Saturday, December 8, 2012

Smartphone eTicket & Amtrak

7:46am: Out of breathe, having speed walked to Hollywood MAX Station. On the platform, sign says, "Green Line - Center City - 3min.", and hoping that time is correct. It's my 1st time using a smartphone eTicket for the train.

Will it work? Should I have gotten a paper printout? Will this be the one time the conductor Doesn't have a working machine to check my ticket? Seen these issues happen many times traveling through the airport. "Think too damn much," my though as the train crosses the Steel Bridge, 7:59a, but calmed down, knowing I'd make the 8:30 train to Olympia, WA.

Got to Union Station, walk up to the conductor, phone in hand as I say Good Morning. Pleasant guy, scans my smartphone, assigns me a seat, no issue. All that excitement, wondering, and the thing was simple as ever.

This was also my first time on Amtrak Cascades. Train seats were clean, comfortable. the travel time between Portland Union Station and Vancouver, Wa was surprisingly fast. Vancouver, Washington Station has a few issues, least in my mind.

For the Ton a people that got on the northbound Cascades train, early Saturday morning, it makes no sense, to me, there's no C-Tran bus service to/from the Vancouver, Wa. Amtrak Station. Reasoning given: there was to/from the station, but it got cancelled due to delays the bus had with freight trains crossing. My answer, "fly overs are in airports like a bowl a spagetti; what, they can't do one here?" I could write a whole other blog about transit in Vancouver, Wa, but another time; back to inside Amtrak Cascades.

Amtrak Cascades is a nice line, could definitely use a few more trains (given its crowds and growing usage), and AmtrakConnect (it's wifi service), needs help too. Heard complaints about this before, but experienced the signal cutting out for myself. Hard to even keep my own 3G phone signal, until we got close to an Amtrak station. 

3:40pm: Got back on the train home, this time using the barcode saved over to Apple Passbook application; scanned with no issue. Both the QR Code from the Amtrak application and barcode in the Passbook application worked well for me.

I finish this blog, more comfortable buying a ticket through the Amtrak iPhone application, taking a trip up to Seattle, or maybe south somewhere.  

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