Amtrak getting onboard with iPhone tickets
You just boarded the train, it’s left the station and you see the conductor coming down the aisle saying, “Tickets please.” For more than 150 years, that was the passenger’s cue to take out a printed paper ticket and for conductor to punch it with a hand-held paper punch. This age old way of doing things is going away here in the US.
Amtrak, America’s national intercity passenger service, is taking a two route pilot program and going national. To date, conductors on Boston, MA to Portland, ME and San Jose to Sacramento, CA trains have been trialing an iPhone-based ticket punching system that can scan both paper and smartphone tickets.
“You don’t even need to print the document and bring it with you,” said Matt Hardison, chief of sales distribution, Amtrak. “We’ve made a number of important improvements for both our customers and Amtrak, all in one fell swoop.”
By late Summer, all of Amtrak’s 1,700-plus conductors will be using the new system that mates an iPhone with a custom case that includes a scanner and an extended life battery pack. In addition to helping the carrier end wasteful, make-work paper tickets, iPhone-equipped conductors can better keep track of who’s on the train.
So far, Amtrak’s electronic ticket app for passengers is available for iPhone only, but an Android version is in works for an early Fall release.
Are you onboard with Amtrak’s new ticketing system?