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Metrolink Ticket Machines - ugh!
I seem to recall that one could type in the confirmation number directly to retrieve the ticket(s). This week, at Santa Barbara, the machine required a clunky, counter-intuitive entry system by pushing side buttons until the number/letter was highlighted, hitting ENTER for each, and starting over. This isn't an Amtrak "enhancement" is it?
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Sounds like you weren't using a QuikTrak at all, but one of the Metrolink ticket machines that have been upgraded -- but not necessarily optimized -- to also issue Amtrak tickets. (Yes, these machines can be found in stations like SBA and SLO that are outside the Metrolink commuter rail service area.) I personally have never used one to pick up Amtrak tickets and stick with the actual QuikTrak machines for simplicity.
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What's funny is that there is a Metrolink machine at SBA, a station which isn't regularly serviced by Metrolink. Same with SOL and SAN.
Wait, now that I think about, seems like Metrolink wanted to make it easier for passengers to transfer from Amtrak to their trains by allowing them to pre-purchase Metrolink tickets. I wonder how many people actually do this to justify the installation of these machines at those locations...
If I recall correctly, there's a NJ Transit ticket machine at PHL, which NJ Transit doesn't serve -- seems like the same principle is at work here.
But NJ Transit does serve Philly. They run trains between Philly and Atlantic City, so while they don't have a live agent in Philly, they do have a ticket machine in Philly.
One can also buy an Amtrak ticket for the NJT train too, since it is considered a Thruway service. IIRC, you can even use Amtrak discounts on those AC tickets, saving money over buying from the NJT machine.
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