Cash Free On-Board - Open Discussion

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by GBNorman, Jun 5, 2018.

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  1. Jun 5, 2018 #1

    GBNorman

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    Amtrak should move to an on-board cash free environment just as have the airlines.

    So how say we address the issue, pro and con, here?

    The Amtrak IG certainly favors it; any of us around here who hold the title CPA, likely also do.

    I for one, a retired CPA, am all in favor and would not inconvenience me in the least. I lead a "cash free" daily life. As I write, I have $5.05 in my wallet, although for an upcoming trip to Indianapolis on Saturday, I will have to pull some more for tips at the hotel. The only recurring expenses I have and must settle in $$$ is a haircut ("old school" barber - Proprietorship - "nothing more need be said"), the Laundromat, and car wash tips.
     
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  2. Jun 5, 2018 #2

    wi-smb

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    Same here. I pulled cash out yesterday to tip my SCA and LSA on my CL trip tonight, and for my upcoming tips for housekeeping at the hotel in DC.

    After reading some of the IGs original findings (fraudulent sleeping car meal tickets in order to pocket cash chief among them), Amtrak would do well to move to a cash-free system as soon as possible.
     
  3. Jun 5, 2018 #3

    wi-smb

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    Of course, one of the downsides is that I suspect on some routes, you do have people who do not participate in the banking system. So, how to work with them on this?
     
  4. Jun 5, 2018 #4

    PVD

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    They can buy a disposable card almost anywhere. You do not need to be in the system. Even many transit systems that use cards offer you the option to register or not register your card. If you don't register it, it is a bearer card, subject to loss or theft, but that is a conscious choice that people may wish to make.
     
  5. Jun 5, 2018 #5

    Devil's Advocate

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    You never even bothered to post WHAT the "issue" is or WHY you think banning cash would resolve it, other than to say it wouldn't inconvenience you. If it's about Amtrak staff stealing money from their employer maybe Amtrak should try to weed out the bad apples and stop hiring thieves rather than punishing their customers with fewer options for payment. Paying with plastic certainly has its uses but for me it isn't worth handing 1%-5% of my annual income to some monkey point middleman. Cash isn't perfect but that's no reason to ban it for everyone else just because you don't happen to need it. This post reeks of low effort reasoning.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2018
  6. Jun 5, 2018 #6

    the_traveler

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    Just wondering: If you go cash free on board, how would you tip you SCA?[​IMG]
     
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  7. Jun 5, 2018 #7

    MikefromCrete

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    Tipping the SCA is a private transaction between the passenger and the attendant, Amtrak doesn't handle the money. I'm generally against programs that ban the use of cash, but I supposed a card-only program would eliminate most of the theft opportunities.
     
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  8. Jun 5, 2018 #8

    John Bobinyec

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    Last I heard, Amtrak is planning to go cashless on board - but I haven't heard when.

    jb
     
  9. Jun 5, 2018 #9

    chrsjrcj

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    Not a fan. I almost always pay cash on board (and get a receipt).
     
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  10. Jun 5, 2018 #10

    RPC

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    Would the Amish have a religious objection to purchasing/using debit cards? (I honestly don't know, though I would expect credit cards (usury) would be right out.)

    Also, many Native American communities are largely cash-based, though I doubt there would be the religious prohibition issue.

    I personally wouldn't have a problem, though what with big data/targeted advertising i'd bet I'll be deluged with cruise offers...
     
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  11. Jun 5, 2018 #11

    seat38a

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    surprise surprise
     
  12. Jun 5, 2018 #12

    chrsjrcj

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    What is surprising?

    That I am not a fan of Amtrak limiting their revenue, by no longer accepting cash for payments?
     
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  13. Jun 5, 2018 #13

    John Bobinyec

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    The thing that I always wonder about is what is the backup plan for when the computers/communications fail?

    jb
     
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  14. Jun 5, 2018 #14

    seat38a

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    That your always against EVERYTHING. I'm sure you enjoy calling Amtrak using your candlestick phone to make your reservations but some of us don't MIND change.
     
  15. Jun 5, 2018 #15

    seat38a

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    The airlines don't seem to have a problem with this issue.
     
  16. Jun 5, 2018 #16

    FrensicPic

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    I believe the credit card scanning device will "hold" the transaction until the wireless connection is restored (it will keep retrying). If there is then a problem (denial), you will be paged to return to the cafe car (heard that once or twice).
     
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  17. Jun 5, 2018 #17

    chrsjrcj

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    I am hardly the only one against the dining car changes, and just by reading all posts in this thread I am not the only one hesitant to accept this too.
     
  18. Jun 5, 2018 #18

    zephyr17

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    I was very happy when they even started taking credit cards onboard, which was not all that long ago. Remember the cigar box?

    The scanner will hold the transaction until communication is restored. One problem, though, is if there is an extended time out of communication, the scanner basically is busy printing/handling the stored transactions for what can be a fairly long time while it catches up. The SCA can't do anything with it until it finished. I know a couple of times I have paid cash so as not to have to wait. That is an issue that should be resolved before they go cashless.

    However, with that said, despite Anderson's impression, Amtrak is not an airline and its clientele is different. My impression is there are probably quite a few more folks without a credit card on Amtrak than on an airline. Buying a cash card/debit card is expensive for what it is and most of them are kind of a rip off (transaction fees, fees to deposit, etc, etc). That is an undue burden on folks who won't/can't get a credit card. They need a way to buy food onboard. So I am against it on the basis of fairness. I am with increasing controls and getting rid of bad apple employees.
     
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  19. Jun 5, 2018 #19

    RichieRich

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    @seat38a-to-@chrsjrcj:

    "That your always against EVERYTHING. I'm sure you enjoy calling Amtrak using your candlestick phone to make your reservations but some of us don't MIND change."

    FYI: I for one DO hate change. Carry cash. Re your remark about his phone - I do not and have never owned a cell phone! The dining car charges are moot to me on the AT. Need cash for tips but don't spend anything on-board...bring my own "bar car"! LOL However...could use my Guest Rewards Card if I had to, but prefer the option of cash.
     
  20. Jun 5, 2018 #20

    CAQuail

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    Personally while I use cash for most small transactions, I see more advantages for Amtrak to go cashless on board. You reduce the opportunities for both theft and the chance of money just being lost, or the infrastructure needed for handling and securing cash. Now how big of impact this would be I am not in a position say. As for the issue of passengers without cards I would think Amtrak should have a good idea how many there just based on how tickets are paid for.
     
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  21. Jun 5, 2018 #21

    jis

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    I wish they'd start accepting ApplePay and GooglePay and such NFC based payment facilities.

    These days I simply don't deal with cash except on rare occasions when needed to pay a tip where no other credit card negotiable financial transaction was involved. In the last four or five months I have withdrawn all of maybe $200 in cash for such occasional use.
     
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  22. Jun 5, 2018 #22

    railiner

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    I have been using credit cards to pay for tickets and meals since way back when the Rail Travel Card was the only card accepted (and it wasn't even plastic!).

    Nowadays, I carry cards that have no annual fee, and actually give me back anywhere from 2-5% of whatever I purchase. Since I pay my balance in full each month, I don't care what they charge in interest for carrying a balance. So I make all purchases I can by card, no matter how small, for everything. It all adds up to a nice rebate each year. [​IMG]

    That said, I still think they should offer a cash option for those who prefer that method, and use other means to eliminate their 'shortage' problem...
     
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  23. Jun 5, 2018 #23

    Devil's Advocate

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    So you don't mind if Amtrak bans all cash payments but you do mind if people express a preference to continue paying by cash? Is Amtrak's acceptance of currency personally impacting you in some definable way? The only reason I'm against Amtrak supporting Apple/Google pay is because in my experience merchants tend to raise the prices of all sales when they enable fourth party NFC transactions.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2018
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  24. Jun 5, 2018 #24

    PaulM

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    I wouldn't state it in the same way, but I agree with you entirely. Employee steeling is Amtrak's problem. Although I use the credit card where ever possible (for the points), there is nothing illegal, immoral, unethical, or politically incorrect about using cash.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2018
  25. Jun 5, 2018 #25

    Dakota 400

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    It makes no difference one way or the other to me. I will always have some amount of cash with me to take care of incidental expenses where the use of a credit card seems foolish or impossible, i.e. tips to service personnel, buying a newspaper, etc..
     
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