Goodbye, Amtrak Hole Punchers?

Monday, May 07, 2012

Oh this is so sad. An end of an era.

The New York Times reports that Amtrak is slowly introducing new technology to scan passengers' rial tickets. Instead of the familiar "click click" of the hole punchers, we will now hear the "BEEEEEP" of a scanned ticket. :( I like the hole punchers.

Amtrak, the government-owned corporation that oversees the nation’s railroad train services, has been training conductors since November to use the Apple handset as an electronic ticket scanner on a few routes, including from Boston to Portland, Me., and San Jose, Calif., to Sacramento.

By late summer, 1,700 conductors will be using the devices on Amtrak trains across the country, the company said.

With the new system, passengers will be able to print tickets or load a special bar code on their smartphone screens for conductors to scan, and conductors will be able to keep track of passengers on board, Amtrak said.

Apple iPhone, even. Woo woo, betcha Apple is happy about that. Amtrak says they are developing Android capability, too. The two companies are gonna be raking in the cash, as Amtrak is spending $7.5 million for this new system. I wonder, will they buy it all outright for opt for structured settlement payments? What about software security? Abuses of the system? power outages or bugs?

What I also DON'T like is that this new technology will track passengers on board. That's creepy. iPhones and Droids are so very cool, but the last thing I want is to be monitored because of them.

So while I love the iPhone and think technology is very cool, there are definite caveats, Technology is wonderful in the right hands and when it works... but when it's hacked or something goes wrong, it's an absolute nightmare.

Plus, I will certainly miss the clackety-clack of the hole punchers.

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