Boarding Acela at a station later than the one ticketed

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AudenHoggart

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We'll be traveling on Acela in February from New York to Boston. We're not sure if we'll want to board at NY Penn Station or at Stamford, CT. and we probably won't know which until a day or so before the trip.

The fare from NYP is only marginally higher than the fare from Stamford. If we buy an Acela ticket from NYP (which comes with assigned seats) but don't board until the next stop, Stamford (on the same train,) will our ticket still be honored or would it be cancelled since we hadn't boarded at NYP?

Thanks!
 

AmtrakBlue

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Is there any <major> cost difference between booking NYP-BOS and booking 2 tickets, NYP-STM and STM-BOS? That way you'd only risk losing out on the NYP-STM ticket.
 

truncated

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I suspect your ticket will be canceled if you don't board at NYP (the only stations on the Acela I know where you can board earlier/later with no issue are BOS/BBY/RTE). So the suggestion above to book separately makes sense, if the Acela isn't prohibitively expensive for NYP-STM (which it may be — I'm seeing ~$50 fares, which doesn't really make sense given how you can do the same trip on Metro-North with only one or two intermediate stops).

Alternatively (and if schedules allow) you could book STM-BOS on the Acela and take the Metro-North express NYG-STM if you're actually originating in NYC instead. The express is only marginally slower than the Acela on that stretch (stops only at Harlem/125th and sometimes Greenwich), plus you can just buy tickets day of and won't be out anything if you actually start in STM.
 

BCL

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I've used multi-ride tickets where I bookended the stations where I sometimes boarded at intermediate stations, but those were on "unreserved" trains.

As for being late, I'm not sure how that works with NYP since they have considerably tighter controls where an Amtrak employee is supposed to check every single passenger before being allowed on the platform. But normally isn't it about 2 hours before a ticket is cancelled as a no-show? I've missed my train before, and had the opportunity to cancel rather than lose everything. And another group was told that they could attempt to get a quick ride to the next station to catch up at the next station, but that might have only been possible because the next station was a restocking stop.
 
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It would be canceled and your fare would be forfeited. I would suggest just changing tickets if you decide to switch stations. Good luck!
Evidence? I believe @BCL is correct about the two hours rule. Of course, one could contact Amtrak and say they "might" miss the train and could they meet it in STM if that happened and ask if that would result in a cancellation.
 

Acela150

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It would be canceled and your fare would be forfeited. I would suggest just changing tickets if you decide to switch stations. Good luck!
Not so fast. Their is a "grace period" should someone be missed.
Evidence? I believe @BCL is correct about the two hours rule. Of course, one could contact Amtrak and say they "might" miss the train and could they meet it in STM if that happened and ask if that would result in a cancellation.

This is a fairly accurate statement. However trying to "contact Amtrak" these days is a hours long wait.

My two cents on this is pretty simple. Pick one or the other and don't wait until a couple of days before to make your decision. Simply cause these days trains are selling out, and even more so now that some trains are being cut on a temporary basis.
 

Arson451

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Your ticket would be cancelled. I did a mileage run from DC to Philly last year to guarantee select plus status and because my train into Philly was late I missed my original return back to DC. I had booked them as one ways and it was a cluster to get booked for the next Acela back to DC without being charged again.

Also, if you’re taking 1st class NYP to BOS the lounge in Moynihan is an experience that shouldn’t be missed.
 

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Not so fast. Their is a "grace period" should someone be missed.

This is a fairly accurate statement. However trying to "contact Amtrak" these days is a hours long wait.

My two cents on this is pretty simple. Pick one or the other and don't wait until a couple of days before to make your decision. Simply cause these days trains are selling out, and even more so now that some trains are being cut on a temporary basis.
Here's my penny for your thoughts (I'm even cheaper than you):

I would not call Amtrak for this kind of thing as an agent's remark might be wrong and if it were in your favor, you could never prove that to Amtrak. I would email so as to have evidence after the fact.

I don't see how "modifying" a reservation to go from a closer station that shortens the trip by one station should cost more or cause a loss of the reservation.
 

Arctifox

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I understand that it might be against the ticket rules, but out of curiosity: Is it really realistic that the ticket would be cancelled if one boards the train one stop later? What exactly triggers the cancellation of the ticket? If the conductor only sees the passenger after New Haven, that could be because of other reasons than late boarding (maybe the conductor missed the passenger before). It's not like a plane ticket were there is a clear checkpoint where the ticket is scanned?
 

BCL

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I understand that it might be against the ticket rules, but out of curiosity: Is it really realistic that the ticket would be cancelled if one boards the train one stop later? What exactly triggers the cancellation of the ticket? If the conductor only sees the passenger after New Haven, that could be because of other reasons than late boarding (maybe the conductor missed the passenger before). It's not like a plane ticket were there is a clear checkpoint where the ticket is scanned?

I've missed a train before where it was a conductor allowing all coach passengers on at one door, and it wasn't cancelled, so it's most definitely not immediate. There's supposed to be enough of a grace period for the passenger to maybe cancel or exchange before it's completely forfeited. I've heard two hours, but I can't find any official message on this. However, there may be the possibility at a station like NYP that they mark any no shows immediately after they close the gates. NYP is the only Amtrak station I've ever been to where there's that kind of passenger control, where it's a station-based employee checking tickets similar to gate agents at an airport.

The Amtrak terms only say that there's no refund for boarding at a later station, implying that the passenger might want (but can't get) the fare difference refunded back The no show policy sounds like it's immediate, but in my experience it hasn't been.

“No Show” Policy: If not canceled before the scheduled departure from the origin, the ticket is forfeited, and no funds or points can be applied toward future travel.​
*******​
Boarding Late or Leaving Early, Downgrading
No refund or exchange credit is given if a customer boards a train at a station beyond, or detrains at a station before, the station from or to which he or she was reserved, or if the customer downgrades accommodations on the train. To receive a fare adjustment the customer must change the reservation before the train departs the original boarding station of that train. This restriction will not apply if there is a service disruption. Customers who downgrade accommodations or reduce the number in their party on board trains must obtain a Refund Authorization Form from the conductor.​
 

Arctifox

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My assumption (without any idea on how the Amtrak system actually works) is that if the ticket gets scanned at any time during the trip it will be fine (if it isn't it counts as a no-show), as everything else doesn't seem to be reliable and consistent. For example, considering boarding at NYP as a checkpoint: it's not done all the time, it would miss passengers already on the train (but with separate tickets), and it would be the only (or one of few) stations where they would do that.

Would be interesting to learn how the system actually works.
 

jis

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My assumption (without any idea on how the Amtrak system actually works) is that if the ticket gets scanned at any time during the trip it will be fine (if it isn't it counts as a no-show), as everything else doesn't seem to be reliable and consistent. For example, considering boarding at NYP as a checkpoint: it's not done all the time, it would miss passengers already on the train (but with separate tickets), and it would be the only (or one of few) stations where they would do that.

Would be interesting to learn how the system actually works.
For NYP boardings, the tickets are electronically lifted/scanned on board by the Conductors. I have never seen them being lifted at the gate, though that is no guarantee that at some point that has not happened. But the general method followed is lifting on the train. In general on the NEC ticket checking is done more often on the train. Outside NEC it is highly variable.
 
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