Random ID checks

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by amamba, Jul 28, 2010.

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  1. Jul 28, 2010 #1

    amamba

    amamba

    amamba

    Conductor

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    So I'm on the downeaster, and as the conductor came through the BC car (remember, its only about 15 seats b/c half of it is the cafe car and its 2-1 seating) he did two random ID checks when taking tickets. I have never seen this before. Is this new? Is this being rolled out on all the routes? Just curious. This actually doesn't bother me as they were just matching the name on your ID to the name on your ticket. FWIW, I was one of the ones selected and I had no problem pulling out my license to show the conductor.
     
  2. Jul 28, 2010 #2

    Acela150

    Acela150

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    Technically Amtrak conductors are supposed to do it. Some are just to lazy to say can I see ID. While traveling on Acela 2253 from BOS to PHL I was asked for ID by the conductor out of BOS. Luckily I had my passport. (Before I could drive) :D

    Steve
     
  3. Jul 28, 2010 #3

    amamba

    amamba

    amamba

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    Ah, OK so the real answer is that they have always supposed to do this but most don't. :giggle:

    Even more surprising was there was no gate agent at BON checking tickets to get on the platform. I was happy because the gate agent at BOS is sometimes a little mean.
     
  4. Jul 29, 2010 #4

    caravanman

    caravanman

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    Hi,

    My recollection is that on LD trains, the conductor will announce that a random number has been selected, and if your ticket ends in that digit, you will be asked for I.D. I am not sure of the thinking behind this? Who are they trying to catch out, and is it part of their job to detain people without I.D? Here in the UK, one can purchase a train ticket for cash, and you are not required to carry any I.D. on trains nor at any time in public.

    Cheers,

    Eddie :cool:
     
  5. Jul 29, 2010 #5

    Michael061282

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    Michael061282

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    I've only been checked in the NEC, I've never been checked on any LD trains. Funny how that works.
     
  6. Jul 29, 2010 #6

    MattW

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    MattW

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    They're doing it because "something has to be done" that's it.
     
  7. Jul 29, 2010 #7

    Trainmans daughter

    Trainmans daughter

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    I was asked for ID last month on the Cap Corridor. I figured that it was because the conductor couldn't believe I was old enough for the "Senior" ticket I gave him! :giggle:
     
  8. Jul 29, 2010 #8

    Big Iron

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    Big Iron

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    During the past year or two each time I boarded in RVR the boarding announcement contatined some sort of phrase as "please have your ID out and available for the Conductor." Not so random. Yet each time I boarded the Conductor has never asked for my ID??? That's the random part, at least in RVR.
     
  9. Jul 29, 2010 #9

    the_traveler

    the_traveler

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    Conductor's are ALWAYS supposed to do a random ID check on EVERY run, They are supposed to pick a random number before the trip (say 8), and if your ticket number ends in "8" or if you're the 8th, 18th, etc... collected, your ID will be checked.

    However, I have only been "randomly" checked ONCE - and not even by an Amtrak employee! While boarding the SL in NOL, I (and everyone else boarding) was ID'ed by a NO Police Officer before being allowed to board![​IMG] And I've never been asked for my AAA card on the train when I use a AAA fare!
     
  10. Jul 29, 2010 #10
    There are times on Friday afternoons and Sunday evenings on Pacific Surfliners out of San Diego/Solana BEach when it's standing room only. The conductors never even bother to collect tickets at those times, let alone ask for IDs. Yet the "have your IDs out" announcement is always made. There needs to be a word beyond "random" for some of the inconsistent things that Amtrak people do from time to time! The ID non-checks come pretty close to topping them all, save for the recent posting about the dining car lead attendant who threatened patrons with non-collection of their tickets if they accidentally used blue instead of black ink.
     
  11. Jul 29, 2010 #11

    amtkstn

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    amtkstn

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    You see this more on the state operated trains. They check ID's before you board the Heartland Flyer in Oklahoma City.
     
  12. Jul 29, 2010 #12

    Guest

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    Guest

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    My station is a conductor change point. Every time I have boarded there they checked ID in the station. I have also had it check boarding the LSL in Croton. A few months ago in Chicago they were checking every ID down the car in coach on the CZ. I guess it happens to me so much I assumed everyone got carded. :)
     
  13. Jul 29, 2010 #13

    Ispolkom

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    I am always impressed by the greater severity of train travel in the east. Last month I picked up my father-in-law and his friend at St. Paul. I parked about where I knew their sleeper car would stop. When they debarked I appeared out of the darkness on the platform and showed them to our automobile, avoiding the station entirely.

    When they left I drove up and parked opposite their sleeper (the train had already arrived) and we walked directly to their car, giving the ticket to some conductor sort who was standing nearby. He told me, "We usually board through the station." I meekly pointed out that the two passengers would neither see age 80 again, and that detouring through seemed a long walk. To myself I thought that, given the AGR points we had spent, we ought to do things to our convenience, not theirs.

    There are some advantages (precious few, I'll admit) to having only two trains a day.

    Huh, St. Paul is a crew change, and I've never been asked for ID, coach or sleeper, either direction. Same with Minot, the next crew change west. Mrs. Ispokom confirms that in all our travels, we've never shown ID. Maybe we'll get carded this next trip, when she'll be in the burka, and I'll wear a Royal Canadian Mountie outfit. (or vice versa)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 29, 2010
  14. Jul 29, 2010 #14

    George Harris

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    George Harris

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    A couple comments on ID:

    On a business trip a couple years ago on one of the California trains, the three of us got asked for ID's. They got:

    1. A New York driver's license

    2. A Mississippi driver's license

    3. A French passport

    :eek:

    Quite a few years ago when getting on a plane with my son, 15 at the time, they announced that all over 16 were required to show ID's. He said, "I'm 15" and they said OK and let him pass. he was big enough to have easily been taken for 16 or 17. How could they possibly know he was telling the truth. (He could also have simply pulled out his passport and proved his age.)
     
  15. Jul 29, 2010 #15

    rtabern

    rtabern

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    St. Paul is NOT a crew change point. The crew changes are Winona, MN and St. Cloud, MN
     
  16. Jul 30, 2010 #16

    AlanB

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    AlanB

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    Random ID checks while on board the train are part of the agreement worked out between Amtrak and the TSA after 9/11 to help with security. Granted it's probably the most useless security thing being done today, seeing as how not one Amtrak employee has ever seen any training on how to spot a fake ID. Not to mention that several of the terrorists who flew the planes into the Twin Towers actually had valid NJ Driver's licenses, so it in no way stops a terrorist. But for now the agreement keeps the TSA largely out of Amtrak.

    As for the procedure, officially here's how it's supposed to work. The originating conductor, that is the conductor who takes the train out of the first station served, is supposed to pick a number between 0 and 9. They then write that number on their paperwork. From that point on until the train reaches its final station, without regard to how many other conductors may work that train, any ticket collected that has a ticket number ending with that digit is supposed trigger the conductor to ask for ID to match the names.

    Typical of Amtrak, many conductors still feel that they have the right to change the policy. And while conductors do have considerable power of their trains and those on them, they actually don't have the right to change a TSA policy and could be taken to task for violating this TSA policy. Of course I suspect that many conductors just think that it's another stupid Amtrak policy and don't actually realize that they could be taken to task by the TSA.
     

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