By Wakisha Bailey

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Amtrak has reduced service along the Northeast Corridor, directly impacting travelers to and from the Philadelphia area. The high-speed railway is the latest to join a list of companies making significant cutbacks due to COVID-related staffing shortages.

“It’s not surprising knowing what’s going on economically right now,” traveler Austin Broussard said. “But it’s unfortunate being as though it limits people’s mobility or access to families jobs or things they might like to do.”

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Amtrak cut back 10% of their services starting Monday morning. This will impact close to a dozen trains that operate through the Philadelphia 30th station, impacting thousands of travelers.

“I feel like it’s almost predictable, but just because it’s predictable  — it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fix it,” frequent rider Alex Small said, adding, “I come from New York to Philadelphia to see my family all the time. I love Amtrak, it’s much easier than a lot of other services, so for it to be cut short, it would be tough.”

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Also impacted are long-distance services to Florida and Chicago from Philadelphia. Over the past two years, the company has experienced low ridership and now they must tackle a new challenge staffing.

Amtrak tells Eyewitness News while 97% of their employees have been vaccinated, their conductors and mechanics have been hit the hardest by the Omicron variant. That makes it difficult to keep these trains on track.

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“But companies are going to have to make decisions that are difficult,” Broussard said. “I hope they are able to restore that access and increase some point soon.”

Wakisha Bailey