Amtrak ticket agents

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Re: Amtrak ticket agents

Unread postby ConrailDetr​oit » Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:31 pm

I predict when the riff raff finds out that getting a ride on Amtrak without paying can be done, local police will be so irritated with the constant calls from Amtrak that they will say to figure out a way to handle a non disruptive passenger who has money to pay that you will not accept or don’t let them on the train in the first place. With any business, must know and be prepared for all possible “what if’s”.
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Re: Amtrak ticket agents

Unread postby trainnut » Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:21 pm

The Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers is experimenting with a station host program at the E. Lansing station. Station hosts will not meet all trains. At the beginning of the program only most the heavily traveled dates will be covered by volunteers. They are not apart of a caretaker program already in place. The station host program is used by other states like North Carolina and California and has been successful. Amtrak and the Rail Passenger Association is providing training for the volunteers.
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Re: Amtrak ticket agents

Unread postby Steve B » Sun Sep 22, 2019 8:16 pm

Per a source at Amtrak, Kalamazoo will lose its agent sometime between late November and January. At or about that time, Battle Creek's staffing will be reduced to 5 days a week, and will continue to process the cash fares collected from the trains.
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Re: Amtrak ticket agents

Unread postby Jim_c » Sun Dec 08, 2019 11:24 am

Trails to Rails. Put the track back.
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Re: Amtrak ticket agents

Unread postby Hogger1225 » Mon Dec 09, 2019 1:38 pm

I'll bet all of the nay-sayers on this topic shooting down the Ticket Agents freely embrace the self-checkout lines at any store they find time to go to when they break free of their computers.
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Re: Amtrak ticket agents

Unread postby SD80MAC » Mon Dec 09, 2019 1:48 pm

Hogger1225 wrote:I'll bet all of the nay-sayers on this topic shooting down the Ticket Agents freely embrace the self-checkout lines at any store they find time to go to when they break free of their computers.

100%. No one bags my groceries as efficiently as me :)
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Re: Amtrak ticket agents

Unread postby Saturnalia » Mon Dec 09, 2019 2:27 pm

Hogger1225 wrote:I'll bet all of the nay-sayers on this topic shooting down the Ticket Agents freely embrace the self-checkout lines at any store they find time to go to when they break free of their computers.

And don't forget the self-check in kiosks at airports! Some grumble that Southwest now has you tag your own bag at many airports, but I love it! I can do it so much faster myself, especially because they can provide a dozen kiosks instead of just 3-4 human ticket agents. Plus I can personally verify the tags are correct. All you have to do is show your ID to the agent, hand them your bags, and off you go. Seamless, and bypasses us well-traveled folks around those who have absolutely no idea what to do - who tend to soak up the majority of the ticket agent's time! :roll:

Capitalism provides! :lol:
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Re: Amtrak ticket agents

Unread postby PatAzo » Mon Dec 09, 2019 9:54 pm

Saturnalia wrote:
Hogger1225 wrote:I'll bet all of the nay-sayers on this topic shooting down the Ticket Agents freely embrace the self-checkout lines at any store they find time to go to when they break free of their computers.

And don't forget the self-check in kiosks at airports! Some grumble that Southwest now has you tag your own bag at many airports,


American Airlines as well. McDonalds and Panera have kiosks. You can check out you own groceries at Meijer and Walmart. How many pizzas get ordered on line? Every Amazon delivery is someone who skipped the in person purchase.
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Re: Amtrak ticket agents

Unread postby Saturnalia » Tue Dec 10, 2019 12:20 am

PatAzo wrote: McDonalds [has] kiosks.

Actually, I prefer to order in person generally still at fast food restaurants. I can say it and they can enter it much faster than I can make it through the 500,000 screens it takes on the computer. Same at the grocery store. Less than a couple dozen items, and I'm probably faster, but with a full load, a decent cashier who's used to where the labels are can be just as fast if not faster, assuming you don't have to wait for more than a few moments before you're served.

That's why I like how they have the low-item self-serves: for when I have just a few things! Or when I need to run to Home Depot and pickup just one or two cans of spray paint. :lol:
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Re: Amtrak ticket agents

Unread postby ConrailDetr​oit » Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:30 am

Should customers be expected a discount for having to ring up their order themselves, that the company otherwise would have had to pay a worker to do? Was this same question asked back when gas stations went from full service to self serve? Will there be a time in the near future when a customer can pay an extra service fee to have a worker ring up an order?

Our society is at a moralistic crossroads. Some say the biggest problem is wealth inequality due to capitalism which was perpetuated by automation which is counter argued that increased quality of life for all makes up for the financial loss to those at the bottom.

Others complain that work ethics have changed and todays upcoming generation does not want, or value the manual, low skill jobs, because it can be more convienent, trendy, and gives a higher status (if thats something the individual cares about) to do yourself from an electronic device and companies are simply adapting. With survival of any business or species, when external change occurs, one will either adapt or die out. And who actually wants to work the manual, near minimum wage, low skill jobs anymore? Unless your life situation requires you to do so to provide and survive, or you are a student looking for cash over the summer or your first job.

Reality will determine what the truths, lies, and half truths are.
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Re: Amtrak ticket agents

Unread postby twropr » Tue Dec 17, 2019 2:04 pm

Has the agent been reinstated at East Lansing? Are there still agents airport Huron or Flint? What a shame about Kzoo- back in 1994 when Irode my first Wolverine the conductor told me that Kzoo had the busiest patronage of any intermediate station
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Re: Amtrak ticket agents

Unread postby chapmaja » Tue Dec 17, 2019 3:48 pm

ConrailDetr​oit wrote:Should customers be expected a discount for having to ring up their order themselves, that the company otherwise would have had to pay a worker to do? Was this same question asked back when gas stations went from full service to self serve? Will there be a time in the near future when a customer can pay an extra service fee to have a worker ring up an order?

Our society is at a moralistic crossroads. Some say the biggest problem is wealth inequality due to capitalism which was perpetuated by automation which is counter argued that increased quality of life for all makes up for the financial loss to those at the bottom.

Others complain that work ethics have changed and todays upcoming generation does not want, or value the manual, low skill jobs, because it can be more convienent, trendy, and gives a higher status (if thats something the individual cares about) to do yourself from an electronic device and companies are simply adapting. With survival of any business or species, when external change occurs, one will either adapt or die out. And who actually wants to work the manual, near minimum wage, low skill jobs anymore? Unless your life situation requires you to do so to provide and survive, or you are a student looking for cash over the summer or your first job.

Reality will determine what the truths, lies, and half truths are.


You do get a discount. The prices are not raised as much as they would be in the event the stores had to continue paying salaries and benefits to those employees. That is the discount that the customers receives.
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Re: Amtrak ticket agents

Unread postby chapmaja » Tue Dec 17, 2019 3:50 pm

Saturnalia wrote:
PatAzo wrote: McDonalds [has] kiosks.

Actually, I prefer to order in person generally still at fast food restaurants. I can say it and they can enter it much faster than I can make it through the 500,000 screens it takes on the computer. Same at the grocery store. Less than a couple dozen items, and I'm probably faster, but with a full load, a decent cashier who's used to where the labels are can be just as fast if not faster, assuming you don't have to wait for more than a few moments before you're served.

That's why I like how they have the low-item self-serves: for when I have just a few things! Or when I need to run to Home Depot and pickup just one or two cans of spray paint. :lol:



I tried using the kiosk at Taco Bell once. By the time I completed the order, three people had entered the location and had ordered at the counter ahead of me. Too many screens to look at and too many hoops to jump through. To top it off, I still had to pay at the counter because the card reader at the kiosk wasn't working properly. Now I just wait in line and have a human take my order (granted they still screw it up sometimes, but human error is something that happens.)
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Re: Amtrak ticket agents

Unread postby Saturnalia » Tue Dec 17, 2019 7:05 pm

chapmaja wrote:Now I just wait in line and have a human take my order (granted they still screw it up sometimes, but human error is something that happens.)

Legend has it people screw up their own order on the kiosks all the time - surprise surprise! But now who are they going to yell at? Surely not themselves, for it was just a simple mistake. Counter service folks aren't allowed to make MISTAKES :roll:

Now it is harder at the drive-through because you're usually long gone before you notice any errors, but I've never had an issue with getting an order corrected when inside a restaurant, and even then, any orders are RARE, and in my view, virtually a non-issue.
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Re: Amtrak ticket agents

Unread postby Jetlink » Tue Dec 17, 2019 10:23 pm

Just try checking out with a cart full of produce on your own at Meijer and see how well you do compared to the standard lanes. This, folks, is thread drift at it's finest.
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Re: Amtrak ticket agents

Unread postby justalurker66 » Wed Dec 18, 2019 2:34 am

Jetlink wrote:Just try checking out with a cart full of produce on your own at Meijer and see how well you do compared to the standard lanes. This, folks, is thread drift at it's finest.

I have not tried it yet, but Meijer allows customers to scan their purchases to an app and scan the app to check out. Recently I noticed scales in the produce department where one could weigh and add produce to their app purchases. I also see "personal shoppers" in the store on a regular basis buying for customers at home and filling the online orders via an app.

Stores have certainly changed since I learned to run register (one row of numbers for each digit - count back the change without the register telling you how much).

Most of the time I use the U-SCAN and pay with Google Pay at Meijer. At other stores I use the debit card and get out nearly as quick. As a seasoned professional check out clerk (retired from that position in 1994) I can still do a decent job of scan and bag. I'd rather have the employees stocking the shelves so I can actually find what I want to buy.

Unfortunately Amtrak's cutbacks is not shifting employees to positions where they could be more useful to the passengers.
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Re: Amtrak ticket agents

Unread postby Ypsi » Wed Dec 18, 2019 8:50 pm

Disclaimer, I like jobs, I like when people have jobs, but its 2019 and we are on the tangent of cutting things and grocery checkout isles.. So don't take these thoughts personally or as an attack on a person's job/ Amtrak Jobs.

While we are cutting things, maybe the cafe attendants would be next (or should have been first?). There is always the old story of to make a profit on food, Amtrak would have to sell a burger for like $21. Plenty of companies and universities have installed attendant-less cafes/ quick pickups for food. They have a plethora of cameras and the penalty for stealing is (usually) termination. These cafes include a large selection of cold, dry, and even microwavable options. With a microwave nearby they seem to work well. When I was in the food service industry I talked to a couple companies who worked with the attendant-less cafes and the employees overall liked them, and thief was generally low (some factories had high theft rates, but those caught at an 100% rate were terminated). On Amtrak it might be more difficult to track theft however where there is a will there is always a way, but to lose a $1.25 candy bar which cost $3 on the train might be worth the saved labor.... Personally I have at times thought that the AC could run the cafe counter in between stops. Since generally the AC and cafe attendants do the same things between stops and customers. Of Course that is before Amtrak goes after the ACs too.
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Re: Amtrak ticket agents

Unread postby PerRock » Thu Dec 19, 2019 1:39 pm

justalurker66 wrote:
Jetlink wrote:Just try checking out with a cart full of produce on your own at Meijer and see how well you do compared to the standard lanes. This, folks, is thread drift at it's finest.

I have not tried it yet, but Meijer allows customers to scan their purchases to an app and scan the app to check out. Recently I noticed scales in the produce department where one could weigh and add produce to their app purchases. I also see "personal shoppers" in the store on a regular basis buying for customers at home and filling the online orders via an app.

Stores have certainly changed since I learned to run register (one row of numbers for each digit - count back the change without the register telling you how much).

Most of the time I use the U-SCAN and pay with Google Pay at Meijer. At other stores I use the debit card and get out nearly as quick. As a seasoned professional check out clerk (retired from that position in 1994) I can still do a decent job of scan and bag. I'd rather have the employees stocking the shelves so I can actually find what I want to buy.

Unfortunately Amtrak's cutbacks is not shifting employees to positions where they could be more useful to the passengers.


I've used those machines at Kroger, and while the process of checking out is certainly faster; there are a lot of "infrastructure" things that are lacking.

For one, there isn't a good way of bagging your groceries after checking out, normally you scan it & put it in a bag, but now you've already scanned it & it's sitting in your cart. You just scan the machine. There needs to be a added area where you can bag your groceries, like what Aldi has.

Also, have you ever tried grabbing a stack of, say, yogurt cups scan them with a hand-held scanner & add them to the cart? It's just awkward. Not sure how booze & cigs purchases work.

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Re: Amtrak ticket agents

Unread postby PatAzo » Sun Dec 22, 2019 12:01 pm

The point with airlines, fast-food and grocery kiosks is that the kiosk is not unique to Amtrak. It's being accepted by a new generation of consumer. Grocery stores had high hopes for self checkout until they saw the level of fraud that occurs at them. By then they had consumers who expected to be able to us a self checkout.

As for Amtrak if you have never worked for a company that was loosing money you don't know how intense the cost cutting pressure can become. As long as Amtrak is trapped between being a for profit corporation and a commmuter carrier expected to provide unprofitable service they will not be able to be either one.
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