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Amtrak Conductors to use iPhones as Electronic Ticket Scanners

If you ask anyone about their least favorite part of transportation, a popular answer is going to be the headaches associated with buying tickets and making modifications to your travel plans. Until recently, the whole system has been full of red tape and ill-tempered customer service agents… I’m not here to say we’ve moved out of that era just yet, but Amtrak is doing it’s part by equipping train conductors with iPhones that will act as electronic ticket scanners.

It sounds like it’s in limited use at this point, with routes such as Boston-Portland and San Jose-Sacramento being in on the early days of the electronic process. Reports state that the iPhones used by the conductors are “modified,” and it sounds like getting things up and running cost Amtrak a total of about $7.5 million… Not bad when you consider the size of the transportation provider, as well as the efficiency won by scrapping the old hole-punch routine.

But along with saving time and materials for Amtrak, customers also stand to gain from the new system. If it takes off and sees further implementation, then the next time you take Amtrak, getting your ticket may be no harder than loading a special barcode on YOUR iPhone. Then, when the conductor comes by with his, the magic happens and you’re set to ride.

… Just another example of how devices like iPhones stand to revolutionize not just communication, but everything. Amtrak’s electronic tickets are currently exclusive to iOS, but Android is in the future.

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