Amtrak’s ticketing was a paper-based process left over from the early days of train travel, complete with ticket punch and a ticket pouch that had to be sent to a central location for processing. It was time-consuming, error-prone and inconvenient. The process required passengers to acquire paper tickets from an agent or kiosk at the train station, even though more than half of Amtrak stations are not staffed. Making last-minute reservations was difficult. In addition, without real-time communication between train conductors and back-end offices, key business information, such as revenue realization, seat availability and train maintenance needs, could be delayed. To deal with the unique challenges of rail travel, Amtrak needed a mobile solution.
As it looked to make the move to eTicketing, Amtrak chose AT&T to provide an integrated, end-to-end solution that included a mobile applications development platform, devices, wireless networking and mobile device management. The solution puts specially-equipped smartphones into conductors hands that connect to back-office reservation and accounting systems. Onboard ticket lift now requires just a simple scan, and customers have new, more flexible self-service ticketing capabilities. For Amtrak, access to real-time information improves onboard operations, safety, inventory management, revenue realization and workflow.
Enjoy the Journey
Rail travel is a foundation of modern America. Introduced in the 1800’s, trains were the first mode of transportation to connect the entire country. “Rail has such a rich legacy and history,” said Robin McDonough, Amtrak Chief of Business Operations. “It brings a nostalgic feeling when people get on a train.” Rail remains a convenient, reliable and economical way to reach the office or the other side of the country. From the Empire Builder that crosses the Rockies to the high speed Acela service that links East Coast population centers, Amtrak operates routes across the U.S.