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Downeaster Train Service Suspended After Daily Ridership Falls To 20 Passengers

Amtrak is suspending its Downeaster service between Boston and Brunswick until at least the end of the month.

The train’s usual twice-a-day schedule had already been curtailed to just once a day. The train’s marketing director, Natalie Bogart, says that after Gov. Janet Mills issued a stay-at-home order that went into effect on April 2, daily ridership fell to just 20 passengers. Although many of those riders were commuting to work in fields such as health care that are considered essential, Bogart says train staff were confident that most were able to secure alternate means of travel.

“We have people that still need to get cancer treatments in Boston and people who need to get to and from work, and we take that job seriously,” she says. “I think it’s something they [the Board of Directors] plan to re-evaluate and hope to bring service back as soon as they possibly can.”

In January and February the Downeaster saw its best winter ridership numbers ever, with more than 40,000 trips each month.

A Columbia University graduate, Fred began his journalism career as a print reporter in Vermont, then came to Maine Public in 2001 as its political reporter, as well as serving as a host for a variety of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Television programs. Fred later went on to become news director for New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer for National Public Radio and a number of regional public radio stations, including WBUR in Boston and NHPR in New Hampshire.