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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Caltrain installing ticket vending machines


California’s Caltrain plans to make ticket buying easier for its passengers by installing Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) at stations throughout its system.

"This will, we believe, increase our ticket sales and make jobs for our on-board conductors much easier," says Rita Haskin, Caltrain chief communication officer, adding that conductors would be better able to service customers.

Passengers can purchase tickets at TVMs with cash, credit or debit cards and may buy multiple tickets in a single transaction. Monthly parking permits also are available at the machines.

The TVMs were demonstrated at a few stations; system-wide installation began Aug. 24, with nine machines currently operational.

Caltrain plans to continue installing the machines, manufactured by Petaluma, Calif.-based VenTek International, at a rate of two per week, with installation complete by year-end with TVMs at every station except special-event-only Stanford Station.

During Phase I, stations from Belmont Station north to San Francisco are slated for TVM installation. During Phase II, Caltrain plans to install TVMs southward to Gilroy Station.

Installed machines are subject to low-key field tests, says Haskin, followed by "Samsonite tests."

"We send employees in to beat up the machines," she says. "We want to make sure it works and that we’re giving customers exactly what they expect."

Caltrain plans to post TVM ambassadors at stations as machines are introduced to assist passengers with proper use.

Kathi Kube

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/14/2000