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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Amtrak adds credit-card capability to automated phone system


Purchasing tickets over the phone has become easier for Amtrak passengers. The national passenger railroad’s automated-speech reservation line now accepts credit-card transactions.

In April, SpeechWorks International Inc. programmed the railroad’s 1-800-USA-RAIL reservation line, and Amtrak since has handled more than $2 million in credit-card transactions — about 75 percent of automated-speech system users who purchase tickets now do so by credit card, according to a prepared statement.

After customers voice their zip code, credit-card type and number, and expiration date, Amtrak processes their ticket, which is available for pick up at a station.

Known as Julie, Amtrak’s automated system also provides information on train status, schedules, fares and reservations. Since its 2001 implementation, the system has saved the railroad $13 million.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/18/2003