BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Air travel isn’t the only form of transportation seeing major drops in ridership amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Nationwide, Amtrak ridership is down 95 percent. Baltimore’s Penn Station has also seen a major drop in traffic.

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“It looks like a ghost town to me,” said Mary Delina Jones, who boarded a train Tuesday to Charlotte, North Carolina.


If the station were the heart of the city where it’s located, it’s pumping, but slowly.

Cabbies like Shazad Khan call it dead.

“Like dead. Not slow, but dead,” he said.

Trains are still running, though, and people like Albert Barnes still rely on the service to get to work.

“It makes for a quiet commute, but it also sends a message that people aren’t working,” Barnes, who works in Washington, D.C., said.

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Anthony Hice, a Xerox technician in the nation’s capital, also relies on Amtrak for his daily commute.

“There’s not that many people riding, so in some cases, you might have the whole car to yourself,” he said.

Hice is considered an essential employee so he continues to make the trek into DC each day.

“Some people are able to work from home,” he said,” but my job — I’m hands-on, so I need to be there.”

Thanks to the pandemic, the nation’s eighth-busiest train station looks nothing like it. More than a dozen MARC trains out of Penn Station are suspended until further notice due to the pandemic.

“It’s just going to be shocking because I never imagined it could be so empty,” Jones said.

The remaining passengers are now required to wear masks. Amtrak employees systemwide are also now wearing masks.

Hice said he’s not scared to travel now but he will be once trains start to get crowded again.

“If we’re not ready to go back, as far as the circumstances, of course I’m going to be afraid because we’re back to the norm –back to all the people, back to the crowds,” he said.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Paul Gessler