As the situation with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve, the Los Angeles – San Diego – San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor Agency, which oversees the Amtrak® Pacific Surfliner® service, is working closely with Amtrak to respond to changes in demand and public health conditions.
As Californians follow a statewide executive order to stay-at-home, ridership on the Pacific Surfliner has seen an unprecedented decline, settling at about five percent of the normal numbers. Individuals who do not need to travel are asked to stay home.
“The safety and wellbeing of our passengers and crews will always be our highest priority,” said Al Murray, chairman of the LOSSAN Agency. “In this crucial time, we understand the important role the Pacific Surfliner plays in the lives of the communities we serve, and we remain dedicated to preserving a core level of service for those who must travel.”
Adjustments have been made to train schedules, and additional practices have been implemented to keep passengers and employees safe. This includes the following:
- Modified Service: A core level of service continues to serve those who need to travel for essential reasons. Trains are operating on a temporary reduced schedule, and adjustments have been made to some station facilities and onboard amenities.
- Safety Measures: A number of practices are in place to maintain a safe environment onboard trains and at stations. Amtrak has increased the frequency of cleaning service on all trains and at stations to multiple times a day, and in some cases, on an hourly basis. Customers are encouraged to wear facial coverings and observe a minimum of six feet of distance while at stations and onboard the train.
- Flexible Ticketing: Unreserved Coach tickets can be saved and used at a later date (up to one year from the date listed on the ticket) and Business Class reservations can be modified online at amtrak.com or by phone at 800-USA-RAIL.
It is not known when the Pacific Surfliner will resume full service, as that depends on when the public health crisis subsides and the stay-at-home order has ended. The LOSSAN Agency and Amtrak are planning ahead to ensure a smooth return to the robust service that travelers rely on. Recent updates include:
- Funding: Amtrak has officially received $1 billion in funding from the CARES Act. The funding package includes a minimum of $239 million to be used specifically for Amtrak’s state-supported routes, including the Pacific Surfliner.
- Proactive Equipment Maintenance: With fewer trains needed to operate the Pacific Surfliner service, Amtrak crews are fast-tracking important maintenance projects that will improve reliability and comfort of the trains.