Port Huron train station no longer staffed

From The Port Huron Times-Herald:

Port Huron’s Amtrak station is no longer staffed starting July 1.

The station waiting area at 2223 16th St. will remain open to passengers from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily. Amtrak personnel on the train will assist passengers boarding and departing at the station.

The train leaves Port Huron at 6:20 a.m., arriving in Chicago six hours and 35 minutes later. The return trip departs Chicago about 4 p.m., arriving in Port Huron at 11:38 p.m.

Marc Magliari, Amtrak spokesman, said the changes to staffing stations throughout the country follows a trend of passengers purchasing tickets online.

“More and more passengers are not using the ticket windows for purchasing their tickets,” Mahliari said. “Overwhelmingly the majority of our tickets are sold without any human interaction.”

Tickets will not be sold at the station. Passengers can make reservations and get eTickets at Amtrak.com, by using the free mobile apps, or by calling (800) 872-7245. The eTickets can printed at home or displayed using a smartphone. Passengers can also use Amtrak’s Quik-Trak ticketing kiosk at the station.

Amtrak started offering eTickets about four years ago. In 2014, nearly 24,000 people used the Port Huron station.

Magliari said Port Huron is joining a list of un-staffed stations that includes Grand Rapids, Lapeer, Durand, Holland, New Buffalo, St. Joseph and Troy.

Stations that remain staffed include Flint, Jackson, Detroit, Dearborn, Niles, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and East Lansing.

At the end of the 2015 fiscal year, Amtrak employed 240 Michigan residents.

Magliari said he couldn’t say exactly where Port Huron’s station agent will go once the position is eliminated, but said the employee has union rights.

He said a caretaker will open and close the station and ensure it is clean and safe.

Amtrak also encourages passengers to be dropped off and picked up whenever possible at the Port Huron station, as parking is limited.

Matt Marderosian, director of Save Our Trains Michigan, said there is concern more cuts to staffing will be made along the Blue Water Line, which stretches between Port Huron and Chicago.

Marderosian said there is a demand to keep the trains running. He also believes many riders want the option of purchasing tickets onsite.

Source: http://www.thetimesherald.com/story/news/local/port-huron/2016/06/23/changes-coming-port-huron-train-station/86278374/