Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Public Transportation SUCKS

good luck finding this guy

I live in the suburbs, about 30 miles from center city Philadelphia. I am not out in the boondocks. I want to ride Amtrak to New York. I want to use public transportation. I want to leave my car at home. Sounds like a good idea, right??

Well try getting Amtrak to actually sell you a ticket. I go online and order 2 tickets. I have to make a change, so I call Amtrak. Unbeknownst to me, the agent forgets to mark, MAIL TICKETS. Six days later I call Amtrak as my trip is 2 days away and I have no tickets.

Amtrak is stuck. I am put on hold for several minutes. Finally a customer service person tells me to call the day of travel, a Saturday (like I actually believe someone is going to answer the phone) and tell customer service to call Harrisburg and remind them to print my tickets. Yes, I just said, remind the ticket office to print my tickets.

Now this plan sounds downright flaky. I ask the woman on the phone, how do I get paper tickets before my day of travel? Well I can now drive, yes, DRIVE 20 minutes to the nearest train station that has a train ticket office and see if I can get my tickets there. I can only hope the person at the ticket window has some means to verify that I have already paid for 2 round trip tickets.

Amtrak is a government run agency. God help us. Why does Amtrak have no way for folks to print tickets online? How come there is no way to buy a ticket except from one train station that has very limited hrs? It is never opened on weekends or holidays. You are stuck if you want to get somewhere on Amtrak on a weekend.

Only option is to take a SEPTA train to Philly and then try and coordinate a trip to New York from the Philly station.

I asked the woman on the phone why we cannot print out a bar code and simply take that to the train. She said, well they are working on it but it will be a while before the right equipment can be purchased to make this possible.

Can you imagine an airlines doing this?? Making it near impossible to buy a ticket unless you lived near the airport.


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