Amtrak says it won’t reimburse Metra riders for the blunder that shut down Union Station Feb. 28, causing chaos for an estimated 100,000 commuters and Amtrak passengers.
Even though Amtrak “deeply regrets this mistake and its consequences” and takes responsibility for the screwup — saying it was “human error” caused by a technician installing equipment — it’s tough luck for Metra riders. Some of them were reportedly facing tabs of as much as $125 by Uber and Lyft for rides home.
That’s what Amtrak told U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Railroads, in a letter this week. Lipinski says he is “extremely disappointed” with Amtrak’s explanation for the major service breakdown at the station and Amtrak’s response.
“It’s wrong that Amtrak has decided they will not compensate stranded commuters who were forced to spend money out of pocket to get home,” Lipinski said in a statement. The congressman said that Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson had told him personally that that Amtrak would consider compensation because the railroad has a reimbursement policy for its own passengers.
“Compensating passengers for Amtrak’s preventable error would be a good way of showing leadership and accountability and would also serve as an incentive to avoid future failures,” Lipinski said.
Lipinski’s office released the letter from Stephen Gardner, Amtrak’s vice president for marketing, in response to a series of questions the congressman posed about the incident. The signal problem…