Amtrak Adding iPhone Ticket Service, Equipping Conductors With iPhones

Amtrak, which apparently still exists, is catching up in the smartphones and travel realm by allowing passengers to manage a significant portion of their trip via iPhone and equipping conductors with the ubiquitous devices to scan tickets as well as report issues aboard Amtrak trains, such as broken restrooms.

Amtrak has struggled in recent decades to remain relevant, with the accessibility of air travel and a preference for cars leaving the rail service only a core group of dedicated riders, such as people who are afraid to fly. Coupled with declining rider rates, the rail service also has been slower to catch up with user-friendly technology.

Slowly but surely, the government-owned rail service is catching up with other modes of travel by enabling users to manage their Amtrak travel itinerary with iPhones and eventually other smartphones, and is in the process of implementing more technology-friendly services for connected users who wish to avail themselves of on-the-go planning and ticketing.

Matt Hardison is chief of sales distribution at Amtrak, and he talked about the new iPhone services planned for Amtrak to the New York Times. Hardison, who helped plan the iPhone program, explains to the Travel section:

“You don’t even need to print the document and bring it with you. We’ve made a number of important improvements for both our customers and Amtrak, all in one fell swoop.”

Previously, Amtrak users who purchased tickets at home were required to print their documentation, and tickets in general had to be punched, collected and sent to a central location for scanning.

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