Train in Vain.

Why on earth can’t I print out Amtrak tickets from my computer? This is just absolutely and completely unacceptable.

I’m trying to take a day trip from Mystic, CT to Boston, MA on short notice. It’d be exceptionally convenient for me to take the 6:05AM train from Mystic.


Why? Because I can’t print a ticket from the online reservation system.

And I can’t buy one at the station, because there isn’t a ticket counter, and the ticketing machine is inside the station, which is only open from 10AM to 4 PM.

And, apparently, I can’t pick up the ticket on the train, because they apparently don’t do that anymore.


I’m trying to keep a car off the road, but Amtrak is trying to stifle me at every opportunity.


I broke down and called the Amtrak customer service line (1-800-USA-RAIL). After wading through the phone voice menu, I finally asked to speak to an agent, who was able to give me a Reservation Number and a Boarding Number with which I can purchase my ticket on the train. So, I am taking the train.

But, were it not for a real will not to drive, I wouldn’t be.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that if We (as a nation) really want to encourage alternate modes of transportation, We really need to design out the obstacles. ESPECIALLY when trying to change thought among users.

Postscript 2 (Thanks, Deene, for spurring another rant):

I’ve got one better –
There’s a toll bridge going from the mainland into Newport. Since it opened in 1960something, it was tokens. For the last 20 years or so, it’s been $2 cash toll, or you can buy tokens at 11/$10 at the toolbooth (~91 cents/crossing) or for 60/$50 (~83 cents/crossing) if you go into the office. No proof of Rhode Island residency required.
They converted to EZPass this winter. For RI residents, it’s a bargain – 81 cents per crossing. For EZ Pass holders, it’s $1.75/crossing. But, they’ve got a commuter program, whereby if you do 30 crossings in 30 days (working say 3 out of 4 weeks), the toll is only 91 cents/crossing. Here’s the problem, though (I live in Connecticut)- I take a commuter van about 3 days per week, and travel a fair amount. Which means that I get screwed on days that I drive to the office now – paying $3.50 instead of $1.80 each roundtrip. Driving 2 days/week (8 days/month), it’d be cheaper for me to cross the bridge twice (2 roundtrips) every day I drive and hit the 30 crossings wicket.
For carpoolers, it’d be even worse – two folks sharing a ride would have to use the same car every day instead of splitting up wear and tear, as Rhode Island has cameras to bust people using illegal transponders (compare transponder to license plate). It’d be impossible to share the rides, unless you did it on a monthly basis.
Grrr. Why stick it to part-time car-poolers, van-poolers, and public transit riders?