Holiday travel hunches

Ah, Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station: inaudible announcements and the old-timey spinning tiles updating arrivals and departures.

It seems busy today. In fact, it seems really busy. Even for Christmas week.

Amtrak spokesman Steve Kulm confirms the hunch.

“Amtrak has seen increased ridership virtually for the last decade,” he says. ” And this fiscal year, the numbers are up.”

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He says there’s a variety of reasons: added service, increased marketing efforts and high gas prices.

With increased security measures at airports (body scans that render passengers nearly nude, and pat-downs that get pretty personal), maybe people would rather just take a nice, painless train ride.

Kulm isn’t sure about that hunch.

“You’d have to ask the passengers,” he says.

“You just pay for your ticket, you get on a train and you leave,” says Diava Sanders. “You don’t have to deal with the red tape.”

Sanders sits on a bench with her 7-year-old daughter, waiting for a train to Atlanta. Convenience isn’t the only reason she’s not flying.

“It makes me uncomfortable because when I see — and I saw it on the news — how they were searching little kids, I would not put my child through that,” she explains. “I don’t care — male or female — they don’t have the right to do that to any child.”

A few benches over, Eula Tutt disagrees.

“I wouldn’t care who they searched and what they searched, as long as I got to where I was going safely,” Tutt says.

People here understand why the TSA adopted new measures. People like Amber Sczuroski just want to avoid them.

“I wouldn’t be offended necessarily — I know why they’re doing it,” says Sczuroski. “Since this is an option, I’ll take this instead.

Perhaps many others will too. Call it a hunch.

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