Departing from a different station to that ticketed

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Joined
Oct 1, 2023
Messages
88
Location
Rochford
I have had to change departure stations from the one I bought a ticket from to the next station towards my destination, the ticketed original journey was from Greenwood MS to New Orleans LA.
Now I'll board the CONO at Jackson MS through to New Orleans using the same ticket on the same date, this is in coach. The ticket is not changeable

Do I have to advise Amtrak of my different departure station or just board explaining what happened to the conductor, as after all the journey is paid for and seats are not allocated.

Is there a 'correct' procedure?

Thanks
 
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Well, the automatic cancellation for LD trains happened if the ticket wasn't scanned within 2 hours after departing the ticketed station. I understand the deadline was tighter for the NEC.

So Jackson for Greenwood is just outside the two hour window.

Technically, the advent of eticketing removed the conductor's discretion. The ticket will have been voided in the system at 2 hours and no longer valid, as would any subsequent segments, like a return, on the same reservation. Of course, in the end it is still up to conductor who rides the train and who is removed.

I have heard reports that Amtrak stopped doing the auto-cancellations, but cannot vouch for that. Personally, I wouldn't deliberately test it. If the auto-cancel practice for "no-shows" is still in place and the conductor is by-the-book you might have to buy a whole new ticket onboard or risk getting put off at Hazelhurst, MS.

Most all Amtrak tickets are modifiable, though there may be a penalty depending on the ticket type. I do not recall if the 25% penalty on "Value" tickets applies to modifications or only to cancellations. In any case, a modification will be at the current fare, not the original one. That may mean an additional charge or a refund.
 
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Thank you to you both, very helpful.

I did wonder what the penalty 'No Show' would have, I sort of understand now. Here is what is printed on the ticket -

• VLD DATE TRAIN TICKETED; NO SHOW: FORFEIT VALUE
• COACH: NO CHANGES, 25% CANCEL FEE

It's the same text on the receipt too. From the above it looks as though it's best to claim a partial refund and buy a new ticket from Jackson, that may be the simplest?

It's not Amtrak's fault I have had to change departure stations, not mine either, but it is my problem to sort out.
 
Call and ask to have the ticket modified. Chances are very good that an agent will modify the ticket without imposing a penalty. It will just be at the current fare.

Don't do a modification online, agents have more latitude.

At the very worst you'll get hit with the 25% cancellation penalty. But I honestly do not think you will, as long as you do it through an agent.
 
All done, great advice.

It was a little more complicated than I wrote here as it connected into the previous journey to Greenwood, that needed an additional ticket.

Went online to calculate the charges to cancel and re-book, total cost over 2 tickets was $9 extra and worth it for not having to explain the gory detail to customer services.

I wasn't sure how this part of the Amtrak ticketing and riding system worked, you both pointed me in the right direction for my situation, big thanks to you.
 
A recent data point - last month - as I was riding the Ethan Allen Express and a passenger was ticketed in Middlebury, missed the train and got on it Castleton. The crew identified him by name when he boarded in Castleton and there was no further discussion except some clear embassment that he had missed the train towards a travel companion who was already on the train.
 
I modified a sleeper reservation a couple months ago to move the boarding station two stops down the line. It ended up costing me a couple hundred dollars when I talked to an agent, because they had to rebook the room at the current rate, not the rate I had gotten several months earlier.

That's a little frustrating, but I certainly didn't want them to upgrade someone else if I failed to board at the original station. It would be nicer if there was a way your reservation could be honored even if you do board later, since the odds of selling the accommodation for two stops seems slim.
 
I've wondered about doing this on the Cascades... ie. board at Vancouver WA instead of Portland ~15 mins later... "Oh sorry I must have missed you scanning my ticket while I was in the toilet". Each station pretty much has a different boarding system too. Terminal stations seem to be more stringent in checking tickets versus inline stations. Then again if you are the only person boarding at a station the conductor will check your ticket on boarding. Moral of the story... use caution.
 
I've wondered about doing this on the Cascades... ie. board at Vancouver WA instead of Portland ~15 mins later... "Oh sorry I must have missed you scanning my ticket while I was in the toilet". Each station pretty much has a different boarding system too. Terminal stations seem to be more stringent in checking tickets versus inline stations. Then again if you are the only person boarding at a station the conductor will check your ticket on boarding. Moral of the story... use caution.
Does Portland still scan Coach Passenger tickets inside the Station @ a kiosk before boarding?

I haven't been there since before the Pandemic, so am curios!
 
So has the policy changed? I always heard the time was 2 hours from departure, but I can't find anything that currently states what it is. All I can find is that a **segment** will be cancelled for a no-show. But I thought that previously an entire ticket on the same reservation would be cancelled.

Passengers who “no show” or do not cancel prior to departure forfeit the entire value of their “no show” **segment**.​

I found this archived version of the same page from June 2023, and that seems to indicate what I previously assumed was that the entire ticket was gone if someone missed it.

“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.​

That being said, I've gone on "non-reserved" tickets and that was pretty easy. My scheduled time was later in the day from Anaheim, but I took alternate transportation to get to LA Union Station to ride the Surfliner.

The one time we (and another family) misheard the instructions at EMY and missed the CS, I just cancelled my entire (AGR points) trip and rebooked while taking the cancellation penalty. Tried modifying the reservation through AGR but gave up since the expected hold time was way too long. It was OK for us, but the family was going all the way to Los Angeles. I was there trying to figure out what to do with an Amtrak employee. She advised them that they could probably ride Uber and catch up to the CS in Oakland since it has a really long dwell time there.
 
In 2021, we were returning on SWC No. 3 which was running 7 hours late, causing us to miss the departure of our southbound Pacific Surfliner No. 770 train from LAX. (Our No. 770 Business Class ticket had been paid for using AGR points and did not appear on our SWC No. 3 ticket.) By the time No. 3 arrived in Fullerton, the next southbound PSL was due in about 25 minutes, so we got off there. (The SWC conductor had told us that we could use our Pacific Surfliner No. 770 Business Class ticket there and that we could even ride in Business Class if there were seats still available.) We had no problems using our PSL Business Class ticket for No. 770 to board the train in Fullerton rather than at LAX and some 5 hours after No. 770 had departed. (We even were able to find seats in the Business Class coach.)
 
In 2021, we were returning on SWC No. 3 which was running 7 hours late, causing us to miss the departure of our southbound Pacific Surfliner No. 770 train from LAX. (Our No. 770 Business Class ticket had been paid for using AGR points and did not appear on our SWC No. 3 ticket.) By the time No. 3 arrived in Fullerton, the next southbound PSL was due in about 25 minutes, so we got off there. (The SWC conductor had told us that we could use our Pacific Surfliner No. 770 Business Class ticket there and that we could even ride in Business Class if there were seats still available.) We had no problems using our PSL Business Class ticket for No. 770 to board the train in Fullerton rather than at LAX and some 5 hours after No. 770 had departed. (We even were able to find seats in the Business Class coach.)

Pacific Surfliner is a bit different in that there's frequent service. I've ridden it several times and flexibility was always there - I think technically the ability to use a coach ticket up to a year (from purchase or specified travel date I don't recall) as "unreserved". But of course business class is considered reserved and technically void if you miss the train.

I suppose in that case, conductors have a lot of discretion to allow passengers on if they feel it's the right thing to do. I've missed a stop before where a conductor wrote up a note for me to get a ride back home. I happened to use it on a reserved train without issue.

I've seen some really weird stuff too with "expired" tickets, but some were bus related. I was riding a "reserved" bus (4794) that was meeting up with the Pacific Surfliner in San Luis Obispo. But while we were in Paso Robles, there was one guy trying to board with a handful of tickets for the same route, which are all considered "reserved". He claimed that at least one of them was unused, but he didn't remember which one. The driver said he could scan them to see if they were unused and let him board if one was unused. I would have thought they would have been cancelled. Turns out they were all used previously, but it sounds like the driver had experience accepting unused tickets. In the end he let him on with the promise that he would buy a ticket ASAP when we got to SLO and present it to the driver.
 
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