Amtrak’s 1,700 conductors will soon be able to leave the hole punch and use an iPhone to scan passenger’s tickets in real time, with the data transmitted to its HQ immediately, giving conductors and train reservations agents real-time data about passenger load, and if you’ve paid or not.

The new app that some conductors are already using on select routes allows both passengers to make reservations and buy their tickets using the app as well as conductors to scan tickets for passengers already on board. The information is then sent via a wireless network to Amtrak’s data center where it is logged into its systems immediately.

Currently, after a passenger’s ticket is punched, the tickets are sent to the data center where they are manually inputted. By the end of the summer, all passengers with an iPhone should be able to show the conductor their ticket on their iPhone.

The total cost of the system is $7.5 million, with $5.5 million going to the software design and $2 million for the hardware.

The move towards this technology should also speed up the time it takes to check tickets, freeing up conductors to handle over duties.

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