SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - The expansion of a few Amtrak partnerships could be connecting the Coast with more travel opportunities. This may be welcomed news to many coastal travelers who haven't been able to use the rail system since Hurricane Katrina.
The rail giant is growing its relationship with several bus lines across the Coast. Greyhound bus lines will now be able to connect passengers with Amtrak stations throughout the region. Several people who use Greyhound buses on a regular basis think this is a step in the right direction.
"You can just relax. As you can see, I've got my laptop. It takes longer, but you don't have to drive," said Tim Quail.
Quail is heading back home to Virginia. He prefers getting on a bus for the long drive to the Coast, but if a rail option were available, he would hop on board in a heartbeat.
"A whole different ball game as far as riding. I like riding the train," said Quail.
That could be easier with Amtrak's newest development. The train company is expanding its partnership with Greyhound and Capital Trailways. This will provide bus transportation to and from the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and Amtrack stations in Jackson, Tuscaloosa and New Orleans.
"I think that's going to be a very good thing," said Marcus Brown.
Brown is from New Orleans and remembers the train system being alive and well in the area before Hurricane Katrina. Now, he sees how much transportation has changed.
"Everything had to process through the bus station, Greyhound. I think that's pretty good, though, for right now. Until things build back up," said Brown.
His hope is that Amtrak will eventually service the area again. He says it won't just help with travel options.
"That will be more jobs for some people who's interested in Amtrak," said Brown.
Amtrak released a statement saying the company is analyzing its national network to find more opportunities similar to this. The hope is to increase ridership and provide additional inter-city travel options for more communities.