Amtrak to use iPhones as ticket scanners

Amtrak is upgrading its ticketing system to utilize iPhones. The system is not only designed to make ticketing easier for train riders but also designed to give train operators better information on passenger counts between stations. The iPhone also contains a special app that alerts the train engineers about repair services or to handle passengers needing handicap assistance. More at the New York Times:

Amtrak joins a growing number of businesses that are using mobile devices to improve operations. Some pilots are using iPads to replace flight manuals in the cockpit, a few police departments are experimenting with using iPhones to identify suspects, and doctors are using iPads to access patient records and X-ray charts.

A digitized check-in process for trains seems long overdue in a world of online concert tickets and flight reservations. But the industry faces a particular challenge in that passengers hop on and off at different platforms at different times, unlike at an airport, where people check in at one gateway to board a flight, and then stay there until the flight arrives.