Covid-19 impact: Amtrak to furlough 2,000 workers

3 September 2020 (Last Updated September 3rd, 2020 12:04)

US-based passenger railroad service Amtrak has decided to furlough more than 2,000 workers as travel demand has plummeted following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Covid-19 impact: Amtrak to furlough 2,000 workers
An electric Amtrak train led by an ACS-64 locomotive running through Maryland on the Northeast Corridor. Credit: Ryan Stavely via Wikipedia.

US-based passenger railroad service Amtrak has decided to furlough more than 2,000 workers as travel demand has plummeted following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company plans to furlough around 1,950 agreement team members and axe 100 management jobs in the upcoming weeks, Reuters reported citing a company statement.

Amtrak reduced other expenses to address the current crisis, but weak ridership and the slow recovery of revenue triggered the need for additional reductions, the company said.

The company notably requested the US Congress of an additional $1.475bn funding in May to maintain minimum service levels on its network and for future capital investments.

This was requested after Amtrak secured $1bn in emergency funding from Congress in April.

US House of Representatives Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio told the news agency that the panel responsible for rail issues will have a hearing on 9 September with Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn.

Also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Amtrak offers medium and long-distance intercity services in 46 US states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian provinces.

The company operates more than 300 trains daily serving over 500 destinations.

Amtrak said that it faces a 95% reduction in ridership and revenues year-on-year following the pandemic.

The company recently partnered with Lysol manufacturer RB to strengthen disinfection protocols for trains, stations and Metropolitan Lounges.

Amtrak also completed Positive Train Control (PTC) implementation across all its owned and controlled tracks last month.

The PTC system is designed to control train speeds automatically to enhance operational safety.