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Amtrak bookings plunge 50%, cancellations soar

Amtrak’s bookings have plunged and cancellations have soared amid concerns about the coronavirus, and the company told its employees Wednesday to expect “significant reductions” in train service and voluntary, unpaid leave.

In an email Wednesday, Stephen Gardner, Amtrak’s senior executive vice president and chief operating and commercial officer, said bookings are down 50%, while cancellations are up 300%.

“Our ridership and revenue have declined sharply over the past few weeks, both on the Northeast Corridor and across the national network,” Gardner wrote. “These reductions have accelerated in recent days and will likely continue for some time.”

So far, Amtrak has only canceled three nonstop Acela trains on the Northeast Corridor in response to reduced demand, out of the hundreds of trains it operates nationwide each day. Gardner told employees that further cuts were coming and that those considered “non-mission critical” would be asked to take unpaid time off on a voluntary basis.

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