Ticket stations are closing in both Shelby and Havre at the beginning of June. And the reason? Technology.
90% of the tickets bought through Amtrak are purchased either online or over the phone.
Last year Havre and Shelby each had over 10,000 passengers; and with 9 out of 10 passengers purchasing their ticket online, the decision, although a sad one, makes sense.
"They informed us that nine out of ten of the ticketing was either done by email or by telephone and that actually only one out of ten tickets were purchased here manually. So I can, from Amtrak’s perspective...I can see why their unmanning this station," stated Shelby Mayor Gary McDermott.
A good tip now that things are transitioning all online is to make sure you buy your ticket in advance.
If you attempt to pay the conductor once you get to the station they may not have room for you. Plus, it’s cheaper!
While this decision may make sense from a business perspective, the idea itself is nothing short of disappointing.
What ironically started out as a rumor, quickly became a horrible reality for the residents in Shelby.
A handful of jobs will be lost due to the closing of the Amtrack ticket office's, 2 of which will be in Shelby.
"Interesting and it will have an effect. You know, it's two employees that we’ll lose... potentially lose, here in Shelby. And any loss of job, you know, is significant," says Mayor Gary McDermott.
Details on future plans are still foggy and unclear.
Gary says that the ticket stations will have a “keeper” that opens the station for passengers and works to keep the facility clean.
This change is especially a shock since Amtrak just poured money into both stations for upgrades and improvements.
If there's any good news, it's that both stations will remain open and continue to operate. The only difference is how you buy your tickets.