Amtrak Tracking for My Commute Between New York City and Philadelphia

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"Amtrak rolls into the Information Age"

An article on SmartPlanet, CBS Interactive site, comments on how Amtrak is improving the overall experience and service customers will receive over the coming years. Some highlights from the SmartPlanet story "Amtrak rolls into the Information Age":
  • Amtrak is rolling out Wi-Fi and eTicketing, outfitting its conductors with iPhones, installing high-tech tracking equipment and integrating fully automated food and beverage systems.
  • Currently, 75 percent of all Amtrak passengers have access to on-board Wi-Fi.
  • Amtrak launched an iPhone app that allows passengers to plan trips, purchase tickets, modify existing reservations and check schedules and status.
  • eTicketing: Passengers can print their reservations from home or print tickets at a kiosk. They can also present a barcode on their smart phone to the conductor, who will scan it with his iPhone. The system also allows passengers to purchase tickets at the last minute or once they've boarded a train.
  • Amtrak will be testing an app for reporting delays later this year.
  • Amtrak executives said they are committed to high-speed rail and the current vision includes bringing 220-mile-per-hour rail to the Northeast Corridor.

Monday, February 13, 2012

"Restore a Gateway to Dignity", NYT proposes moving MSG to make the best Penn Station

A New York Times article about addressing "the calamity that is Penn Station."

The Times makes a case that "the only way to fix Penn properly is to move Madison Square Garden." They suggest that the "Moynihan plan will eventually improve a few access routes to subways and commuter trains. But it will add no new tracks and have limited effect on the congestion and misery of Penn Station" and that the way to have the best Penn Station for commuters and the city is to move MSG.

Penn Station NYC is truly a horrid to experience as a commuter, a local, or as a tourist. I applaud the efforts to improve Penn Station for commuters as well as the city's benefit. I like seeing design and construction alternatives vetted but the city needs to keep the effort moving forward whatever the final design may be. Relocating MSG is a radical idea; it's not a bad idea but it would extend the whole process, so perhaps it can be considered for phase three or later.