The MARP Station Host program consists of a group of five dedicated volunteers who staff the East Lansing Station mornings for the departure of the westbound train. First time travelers always have questions, and the ticket and parking kiosk can be challenging for some. While we do have a new and clean station that serves Amtrak, Indian Trails, and local CATA buses, it is short on signage to direct travelers, especially for those new to train travel. We do not meet the eastbound train because most arriving passengers simply leave the station quickly and very few people board the train to travel eastbound from East Lansing.
The East Lansing Amtrak Station is on Harrison Road adjacent to the huge Michigan State University (MSU) Campus. During the sell-out travel days (MSU’s spring break, fall break, and holidays), college students make up the majority of the passengers. As young, socially mobile, and frequent travelers, they typically need very little assistance from the station hosts. However, families traveling with children and seniors are identified by the station hosts and invited to
board first so they can find seats together. Some travelers with mobility issues and those with large or heavy luggage find that boarding the cars using the step box and climbing the narrow steps is difficult. (A raised boarding platform like at Ann Arbor would be a welcome addition and especially inviting for anyone with a mobility issue.)
Our current station hosts are Honey Bentley, Jerry Becker, Joy Gleason, Dave Koval, and John Boyse. Honey Bentley is assisted by her sister Kim Baker who serves as the weekend caretaker for our station. We’re all happy to be a part of the station host volunteer program, and enjoy our mornings at the station. (MARP is very proud of these dedicated volunteer hosts.)