrips operating and six roundtrips on weekends.

Three round trips will also operate through to New York each day, increasing from two.

Pennsylvanian service from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia to New York was previously fully restored in June and includes one daily roundtrip operating normally between New York, Philadelphia and
Pittsburgh.

All trains will be reserved to allow for physical distancing.

Ticketing is now available on Amtrak.com, on Amtrak mobile apps, or by calling 800-USA-RAIL. In addition to aggressive steps to disinfect stations and trains, additional Amtrak measures deliver a New Standard of Travel by including the following:
• Face Coverings: Amtrak requires all customers and employees to 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. Passengers must also maintain appropriate physical distancing while onboard and in stations. Learn more about face coverings here.

• Enhanced cleaning: Amtrak has enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols at
stations and on board our trains.

• Limiting bookings: We are limiting bookings on most 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.

• Air Quality: All trains are equipped with onboard filtration systems with 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.

Amtrak continues to evaluate practices and pilot new opportunities to support personal safety.
Visit Amtrak.com for more information about how Amtrak is maintaining a safe environment.

This article originally appeared on the West Chester Patch