Jan 9, 2023 - News

Union Station increases security after pandemic decline

Inside Union Station

There's a series of changes at the train station. Photo: Pedro Ugarte/AFP via Getty Images

Union Station has beefed up security with more patrols and a cadre of burgundy-jacket-clad passenger “ambassadors” meant to serve as an extra set of eyes.

Why it matters: The steps are part of an effort to spruce up the front door to D.C., which has lost stores and seen crime rise.

What’s happening: There’s a new regime at the helm. Matt Barry, a former executive at Tysons Corner Center, recently became Union Station’s new general manager. He sees his top job as improving customer service and bringing more events to make use of the historic space.

Zoom in: The new ambassadors are modeled after programs in other transit hubs. They help direct passengers in the great hall and connect with security when issues arise.

“They are part of our security program … but they’re a softer touch on the floor as a customer service,” Barry tells Axios.

👀 Meanwhile, security staff is working 85% more hours since August, Barry adds.

The big picture: Foot traffic at Union Station hasn’t hit pre-pandemic levels, but it is increasing — up 177% last year compared to 2021, Barry says.

What’s next: On the retail front, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers is opening soon, and three restaurants (Dunkin’ Donuts, Wendy’s, and Jersey Mike’s) recently reopened after closing for part of the pandemic.


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