How do E-tickets work?

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Garethe7

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This is new to me. I understand it with airlines, but how does it work with Amtrak? And why wouldn't it be replaceable if lost like the airlines do? One of the conveniences associated with it and something I like even though I'm not one to lose things. With no features it's just another type of old-fashioned ticket with nothing special about it, right?
 

PRR 60

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This is new to me. I understand it with airlines, but how does it work with Amtrak? And why wouldn't it be replaceable if lost like the airlines do? One of the conveniences associated with it and something I like even though I'm not one to lose things. With no features it's just another type of old-fashioned ticket with nothing special about it, right?
No, it is replaceable.

Once you make a reservation, you get an e-ticket PDF by e-mail. It is similar to an airline boarding pass. You can print it as many times as you would like at home or at a hotel or wherever, print a copy from an Amtrak kiosk at the station, or have a station agent print one for you. It you lose it, just print another. You can also store it on your smartphone and simply use the display. On board, the conductor will scan your e-ticket (paper or off your phone), validate it, and that's it. At that point your e-ticket is marked as used and further scans will not work.

One major difference between an Amtrak e-ticket and an airline boarding pass is that Amtrak's version can cover all the passengers and all the trips on your reservation. If two are traveling on the same reservation, and the trip includes two trains, one e-ticket will be used for both passengers and both trains.
 
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John Bobinyec

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After making a reservation for a trip, when you board a train all you need to do is identify yourself. The conductor will look up your name in the manifest and you're good. To help speed up this identification process, you can print out your own "boarding pass" with a computer code on it. The conductor can scan this computer code to verify your reservation, instead of asking for your name. This "boarding pass" can be printed out by you, a ticket agent or a QuickTrak machine. These "boarding passes" are the e-tickets. Additionally, you can display the computer code on your smart phone, and the conductor can scan that.

If you lose your e-ticket, you can have another printed out, give your name to the conductor or present the computer code on your smart phone.

jb
 

the_traveler

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E-Ticketing on Amtrak is very easy! All you need is the QR code that is sent to you in the email from Amtrak. You can either print that out, and the conductor scans it, or you can even put it on your smartphone and the conductor can scan the screen. (S)he can also input your name into his/her scanner (kind of like a modified iPhone) and pull up your reservation that way.

If you have an "old fashioned" paper ticket, no problem. After scanning it, the conductor just pulls the ticket, just like the old days. If you really want a paper ticket, you can still get one printed at a QT machine or from a ticket agent. In the place where the fare usually is, it will state "This e-ticket has no value". That means you could reprint it again should you lose it.

I for one am very happy with e-ticketing!
 

SarahZ

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When you bring up your QR code on your phone, make sure the brightness is set to the highest setting. Also, hold the phone perpendicular to the floor. Most people hold it facing up, like they do when using it, and the overhead lights reflect off the screen. It's easier for the conductors to scan it if it's straight up and down.
 

bgiaquin

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I have seen the conductors scan tickets with their iPhones I think that is really cool that they can do that.
 

amtkstn

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It is one of the best things Amtrak has done in history. No more having to carry a Handfull of paper tickets for multi train trip.
 

OlympianHiawatha

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I have wondered if you lose a copy in a public place such as while traveling if you should call Amtrak and have them recode it for you. I don't think anyone would be stupid enough to try and redeem a found E-ticket but then again you never know.....
 

Garethe7

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Wonderful, I stand corrected. And glad it's replaceable, I wondered what the "ticket has no value" statement meant.
 

Acela150

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Wonderful, I stand corrected. And glad it's replaceable, I wondered what the "ticket has no value" statement meant.
Paper tickets are the ticket you need to hold for your entire trip. The conductor will punch it and scan it. Then it goes to a ticket collection in El Paso.

Say you pay $100 for a trip from say Norfolk, VA to Richmond, VA via Newport News. The bus trip makes the trip non-eTicketable.. (Is that the right way to say it?) So in that case your issued tickets that are paper and if you lose those tickets you have to pay another say $150 cause the price went up on the train. If you lose your paper ticket(s) you have to make a new reservation. Which would suck.

eTickets makes tickets "Pricefree" meaning if you lose the ticket you can print a new of your computer or at a Quik Trak machine. For instance, I'm currently on train 2167. I printed an eTicket at home and when I got to the station today I printed another one. Not because I lost it, but I keep record of trains with tickets.

eTickets also help Amtrak get "paid" quicker. I never understood that until a very nice conductor explained that to me. So when the eTicket is scanned Amtrak gets the money from the fare! :)

Hope this helps a little. If not we are all here to help! :)
 

PRR 60

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...

eTickets also help Amtrak get "paid" quicker. I never understood that until a very nice conductor explained that to me. So when the eTicket is scanned Amtrak gets the money from the fare! :)

...
That's not actually correct. Amtrak get the money - either cash or credit card deposit - as soon as the ticket is purchased (or within a business day or so). That was true with the old paper tickets, and is still true today. If you buy a ticket six months before travel, Amtrak gets the funds then, not when you finally have your ticket scanned.

There are lots of advantages for Amtrak with e-tickets, but cash flow is not one of them.
 
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Acela150

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...

eTickets also help Amtrak get "paid" quicker. I never understood that until a very nice conductor explained that to me. So when the eTicket is scanned Amtrak gets the money from the fare! :)

...
That's not actually correct. Amtrak get the money - either cash or credit card deposit - as soon as the ticket is purchased (or within a business day or so). That was true with the old paper tickets, and is still true today. There are lots of advantages for Amtrak with e-tickets, but cash flow is not one of them.
See that's what I had thought originally but the conductor who I was talking too stated that when the ticket gets scanned Amtrak would get "paid" for the ticket. I guess he was wrong.

Thanks for clearing that up Bill! :)
 

jebr

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...

eTickets also help Amtrak get "paid" quicker. I never understood that until a very nice conductor explained that to me. So when the eTicket is scanned Amtrak gets the money from the fare! :)

...
That's not actually correct. Amtrak get the money - either cash or credit card deposit - as soon as the ticket is purchased (or within a business day or so). That was true with the old paper tickets, and is still true today. If you buy a ticket six months before travel, Amtrak gets the funds then, not when you finally have your ticket scanned.

There are lots of advantages for Amtrak with e-tickets, but cash flow is not one of them.
It may "release" the ticket in accounting, though, in that it's no longer a liability on their balance sheet. They probably can't do that until they get the ticket pulled and in the hands of Amtrak, which happens faster with eTicketing (since it's instantaneous instead of waiting to make its way down to El Paso.)
 
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the_traveler

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The "ticket has no value" statement, besides what was said, means that if someone finds that "fareless" ticket they can't submit it for a refund and ask for the amount that "they" paid of $527.50 when all you paid for it was $210.75! That's one way they can tell it is not you requesting a refund.
 

ALC Rail Writer

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Having not traveled since 2011 I am eager to see the new system in place. I wondered what would happen if my phone died en route and they could not rescan the ticket?
 

Acela150

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That's actually what one of the conductors did today. He asked a rider for his last name. For some odd reason the guy was eager to have the ticket scanned. Me, I'd like to be entered by last name! :p I'm cool like that.. :p
 

AlanB

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...

eTickets also help Amtrak get "paid" quicker. I never understood that until a very nice conductor explained that to me. So when the eTicket is scanned Amtrak gets the money from the fare! :)

...
That's not actually correct. Amtrak get the money - either cash or credit card deposit - as soon as the ticket is purchased (or within a business day or so). That was true with the old paper tickets, and is still true today. If you buy a ticket six months before travel, Amtrak gets the funds then, not when you finally have your ticket scanned.

There are lots of advantages for Amtrak with e-tickets, but cash flow is not one of them.
It may "release" the ticket in accounting, though, in that it's no longer a liability on their balance sheet. They probably can't do that until they get the ticket pulled and in the hands of Amtrak, which happens faster with eTicketing (since it's instantaneous instead of waiting to make its way down to El Paso.)
Correct, Amtrak recognizes the revenue for that train on its books when the ticket is scanned. But the actual money is already in Amtrak's bank account before that scan.
 

Acela150

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...

eTickets also help Amtrak get "paid" quicker. I never understood that until a very nice conductor explained that to me. So when the eTicket is scanned Amtrak gets the money from the fare! :)

...
That's not actually correct. Amtrak get the money - either cash or credit card deposit - as soon as the ticket is purchased (or within a business day or so). That was true with the old paper tickets, and is still true today. If you buy a ticket six months before travel, Amtrak gets the funds then, not when you finally have your ticket scanned.

There are lots of advantages for Amtrak with e-tickets, but cash flow is not one of them.
It may "release" the ticket in accounting, though, in that it's no longer a liability on their balance sheet. They probably can't do that until they get the ticket pulled and in the hands of Amtrak, which happens faster with eTicketing (since it's instantaneous instead of waiting to make its way down to El Paso.)
Correct, Amtrak recognizes the revenue for that train on its books when the ticket is scanned. But the actual money is already in Amtrak's bank account before that scan.
Perhaps that's what the conductor meant..
 

SubwayNut

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On my last trip last week I was the only passenger boarding in SLQ (Saint-Lambert) and was then the only passenger boarding in Yonkers heading to NYP the next day as part of my usual post trip points run from the Empire Service Routes. When I boarded in SLQ the conductor said Yonkers? and handed me a seat check. I did say, did you register my ticket (a requirement to get the points)? the response was yes.

In Yonkers the same think happened. As a few passengers were getting off (and I was waiting to get on for the short ride) the conductor said "Got You!" and I borded the train for the short ride.

All points from these segments have posted.

I've also had plenty of conductors check me in off their manifest by last name.
 
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Several times when boarding (business or sleeper class), we were the only ones boarding and the conductor greeted us by name (confirmed our name) and checked us in without viewing/scanning a ticket.

I usually keep a hard copy of my e-ticket (folded with QR visible) even though I have the Amtrak app on my phone. Its easier and quicker to produce than using the app on the phone when in a not-so-good coverage area. I've discovered that if I don't have a decent 3G/4G connection, the app will not bring up the ticket (or, it takes forever). That's where the PDF on my phone is nice...don't need to be in a good phone service area.
 
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