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Coronavirus update: MTA to draw on emergency funds; Amtrak, rail agencies adjust schedules

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in revenue losses and increased expenses, MTA CEO Foye said.
Photo – CDC


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in New York City tomorrow will draw down $1 billion of emergency funds on its existing line of credit to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, MTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Patrick Foye announced yesterday.

“These emergency funds are critical as the agency encounters a fiscal cliff due to significant, sustained revenue losses and increased expenses resulting from the coronavirus pandemic,” Foye said.

MTA also is requesting more than $4 billion in federal funding, he said.

Meanwhile, several U.S. and Canadian transportation agencies announced canceled or adjusted train schedules in response to low demand and in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The following is a summary of railroads and transit agency efforts to address declining ridership caused by the pandemic:
Amtrak today reduced service on the Chicago-Milwaukee Hiawatha and Chicago-Detroit-Pontiac Wolverine routes, and suspended daily roundtrips on the Chicago-Holland-Grand Rapids Pere Marquette service. Later this week, Amtrak will further reduce service on the Chicago-Milwaukee and Chicago-Detroit-Pontiac corridors, and reduce service on the Chicago-St. Louis, Chicago-Carbondale, Chicago-Macomb-Quincy corridors.
GO Transit yesterday cancelled train service to Niagara Falls and St. Catharines on the Lakeshore West Line in Ontario, Canada. Express rush hour trips were also cancelled on the Lakeshore West and Kitchener lines. The Stouffville and Barrie lines trains will also skip select station stops.
Capitol Corridor on March 21 will reduce train frequency between Sacramento and Oakland, California. It will also close station facilities in San Jose, Martinez and Davis, reduce staffing at the Sacramento Station and suspend Cafe Car service on all trains.
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) today suspended extra commuter trains on the Yellow line between Antioch and the San Francisco International Airport. Those trains traditionally are canceled during periods of low ridership. On March 17, the first day several California counties issued stay-at-home orders, BART ridership dropped 87 percent compared to an average Tuesday in February.
Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) commuter-rail service in California has suspended Saturday service, which is operating as part of a pilot program. Ridership has been declining over the past several weeks due to coronavirus concerns.
Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit has canceled select weekday train trips and all weekend service.
Brightline in southeastern Florida yesterday began operating a reduced train schedule and closed food outlets at train stations.
Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District on March 23 will reduce service on the South Shore commuter-rail Line between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana.
Rio Metro Regional Transit District has suspended its New Mexico Rail Runner Express commuter-rail service through April 3.
Port Authority Transit Corp., which operates rail service between Philadelphia and New Jersey, reduced its weekday and weekend passenger-rail service.
Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro) in Austin, Texas, yesterday canceled Saturday and late-night Friday commuter-rail service.
Las Vegas Monorail Co. yesterday suspended monorail operations until further notice.
New Orleans Regional Transit Authority has begun operating rail streetcar service on a reduced Saturday schedule.



Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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