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Old Dec 4, 07, 7:23 pm   #16
 
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Originally Posted by dpb View Post
.....You certainly need ID even to get to the gate at an airport. .....
Not true; you simply say that you don't have ID and they give you a wand down and generaly more thorough screen.
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Old Dec 4, 07, 8:37 pm   #17
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Not true; you simply say that you don't have ID and they give you a wand down and generaly more thorough screen.
ID is a TSA thing, not an airline thing. If you're traveling on small air taxi services (like Grant, Frontier Flying Service here in ANC) or small commuter airlines (Era, PenAir, again in ANC) that are exempt from TSA security screening and are not located behind any type of security checkpoint, you can fly without ID. Thus, ClimbGuy is correct in saying you don't need ID to fly. You just need it to get past security (which dgwright pointed out is possible to get around, too).
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Old Dec 4, 07, 8:45 pm   #18
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The only Amtrak people who insist on seeing ID seem to be the ticket agents in some of the stations. The folks on the train seem not to care.
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Old Dec 4, 07, 9:11 pm   #19
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Originally Posted by ClimbGuy View Post
in the us you do NOT need to have ID to travel on a domestic flight, train or bus.
While I'll be honest that I didn't revue all of the cases cited there, in the case of the lady on the bus, she got away with things because there was no formal policy stated anywhere that one needed an ID to ride a bus.

In the case of Amtrak, there is a formal stated policy and therefore the exemption that allowed her attorneys to force the DA to drop charges would not work.

However, that is all academic since the conductor is the lord and master of the train. Fail to provide the ID, and you will find yourself being escorted off the train by the police at the next stop. You may eventually win a suit, you might not, but either way you won't be getting to your destination that day and you might very well spend the night in jail.

Even if the cop has heard of or seen the site that you linked to, it won't matter as the cop has no authority on the train. He/she must remove you if the conductor demands it. Once you're on the platform the cop can say "Oh that conductor is just crazy, go buy another ticket for the next train inside the station.Ē But they cannot overrule the conductor's decision on the train, even if the conductor is dead wrong and they know it.

Now all of that said, I will say that this is a stupid "feel good" policy no doubt thought up by someone who felt the need to justify their salary.

It's useless because no one at Amtrak, not one ticket agent or any conductor has received any training on how to spot a false ID. And with 50 States, each of which has multiple types of ID's/Drivers licenses, I'd defy anyone to really know that an ID is fake. Heck the reason that we changed the passport rules for Canada & Mexico is because the highly trained customs agents can't always spot a fake driver's license. So how anyone expects an Amtrak employee with zero training to spot one is beyond me.

Next, at least three of the terrorists who died after crashing into the World Trade Center towers had valid New Jersey driversí licenses. They obtained them falsely, but they were licenses printed by NJ DMV. So checking ID proves nothing and stops nothing. Maybe it makes a terrorist a bit more cautious, but it sure isn't going to stop them. And maybe during the process a cop might notice something that is wrong or that they seem nervous, in which case they investigate further, but then maybe they donít notice it either. Almost certainly no untrained Amtrak employee is likely to notice anything funny.

Personally Iíve been asked for ID three or four times over the past two years while riding Amtrak. On one occasion, after noting that I was an AGR member, the conductor changed his mind. As if being an AGR member somehow makes me not a terrorist. On one other occasion I was asked by a conductor following the Amtrak/TSA policy and I complied. On the other two occasions the conductor was checking everyoneís ID, a violation of the policy since it isnít random, which it has to be.

So I politely informed both of them of the correct policy and even showed them the printout of the policy that I carry with me. One apologized and said he was new and that he thought he had to check everyone and didnít pursue his request to see my ID. The other pulled his superior act and still demanded my ID, saying that it was a special circumstance. I complied and wrote his name down and filed a complaint with Amtrak to correct his attitude and mistake, since he isnít allowed to make policy on his own. Donít know what came of it, and I havenít seen him again so I canít say if he got the message or not.

However as I said, I still complied with his request because in that moment he still could have put me off the train and I had no desire to make my point via that method, while watching my train leave without me at the next stop.
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Old Dec 5, 07, 10:29 am   #20
 
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When asked for ID on Amtrak I pull out my NY Police Department-issued press ID and tell them I'm doing a story on security on Amtrak

The whole thing is ludicrous. At Boston South Station, they make a bid deal out of checking tickets (Amtrak agent with Amtrak police at their side), denying anyone without a ticket from walking down the platform. But at Boston Back Bay and Route 128 (as well as others down the line...), there's no checking whatsoever. So what's the point at BOS?
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Old Dec 5, 07, 4:19 pm   #21
 
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When the Greensboro, NC station moved into the restored Southern station in downtown someone, somewhere went crazy with the security policies. There were 3 or 4 rent-a-security officer with guns patrolling all over the station. Very rude and unhappy ones, at that. Buying a ticket at the window? Photo ID. Walking to the platform to board your train? Ticket and Photo ID. On one occasion, after showing ID to get on the platform, some high and mighty security officer came around on the platform asking for tickets and IDs again!

Another one stopped my friend from taking pictures of the train and station because, "Photography is prohibited here for security."

Thankfully, the crazy security goons are mostly gone and now an Amtrak agent just checks that you have a ticket for the train before letting you walk down the tunnel to the platforms.
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Old Dec 5, 07, 5:41 pm   #22
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Originally Posted by wxguy View Post
The whole thing is ludicrous. At Boston South Station, they make a bid deal out of checking tickets (Amtrak agent with Amtrak police at their side), denying anyone without a ticket from walking down the platform. But at Boston Back Bay and Route 128 (as well as others down the line...), there's no checking whatsoever. So what's the point at BOS?
At the down line stations the train doesn't sit at the station for more than a minute or two, unless there is a problem. Even then if there is a problem, the train is still sitting there with its operating crew onboard and most likely even its passengers.

At Boston South Station, since it is an origination point, trains are often backed into the station an hour or more before departure and then sometimes left unattended for a while. So they don't want people just wandering around down there and potentially taking the train for a ride, or attempting some form of sabotage. And since each platform can serve two trains, they are trying to protect both the train you are boarding and the possible unoccupied train. They also want to make sure that you are boarding the correct train too, one reason that they check tickets in NYP. You'd be surprised at the high number of people who board the wrong train at Penn.

Down line stations don't typically have more than one train in the station at a time, especially going in the same direction. So it tends to be less confusing, although even then people still get it wrong.

Additionally even during boarding there can be occasions where the engineer or a conductor has to leave a vital area unattended to go and fix something, so again the check tickets to ensure that you belong on that train and aren't looking for an opening.
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Old Dec 5, 07, 5:44 pm   #23
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Everyone trusts Catman anyway (I do for over 9 years now).

May be Amtrak learned for your swiss train experience some years ago, where I swear you did not have to show any ID on any train ever.
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Old Dec 5, 07, 8:13 pm   #24
 
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The way I look at it - if you are intelligent enough to figure out a way you can hijack and divert a train, then you have already probably figured out enough to have a fake ID.
ROFL!
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Old Dec 6, 07, 4:22 pm   #25
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They also want to make sure that you are boarding the correct train too, one reason that they check tickets in NYP. You'd be surprised at the high number of people who board the wrong train at Penn.
But you still can board the wrong train once you're on the platform, no?
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Old Dec 6, 07, 9:01 pm   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanB View Post
They also want to make sure that you are boarding the correct train too, one reason that they check tickets in NYP. You'd be surprised at the high number of people who board the wrong train at Penn.
But you still can board the wrong train once you're on the platform, no?
There is always a slight chance of that happening, but they usually try to avoid having two trains boarding from the same platform at Penn. Therefore if there is a second train on the platform, usually it's either unloading passengers making it hard to confuse things, the doors are closed, or it's not an Amtrak train if it is boarding.

On the very rare occasions that circumstances do require two Amtrak trains boarding from the same platform, at least in my experience they station an employee at the bottom of the escalator to point people to the correct train. And then they'll use the East gate for one train, and the west gate for the other train, so that the employee on the platform at the bottom of the escalator already knows which train you're supposed to be on.
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Old Dec 7, 07, 9:47 am   #27
 
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Hey there,

In my weekly CHI-BUF travels, I am asked to show my license every time I buy/pick up a ticket, at both stations. Additionally, Buffalo seems to be a rotation point for conductors, so one is always at the station, ready to board with the passengers, and he/she always checks my license and does the ticket lift right inside the station. At Union Station in CHI, my weekly friendly gate agent is John, who knows me by name, but still checks my license and ticket thoroughly.

And I've had an odd juxtaposition of my feelings on this topic for a few weeks now. On the one hand, I really have no problem with Amtrak checking ID's, regardless of how bootless some of you seem to consider these efforts. Sure, one can get a fake ID, and it seems unlikely that the Amtrak ticket agents have much if any training to spot a fake.. but it acts as a very basic first line of defense. I once saw a very beligerent young man at Union get denied his ticket at the window because he couldn't prove who he was, and he got verbally abusive enough that they summoned the police (who are always a presence at Union) to escort him from the building. And honestly, shouldn't Amtrak know the identifications of people who are riding on their vehicles, if for nothing else other than basic identification for emergencies/security/etc? I mean, I don't know about you all, but *I* certainly wouldn't have wanted to ride with that guy!

The juxtoposition I've felt - well.. approaching indignance, really - is when Border Patrol gets on the train at Erie. I've seen them blatantly profile middle-eastern people or Mexicans/hispanics, and then literally walk right past a car full of caucasians. Last week, when they found what apparently was an undocumented alien on the train (he was there with his young American-citizen girlfriend and their 3(!) kids), the one agent questioned him, while a second agent walked the length of the car, not looking at any of us at all, as he said "Are you guys citizens? You're all citizens, right? Good..."

So, yeah.. I don't dig that. I could have just stepped off the plane from an Afghanistan Al-Queda camp for all these guys know.

Anyhoo.. that's my two cents.. which I guess.. hm.. it was pretty inconclusive, sort of like matter meeting anti-matter. So.. take it for what it's worth.

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Old Dec 7, 07, 12:15 pm   #28
 
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Never mind if the ID is real or fake IMHO there is no Do Not Train (??) List as there is a Do Not Fly for air travel, not that that list has stopped anyone that was a real threat. Furthermore when the ID is checked it is just matched with the name on the ticket. This ID checking on the train also assumes that whoever is going to do harm to the train is going to leave the train before the "event' happens. In most of the recent events the terrorist are killed also. Small comfort to have a name earlier rather than later. Finally if you are going to do harm to a train it would seem that forcing a derailment at high-speed would be easier and more damaging.
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Old Dec 7, 07, 3:23 pm   #29
 
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Ugh! Checking ID at the ticket window does NOTHING, checking the ID at the platform does NOTHING, checking the ID on the train does NOTHING! I can forge an ID, I can get one illegally and worst of all even if it is real I could be a terrorist with a real ID.

The whole thing is a knee-jerk reaction to our fear that will eventually disasemble our society.

What does make sense (IMHO) is checking for ID when you purchase your tickets with a VISA card. I want to know that someone who just stole my card can't buy anything with it. That makes sense. If someone comes by my seat on a train in my country and asks for ID they're not accomplishing anything but giving themselves something to do. Does Amtrak bar foreign people from it's trains? Do they bar American citizens from it's trains? Do they keep a list of known terrorists with them and check everyone's IDs with the list? No on all accounts. Checking IDs on a train or before it leaves is a complete waste of time.

If they were actually concerned about security they'd scan the bags and check the ID in a computer system with a DO NOT RIDE list. Anything short of that they're wasting our time. Let's not forget Timothy McVeigh was an American with a valid ID and could have ridden a train anywhere he wanted.

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Old Dec 7, 07, 4:30 pm   #30
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The whole thing is a knee-jerk reaction to our fear that will eventually disasemble our society.
I'm afraid I agree. And I am horrified at the drag this has become on the economy and private travel, without actually helping the problem of catching terrorists.

I always worry that some day I'll misplace my driver's license while away from home and then be unable to get home. No rental car, no plane, no train, no bus. I'll just have to walk back to New York from Washington or Santa Barbara or wherever I find myself.
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