September 20, 2020
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Characterizing it as an “ambitious” spending plan, Amtrak officials noted on May 28 it plans to invest $72.5 million this year to “improve the customer experience” at rail stations across its network.

Those “Customer Now” projects include everything from new door systems, lavatories, and platforms at some stations to the renovation of the Great Hall at Chicago Union Station – a $22 million endeavor at Amtrak’s fourth busiest station that included the 219-foot-long skylight that soars 115 feet above the floor of the Great Hall.

During its previous fiscal year – October 2017 to September 2018 – Amtrak said it invested $6.2 million in major improvements at 16 stations in 11 states, plus $12.8 million at 25 stations in 16 states for compliance for the Americans with Disabilities Act.

For the current fiscal year – October 2018 through September 2019 – that investment program is almost four times as large, with $21.5 million in large-scale work at 23 stations in 17 states being spent alongside $51 million at 30 locations in 18 states for ADA compliance.

“We call this initiative ‘Customer Now’ because it is about seeing our stations as our customers do and making improvements to accommodate our rising ridership,” said Richard Anderson, Amtrak’s president and CEO, in a statement. “We also want all of our stations to be welcoming to all of our customers.”

 

editor@aashto.org

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