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Courtney Secures Commitment from AMTRAK to Resume Shoreline East Cross-Ticketing by September

July 19, 2021
Press Release

NORWICH, CT—This morning, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) announced that the cross-honoring of Shore Line East (SLE) monthly pass and multi-ride tickets onboard certain Amtrak trains is set to resume in the coming weeks. Courtney has pressed Amtrak officials for updates on how they are working to resume the pre-pandemic practice of cross-honoring of tickets, emphasizing the importance it presents to the region’s strong economic recovery. In a response to Rep. Courtney’s recent letter, Amtrak President Stephen Gardner stated that their goal is to complete any necessary revisions to their arrangement with SLE in light of COVID-19, and to resume the cross-honoring of tickets by “no later than September.” To read the letter, click here.

Rep. Courtney’s office has heard from SLE riders in eastern Connecticut who were negatively impacted by Amtrak’s decision during COVID-19 to stop cross-honoring SLE passes. SLE rail service operates in Connecticut’s Northeast Corridor along with Amtrak trains, and historically SLE monthly pass and multi-ride ticketholders have been able to use their passes on certain Amtrak trains to fill in service gaps and get to work on time. One resident from New London, CT wrote to Rep. Courtney urging him to compel Amtrak to “honor our multi-ride tickets so we really can make plans to return to work”.

“This is good news for the many, many workers in eastern Connecticut who rely on both Shore Line East and Amtrak trains to get to work every day—and we’ve heard from a lot of them,” said Rep. Courtney. “Our economic recovery is going strong, and we need entities like Amtrak to put American Rescue Plan funding to good use so that we can come back even stronger. Using federal relief funding to get back to honoring Shore Line East tickets on regional Acela trains is a big part of that. My office has spoken directly with lots of workers in our region who told us they want to get back to work, but the lack of trains and SLE cross-ticketing were making the logistics impossible. For them and for our local businesses who rely on them, this is another important step forward.”

In a June 23, 2021 letter to Amtrak President Steven Gardner and CEO William Flynn, Courtney stated that the continued failure to cross-honor SLE tickets was “unacceptable,” and noted that resumption of full service to the Northeast Corridor in Connecticut and the cross-honoring of SLE tickets would aid in the region’s strong economic recovery, and demonstrate that Amtrak was putting COVID-19 relief funds to good use.

“The continued refusal of Amtrak to cross honor any Shore Line East tickets is unacceptable, particularly given the emergency COVID funding Congress provided in [2020]. I understand that Amtrak is also struggling with reduced passenger volume and decreased service. However, I strongly believe that if Amtrak trains have the capacity to take Shore Line East passengers, Amtrak should cross-honor those multi-ride tickets and allow passengers to ride to their destination. My constituents have contacted me with significant concerns about how they will go back into work without additional transit opportunities. Many employers have requested that workers come back in person, yet transit opportunities are still lacking. Refusal to cross-honor Shore Line East passes has exacerbated this problem.

“[…] Given our shared support of increasing ridership, helping our economy to recover, and keeping cars off of busy interstates, I believe that a resolution here will be a significant victory for our State, region, and country, and will demonstrate to the public that COVID-19 relief funds from the federal government are being put to good use.”

Click here to read Rep. Courtney’s letter to Amtrak.

Click here to read Amtrak’s response to Rep. Courtney.

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