MARSHALL, TX (KSLA) - Despite the efforts of hundreds of people to save one person's job, the Amtrak train station in Marshall, Texas no longer has a customer service representative.
At a Friday afternoon news conference, Marshall Depot Board members explained why that's so important in their city and the area.
The Marshall Depot is not alone in losing its customer service representative. So too did 14 other Amtrak stations, including the one in Texarkana, Arkansas.
"It's a way to get to the doctor in Dallas," explained board member Christina Anderson. "It's a way to get to, it's not just, it's just not an alternate. It is for some people it's the way they have transportation."
Amtrak customers who require full customer service must now travel 23 miles farther west to Longview, Texas.
Some longtime Amtrak customers like Dr. Bernard Clayton, a professor at nearby Wiley College, say they won't feel as safe with no ticketing agent here.
"I'm going to be afraid, maybe to leave the car because I don't think it's going to be as safe to leave it for a period of time."
Amtrak cites the surge in online ticket sales for the staff reduction, with fewer than 5 in 100 tickets nationally sold at ticket counters. No one will be able to buy a train ticket at the Marshall Depot at least until an Amtrak ticket kiosk arrives in the next month.
And Marshall Depot board members say their appeals to Amtrak aren't over just yet.
"It's final as of this time," stated board member Richard M. Anderson. "But the petitions are still pending. We're still talking to congressional representatives."
No ticketing agent also means no unaccompanied minors getting off in Marshall, a big disappointment for city commissioner and grandmother Gail Beil.
"And Noah comes to Marshall every month and now he can't," Beil said.