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Amtrak readies conductors to trade in their hole punchers for iPhones

Billy Steele
05.07.12
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Pilots aren't the only ones updating their workflows with modern technology. Amtrak conductors have been getting schooled on how to use iPhones to scan passenger tickets on select routes since November -- forcing hole punches to collect dust on a lonely shelf at the station. By the latter part of this summer, 1,700 conductors will be using the aforementioned smartphones on the outfit's trains throughout the US which allows them to track passengers with more ease than manual ticketing. The $7.5 million system affords passengers the choice of printing the tickets or loading a bar code on their smartphone of choice before getting the iPhone's scan. Inside the dedicated app, riders can book and modify reservations easily without having to worry with a refund from an agent first. There's only one small hiccup: currently Amtrak's app is only available for iPhones. But, the government-owned corporation says that an Android release is in the hopper and should see daylight this fall. For now, non-iOS users must load their tickets though a mobile site in order to save a tree or two.

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