Amtrak passengers can now book trains based on capacity

The railroad company is helping travelers maintain social distancing during COVID-19

Amtrak is helping customers stay on track when it comes to socially distanced trips during the pandemic.

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Customers traveling with the railroad company will now be able to see which trains have the fewest number of seats booked, the company announced Thursday.

Amtrak is now letting customers book trains based on how full they are. (iStock).

Amtrak will now let customers see the percentage in real-time of how many seats are being booked when travelers search for their train on the company’s website or mobile app.

The updates, Amtrak says, are to give passengers more comfort and for social distancing when traveling during the coronavirus pandemic.

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The percentage shown features the number of seats sold based on the total number of seats on each train. Solo travelers may now also place their items on the seat next to them to take up more space, something that was prohibited before the pandemic began.

The railroad service has also implemented a number of contact-free measures on its app, including updates that alert passengers of their gate and track information with push notifications at select stations to avoid crowding.

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“Prioritizing health and safety, we continue to provide customers with new, innovative measures that promote physical distancing and contactless travel,” Amtrak President and CEO Bill Flynn said in a statement. “We have studied, analyzed and made improvements to the Amtrak travel experience – from beginning to end – for the safety and health of our workforce and travelers.”

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Public transportation experienced a major downturn at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in March and April with stay-at-home orders in place in many parts of the country and fewer employees commuting into work. And with Amtrak reporting ridership and railroad revenues down 95% year-over-year since the start of the pandemic, the railroad company had to furlough more than 2,000 employees earlier this month, Reuters reported.

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To fill more seats, Amtrak started offering promotions like buy-one-get-one-free Acela tickets, its business class train car, and Northeast Regional Trains.

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