Amtrak Preps for Holiday w/ Safety Measures & Early Bookings

Amtrak San Joaquins continues to provide safe and reliable rail service to passengers and is taking extra steps to prepare for an expected increase in ridership around the Thanksgiving holiday. Travelers will experience enhanced safety, cleaning and physical distancing measures that have been put in place to promote public health. As part of Amtrak’s partnership with experts from the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, Amtrak San Joaquins has implemented a series of protocols including required face coverings, contactless amenities, disinfection, social distancing on board and in stations, and sophisticated air filtration.

Peak travel days are expected to be the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and the Sunday after. Amtrak San Joaquins requires reservations for riders and will be running trains at reduced capacity to ensure adequate social distancing. Therefore, Amtrak San Joaquins is advising passengers to book their tickets early and to consider modifying their travel dates to avoid November 25 and November 29.

The Amtrak San Joaquins train route travels daily between Sacramento, Oakland, Stockton, Fresno and Bakersfield, and includes a robust Thruway bus network that provides connecting service to 135 destinations in California and Nevada, including Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Napa Valley, Las Vegas and Reno.

“We are adding train cars to our service around Thanksgiving so that San Joaquins riders can travel with peace of mind while avoiding unnecessary crowds this holiday season,” said Stacey Mortensen Executive Director of the San Joaquins Joint Powers Authority. “With our enhanced safety measures and our reduced on-board capacities, we want to ensure our passengers feel a continued sense of confidence when they travel with us this holiday season.”

Amtrak San Joaquins is encouraging riders to also review the Visit California “Responsible Travel Code” for additional tips on how to plan thoughtful, safe, and respectful travel as our state reopens from COVID-19 restrictions.

Customers are strongly encouraged to plan ahead and book early to guarantee available tickets. Bookings will be limited to allow for more physical distancing in seating areas. Amtrak’s new standard of travel includes:

Face coverings: Amtrak requires all customers and employees 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 while stationary and maintaining appropriate physical distancing. Face masks can be removed onboard when customers are in their private room and the door is closed.

Station arrival: Customers are encouraged to arrive 30 minutes before departure and 60 minutes if in need of ticketing and/or baggage assistance.

Capacity indicator: When searching for travel options, customers will see a volume percentage next to each route so they can get helpful insight into which trains are less crowded. The percentage displayed is available in real-time when customers search for their train.

Amtrak app: Customers can book, board, check train status and access information from the convenience and safety of a mobile device. Amtrak encourages boarding with eTickets, which conductors scan from the Amtrak app.

Air quality: All Amtrak trains are equipped with onboard filtration systems with a 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.

Limiting bookings: We are limiting bookings on reserved 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.

Tickets are currently for sale and can be found, along with current schedules, on and through the Amtrak app.

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