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April 14, 2020

Amtrak Teams with Transportation Partners Across the Country to #SoundTheHorn to Honor All Essential Workers

Coalition of transportation agencies join in solidarity to honor heroic workers across the country by giving two horn blasts at 3:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 16

NEW YORK – Amtrak is collaborating with transportation partners nationwide to honor all of the heroic transportation and other essential workers across the country with the #SoundTheHorn campaign – a coordinated effort to simultaneously sound vehicle horns at 3:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 16.

Partners supporting the cause throughout the country include the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, NJ TRANSIT, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in the Northeast, SEPTA, Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation and the Maryland Transit Administration in the Mid-Atlantic region, MBTA in New England, Memphis Area Transit Authority in the South, Metra, PaceBus, St. Louis Metro Transit, Detroit Department of Transportation and NICTD in the Midwest, Tri-Met Portland in the Pacific Northwest, Denver Regional Transportation District in the West, and Metrolink and AC Transit on the West Coast.

As a tribute to the essential workers on the front lines of this public health crisis, including transportation workers, every Amtrak train in service across the country, and several thousand trains and buses running in service nationwide, will give two one-second horn blasts in solidarity with partner agencies. Heroic transportation workers continue to provide critical service for heroic healthcare workers, first responders, childcare workers, grocery store employees and other heroes who are performing critically essential work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Every hero deserves to be recognized and thanked for their courage, selflessness and the help they are providing to this country during this time,” said Amtrak Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating and Commercial Officer Stephen Gardner. “We are proud to participate with our partners and ‘sound our horns’ by honoring and thanking all of the heroes across the nation who continue their essential and heroic service.”


“Our employees are heroes,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye. “They are courageously coming to work each day to perform their essential duties, which are critically important to this region during the pandemic. We hope this action will draw attention to their efforts and help further our employees’ spirit of solidarity with all New Yorkers.”  

“Our region’s frontline transit employees deserve all the thanks and recognition we can give them right now,” said NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin Corbett. “This effort is a small yet powerful way for us to show our appreciation for the brave, selfless transit workers who continue to show up every day, under some of the most challenging conditions any of us have ever seen. They are moving essential personnel like hospital workers, first responders, and others who are literally working to save lives. By extension, these frontline transit employees are also helping to save lives and are performing a vital public service.”

“The essential workers who operate and maintain our transportation systems are committed to keeping the region’s first responders, healthcare workers, grocery and delivery workers, and all other essential workers moving to where they need to go safely, reliably, and efficiently,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “The Port Authority is proud to join our transportation partners in honoring the heroes moving heroes.”

“The Staten Island Ferry is honored to help transport these Heroes between Manhattan and Staten Island and to #SoundTheHorn on Thursday along with our regional partners,” said New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “While ridership is down nearly 90 percent and Ferry personnel ranks have been reduced by COVID-19 our employees remain dedicated to providing this critical transportation service for our essential workers as we all confront these challenges. I thank all the region’s transportation workers for their incredible commitment and service.” 

“I’m tremendously grateful for our NYC Ferry employees and all other transit staff showing up for work every day to get essential workers where they need to be,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “Today, as we sound our horns around the harbor, I hope everyone can take a moment to recognize the heroes providing critical transportation service for so many.

“NY Waterway honors all those who put themselves at risk, medical personnel, first responders, workers in all fields, and the transportation employees, including our ferry crews, who create the links that bind us in these challenging times.  We urge everyone to pray for their safety,” said NY Waterway Founder & President Arthur E. Imperatore.

Connecticut Transportation Commissioner Joseph Giuletti said: “Connecticut is pleased to participate in this action. It is a fitting way to acknowledge the selfless, heroic efforts our employees are making every day throughout this pandemic that ensures we can continue to provide our essential bus and rail service.” 


“Our frontline employees are performing heroic feats every single day that they report to work,” said SEPTA General Manager Leslie S. Richards. “Transportation workers make it possible for people in our city and region to continue to have access to life-sustaining services during this unprecedented public health crisis. We urge our riders and everyone throughout the SEPTA service region to take a moment to honor them when our buses, trolleys and trains ‘sound the horn’ to recognize their tremendous efforts.”

“In these challenging times, showing appreciation for the frontline workers who operate and maintain our transportation systems is paramount,” said Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation Director Jennifer Mitchell. “We are proud to partner with public transit  and mobility agencies, freight railroads, and Amtrak –  in Virginia and across the country – to honor our transportation heroes.  These men and women continue to put their lives on the line to ensure critical employees are able to get to work, and our communities continue to have access to food, supplies and medication.” 

New England

“As this crisis continues, transit employees continue to play an essential role in combating the spread of COVID-19 and this is an opportunity to thanks all transit personnel, especially the MBTA’s workforce for providing critical transportation services to employees in hospitals, pharmacies, grocery stores, and other essential industries,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak.  “To our MBTA employees and other transit workers throughout the country, this is an expression of our deepest gratitude to you for your service.  You are essential people moving essential people, deserving of our recognition, support, and thanks.  We proudly support the #SoundTheHorn campaign.”


“We are proud of and grateful to all Metra employees who have been working in the public eye and behind the scenes to make sure that other essential workers have reliable transportation during this public health crisis,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “The healthcare workers, first responders, grocery store employees, childcare workers and all others who are showing up each and every day to do their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic are heroes. Their commitment is extraordinary, and they all deserve our recognition. We hope that this effort draws even more attention to the importance of the work they do.”

“Thank you does not begin to express our gratitude for the essential employees who are working selflessly every day to provide the crucial services our communities rely on,” said Pace Executive Director Rocky Donahue. “I’m humbled by our operators, mechanics, call-takers, and everyone else who shows up every day to keep us going through this crisis.”

“We are extremely proud of our team and crews. Without hesitation, our SSL team has stepped up to the challenge to continue to provide transportation for essential employees that need to get to their jobs. In many cases, this has been healthcare workers trying to get to Chicago hospitals to help fight this COVID-19 crisis.” said Michael Noland, President of South Shore Line. “The selflessness I have witnessed both in our team and with others has been humbling. We truly are all in this together, and we hope that the Sound The Horn initiative will help boost the morale of transportation workers, other essential workers and our local citizens as well. It is nice to know that even when you are isolated, you aren’t alone.”

“DDOT is grateful to serve our essential passengers and frontline employees. The daily work we do is more significant during this unprecedented time,” said Interim Director of the Detroit Department of Transportation, Angelica Jones. “We sound our horns today in observance for their exceptional hard work and dedication. Thank you to all frontline workers.”

“Our transit operators and team members have been courageous throughout the COVID-19 crisis, and continue to provide critical transportation for health care workers, first responders, childcare, nursing home and grocery store employees, and other heroes performing essential work during this pandemic,” said Jessica Mefford-Miller, Executive Director of Metro Transit. “They are our heroes. They are here hard at work and serving the bi-State St. Louis community when the people of our region need them the most.”

Pacific Northweest

“I’m grateful for this opportunity to recognize and thank essential employees working throughout Oregon’s transportation system,” said ODOT Director Kris Strickler. “These individuals are on the front-line, providing critical services to help us get through the COVID-19 challenges. By joining with others across the country in this campaign, we’re making our message loud and clear: ‘We couldn’t do it without you.’”

“Here in Portland, we say TriMet is ‘How Life Moves’,” said TriMet General Manager Doug Kelsey. “Our operators, supervisors, and other front line staff are our heroes, out there day in and day out serving other heroes during this world-altering time in our history. They have kept our community moving during the biggest crisis of modern day, getting doctors and nurses to hospitals, and other essential workers to their jobs. I’m proud of their dedication and thank them and their counterparts around the country for their courage and commitment.”

West Coast

“The San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (SJJPA) and Amtrak San Joaquins staff are committed to continuing to provide essential transportation for Californians and to #SoundTheHorn on Thursday along with our regional partners,” said SJJPA Executive Director Stacey Mortensen. “While we continue to navigate this challenging environment, we understand that services like the San Joaquins continue to provide connectivity to many Californians including essential workers and others in need of alternative transportation options. We thank all the region’s transportation workers for their incredible commitment and service.” 

“We are grateful for the onboard crew and all other transit staff who come to work each day to perform essential duties,” said Al Murray, chairman of the Los Angeles–San Diego–San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor Agency, which oversees the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner service. “These people work to move essential personnel including our region’s hospital workers and first responders, and we commend their tireless efforts to provide this vital public service.”

“We are incredibly grateful to all of the frontline staff who continue to serve those passengers who rely on our service every day,” said Managing Director of the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority, Rob Padgette. “Without the vital work they do on board our trains, at stations, and in the maintenance yards, we would not be able to provide the core level of service needed for essential workers to travel within Northern California.”

“AC Transit’s hero’s neither wears a cape nor costume,” said General Manager, Michael Hursh. “Instead, our hero’s suit up in personal protective equipment, each day, to ensure that the most vulnerable in our communities continue to have access to life essentials: doctors, groceries, and paychecks. We now know, our Bus Operators, Mechanics, Service Employees, and Road Supervisors are helping local healthcare workers arrive at treating facilities to battle COVID-19. We are witnessing American courage and bravery personified, so #SoundTheHorn is the least we can collectively do to honor the quiet daily heroism of transit professionals.”

“I am so thankful to the essential workers, including our own, that are dedicated during these challenging times to keep our communities functioning,” said Metrolink CEO Stephanie Wiggins. “We are blowing our horns to observe their service as we help those who are helping others by getting them to work and the places they need to go. At the same time, we support the message of health and government officials to the community: If you can stay home, please do. If you need transportation for an essential function, Metrolink is here.”

Anyone who sees or hears trains, buses or ferries sounding their horns at 3 p.m. on Thursday is encouraged to use the #SoundTheHorn hashtag to post audio and video and tag the agency on the platform of their choice. 

For More Information

Jason Abrams
Amtrak Contact
202 906.3860

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