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Yesterday, Amtrak began piloting “eTicketing” on California’s Capitol Corridor and San Joaquin routes, enabling riders to make reservations and print electronic tickets from home or the office.
Initially, the pilot program will only issue eTickets for one-way and round-trip travel on the Capitol Corridor and San Joaquin trains, Amtrak officials said in a prepared statement. This summer, Amtrak plans to add eTickete options for passengers traveling to or from connecting services, such as the California Thruway Buses.
A receipt will be e-mailed to riders with the eTicket attached as a printable document. Riders using smartphones also can present their eTicket to the conductor by simply opening the eTicket document from their email to display the barcode for scanning. Riders also may print their eTickets at Amtrak ticket offices and Quik-Trak™ kiosks.
“Amtrak’s eTicketing program makes it easier than ever to travel by train,” said Acting
Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “Whether you’re on vacation or traveling for work, Amtrak California helps you get where you need to go.”
Many of the features of Amtrak’s new onboard ticketing option were tested and developed in a pilot program the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority conducted over a two-year period, said authority Managing Director David Kutrosky.
Amtrak intends to develop its eTicketing capability in a gradual manner, officials said.
The railroad launched the eTicketing program in November 2011 on the Downeaster service, followed by the launch onboard Amtrak City of New Orleans last month. To meet this summer’s goal for a nationwide eTicketing launch, Amtrak is training 1,700 conductors.
During the transition, riders may see conductors using the eTicketing Mobile Device on trains throughout Amtrak’s national network; conductors will still collect and punch traditional paper tickets, and scanning these will allow conductors to become more familiar with the eTicketing mobile equipment.
Amtrak received recognition on the 2011 InformationWeek 500 list of top technology innovators for its introduction of eTicketing.