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March 7, 2013

Amtrak Contact: Marc Magliari
312 544.5390
Wisconsin DOT Contact: Brock Bergey
608 267.3300
Illinois DOT Contact: Paris Ervin
217 782.5025

Amtrak Hiawatha Service Multi-Ride Passengers Now Have Priority Boarding in Chicago!

Busiest Chicago Hub Corridor rewards most frequent customers

CHICAGO -- Amtrak Hiawatha Service passengers holding current monthly and ten-ride tickets now have Priority Boarding at Chicago Union Station as they travel on the Chicago-Milwaukee corridor, the busiest in the Midwest.

The route, with intermediate stops in Glenview, Ill., and in Wisconsin at Sturtevant and the Milwaukee Airport, carried nearly 839,000 passengers last year, ranking it among the top 10 Amtrak routes nationally. About a quarter of the trips were made by passengers using multi-ride tickets. Seven round-trips are operated Monday-Saturday, with six round-trips on Sundays.

Amtrak and Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) representatives rode last month with a group of regular Hiawatha Service passengers who requested Priority Boarding, among other suggestions that are also under consideration.

“These are some of our best passengers and they usually need the least assistance because they ride so frequently,” said Ray Lang, Chief, State Government Relations, one of the Amtrak officials who met with an informal group of regular passengers. “In giving priority to the monthly and ten-ride passengers, our customer service representatives and conductors can give more assistance to those less-frequent customers who often need more help.”

Amtrak operates the service under contracts with WisDOT and the Illinois Department of Transportation (Illinois DOT).

“Providing an efficient and enjoyable transportation experience is critical to the on-going success of the Hiawatha Service,” said Ron Adams, WisDOT’s Rails and Harbors Section Chief. “We look forward to adding Priority Boarding at the Milwaukee Intermodal Station in the near future.”

“We applaud Amtrak for providing this benefit to the Hiawatha Service’s most loyal customers,” said Joe Shacter, Director of Public and Intermodal Transportation at Illinois DOT. “This important corridor carried 50 percent more passengers last year than it did back in 2006 and we hope steps like this will help continue that pattern of growth.”

Uniformed military personnel will also be given Priority Boarding and can go to the head of the line for purchasing tickets at Amtrak ticket windows.

Frequent passengers can save money on their travel by purchasing monthly and ten-ride tickets at Amtrak ticket offices, including Chicago, Milwaukee and Glenview. For more information about schedules, fares and boarding procedures, visit AmtrakHiawatha.com.

Employers interested offering their workers the benefit of buying multi-ride Amtrak tickets using pre-tax funds in the Chicago area can receive more information from the LessTaxingCommute.com website operated by the Regional Transportation Authority. In addition to the Hiawatha Service, several other routes in the Amtrak Chicago Hub have multi-ride ticket options.

About Amtrak®:
Amtrak is America’s Railroad®, the nation’s intercity passenger rail service and its high-speed rail operator. A record 31.2 million passengers traveled on Amtrak in FY 2012 on more than 300 daily trains — at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kph) — that connect 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian Provinces. Amtrak operates intercity trains in partnership with 15 states and contracts with 13 commuter rail agencies to provide a variety of services. Enjoy the journey® at Amtrak.com or call 800-USA-RAIL for schedules, fares and more information. Join us on facebook.com/Amtrak and follow us at twitter.com/Amtrak.