BARRE – The Vermont Agency of Transportation (AOT) announced Thursday a restart date for both Amtrak passenger rail and inter-city bus services in Vermont.
After being suspended March 26, 2020, the two public transportation options will once again be available July 19. The timing partly takes into account the need for Amtrak to have a 90-day notice from the state to resume operations as personnel must complete route certification before carrying passengers.
“We are very pleased to announce the restart of these vital transportation services for Vermonters and those who wish to travel to and from Vermont by train or bus,” said Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn. “With the Governor’s announcement this week of the Vermont Forward Plan to reopen Vermont fully during the next few months, we now have a target date for when we will be able to safely resume Amtrak and transit services in July.”
The announcement comes on the heels of Gov. Phil Scott’s recently-released phased reopening plan which projects that 60-70% of all Vermonters will be vaccinated by early June, making a full reopening of the state possible by July 4 if the vaccination rate continues as expected.
Two Amtrak lines serve Vermont including the Vermonter which originates in Washington, D.C. and travels through Brattleboro before making a stop in Essex Junction – the most trafficked station in the state – and ending in St. Albans.
Amtrak also has the Ethan Allen Express which originates in New York City and makes stops in Castleton and Rutland. It’s working to extend the service to Burlington beginning in 2022 and include stops in Middlebury and Vergennes.
Inter-city bus service supported by VTrans is provided by two bus lines: VT Translines – which travels between areas from Colchester to Albany, N.Y. partly along US Route 7 – and the Amtrak Vermont Shires Connector bus service which runs from Manchester, through Bennington, and to Albany, N.Y. Greyhound will also be able to resume inter-city bus service, but it won’t be able to travel further north than Burlington until the Canadian border reopens.