Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer begins eTicketing

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Amtrak has begun eTicketing on the Heartland Flyer, which operates daily in Oklahoma and Texas. Passengers can now make reservations and print their electronic tickets from home or the office.

The eTicketing program provides passengers increased flexibility when making or changing reservations and eliminates the need to obtain traditional paper tickets. Passengers will now have the ability to print their eTickets themselves. A receipt will be e-mailed to the passenger with the eTicket attached as a printable document. Those passengers using their smartphones can also present their eTicket to the conductor by simply opening the eTicket document from their e-mail to display the barcode for scanning. If a customer misplaces their eTicket, they can reprint the document to present onboard. Passengers can also print the eTickets at Amtrak ticket office in Fort Worth and Quik-Trak kiosks in Fort Worth and Oklahoma City.

For this initial version of eTicketing, eTickets will be issued to passengers who have one way or round-trip reservations on the Heartland Flyer. Passengers with more complicated bookings will continue to receive traditional paper value tickets, including when they:

• Are traveling beyond the Heartland Flyer route
• Have purchased a Multi-Ride Ticket; (monthly or ten-trip ticket)
• Have a group ticket
• Are paying travel on the train
• Have purchased travel at a travel agency or corporate travel office

“The new eTicket system gives even more convenience to passengers on the Heartland Flyer,” said Joe Kyle, manager, rail programs, Oklahoma Department of Transportation. “Oklahoma DOT and our partners in Texas are honored to be one of the first Amtrak state-partner routes to implement this new technology. Our customers will appreciate both the simplified printing and the ability to use their smartphones as a ticket.”

“We thank our partners at in Oklahoma and Texas for their continued support and cooperation in helping bring this exciting initiative to our passengers on the popular Heartland Flyer route,” said Emmett Fremaux, Amtrak vice president for marketing and product development. “The eTicketing process provides a more convenient and flexible way for passengers to buy and get their ticket whenever, wherever.”

The Amtrak eTicketing project began in November 2011 on the Amtrak Downeaster service (Boston – Portland, Maine). The spring has seen the successful piloting of eTicketing on the City of New Orleans, Capitol Corridor and San Joaquin trains.

To meet this summer’s goal for a nationwide eTicketing launch, Amtrak is now in process of training its approximately 1,700 conductors. During this transition period, passengers can see conductors using the eTicketing Mobile Device on trains throughout the national Amtrak network. Conductors will still collect and punch traditional paper tickets and scanning these will allow conductors to become more familiar with the eTicketing equipment.

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Amtrak’s Hiawatha Service sets annual ridership record in 2011

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For the first time in its history, Amtrak's Hiawatha Service between Chicago and Milwaukee, has a ridership that surpassed 800,000 in 2011. The year-end numbers put ridership at 823,163. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, that is a nearly four percent increase from 2010 when ridership totaled 792,848.

Amtrak’s Hiawatha Service provides seven round-trips Monday through Saturday and six round-trips on Sunday.Train stops include the Milwaukee Intermodal Station; Milwaukee Airport Rail Station at General Mitchell International Airport; Sturtevant, near Racine; Glenview, Ill., and Chicago’s Union Station. A one-way trip from Milwaukee to Chicago, approximately 86 miles, takes about 90 minutes.

In addition to the 2011 calendar year record, monthly Hiawatha Service ridership records were set in every month but August of last year. According to Amtrak’s 2011 fiscal year data, the Hiawatha Service is the busiest Amtrak corridor in the Midwest and the sixth busiest in the country.

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Amtrak

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In response to customer demand, Amtrak Keystone Service (Harrisburg – Philadelphia – New York) will add Quiet Car® service starting January 24, providing passengers with a peaceful, quiet atmosphere to work or rest without distraction. The coach car adjacent to the locomotive will typically be designated as the Quiet Car. Seating on the Quiet Car is available on a first-come, first-served basis and cannot be reserved. There is no additional charge for a seat in a Quiet Car. While riding in the Quiet Car, passengers must follow these guidelines: Hushed Voices: Strictly limit conversation and speak only in quiet, subdued tones. Muted Devices: No use of any devices that emit sounds, including cellular phones, handheld games without headphones, laptop computers with audible features enabled, or CD, DVD, iPod and MP3 players without headphones. Headphones/Earpieces: Volume must be low enough so that the audio from headphones/earpieces cannot be heard by neighboring passengers. The Amtrak Quiet Car first started in 1999 on the Northeast Corridor between Philadelphia and Washington. Today the Quiet Car has expanded to include Acela Express and Northeast Regional service between Washington and Boston, as well as the Hiawatha Service between Chicago and Milwaukee.

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