Amtrak furloughing 2,000 workers amid drop in travel

Amtrak furloughing 2,000 workers amid drop in travel
© Greg Nash

Amtrak is set to cut just over 2,000 employees amid the decline in travel due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The railroad system will furlough about 1,950 agreement team members and approximately 100 management positions will be involuntary separated over the coming weeks, a spokesperson told The Hill on Wednesday.

Amtrak conducted a review of its fiscal 2021 operating plan and planned service levels for next year.

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“Based on this review, we have identified our staffing needs for next year. While we have implemented initiatives to minimize the number of furloughs and involuntary separations, significant reductions remain necessary due to the slow recovery of ridership and revenue,” the spokesperson said.

Amtrak received more than $1 billion in aid from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which Congress passed in March. At the time, ridership was down by 90 percent and the system was continuing operations with reduced routes.

The railway company called on Congress to provide nearly $1.5 billion in additional funding in May. It expects ridership to only return to about 50 percent in fiscal 2021.

The news follows announcements from airlines about thousands of furloughs that are expected to take place on Oct. 1 when federal aid to the industry expires.

United Airlines plans to cut 16,370 employees and American Airlines plans to cut 19,000 employees.