Weird thing I experienced on my latest train trip

Discussion in 'Railways, Highways, Waterways' started by Sunny Goth, Aug 11, 2012.

  1. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    I just got back home via Amtrak, but had something happen that I haven't seen discussed before.

    We were waiting in one of the patio areas of the boarding area for the train to arrive at one of the San Francisco Bay Area stops. We were told (as always) not to meander near the train tracks for the train. So far, so good.

    The train arrived and stopped - our cue to begin walking to the appropriate train cars. As we all started walking, a conductor stopped us and began checking tickets. He wasn't looking for IDs, he was just making sure that we all had tickets. Needless to say this caused a huge backup as everyone queued up to have this guy examine our tickets.

    Not sure why he was doing this as every conductor looks at your ticket as you're boarding to make sure you're in the right car.

    Anyone experience anything like this?

    As for the trip itself -- it was great, as usual. This time I got to geek out for a few hours with some kindred souls as we discussed Buffy/Angel/Firefly -- essentially all things Joss. :)
  2. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member

    That is kind of odd.

    I experienced something similar at CUS but never thought much of it (1st train trip in 15 years, so it's hard to tell what's normal and what's not). In the boarding area, Amtrak staff were checking everyone's ticket, going down the lines of pax, and I think maybe marking off tickets as the did so.

    I assumed it was to make sure everyone was in line for the right train, but...maybe not?
  3. JoeBas

    JoeBas Original Member

    This is standard drill when boarding in NOL - it's much less hassle to check tickets before getting to the platform than to have to do it at each door, or worse, on the train after departure and have people getting free rides to the next station...
  4. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    He wasn't marking the tickets in any way - he was just looking at them and pointing us in the general direction of the trains. He stopped people just as we were leaving the patio area - there was really only one way for all of us to go, so telling us what car to go to was just silly.

    The only thing I could think of was that maybe he was checking to see if we all had tickets. But they check that as you're actually boarding, so I have no idea what the ticket check was all about.
  5. JoeBas

    JoeBas Original Member

    Boarding can be rather chaotic, there have been instances in the past of people slipping past a harried asst. conductor or SCA as part of a large group, and then hiding out in the bathrooms or lounge car long enough to evade fare detection. There have also been instances of people going out to the platform (even though it's ticketed passengers only there) and even on to the train with someone while "saying goodbye", only to have the train depart while they're still on board. Oops.

    By checking everyone for tickets in a more controlled environment (one gateway) before heading toward boarding, it greatly reduces the potential for these kind of shenanigans.

    In general I'm not a big fan of "Belt and suspenders" revenue protection, but this doesn't seem particularly egregious - they're not checking IDs (TDC anyone?) or doing any searches, just checking to make sure everyone is ticketed.
  6. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    I can well imagine that people do that.

    Yeah, it doesn't seem unreasonable - not egregious at all. It was just haphazardly done, and I had never encountered it before.

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