Effective June 5, Amtrak plans to eliminate the two ticket agents who serve passengers at Cincinnati Union Terminal and replace them with contract workers. Passengers who need assistance with their baggage or have ticketing questions – indeed, all travelers coming by rail through Cincinnati – will experience a highly downgraded level of service. This is the wrong direction for Amtrak and passenger rail in Cincinnati.
Why the personnel cut? Amtrak argued that passenger levels have dropped below their required threshold as the reason for eliminating the dedicated staff. Yet, this is unsurprising considering the position of the interim passenger facilities during the Cincinnati Museum Center’s $200 million renovation. Today, passengers wishing to ride from Cincinnati must board from a temporary trailer north of the terminal, which has limited parking and generally inconvenient services. On top of an inconvenient schedule and almost no advertising in the area from Amtrak, momentarily passengers are not even able to board from a real station. It is little wonder why ridership has fallen.