Amtrak has offered electronic ticketing to its customers for quite some time, but now the company is focusing its technology upgrades on train conductors. Later this summer, Amtrak will roll out a new iPhone-based ticket scanning system to more than 1,700 conductors.


The New York Times is reporting that the project comes with a $7.5 million price tag; $5.5 million for software and $2 million for hardware. Despite the multi-million dollar cost, Amtrak should see a nice return on investment via happy customers and a more expedient boarding process.


Amtrak conductors will be able to do more than simply check in passengers; the system will also allow the company to more quickly fill empty seats when a ticketed rider doesn’t board.


Additionally, the system could be used to signal staff that a passenger needs assistance. The iPhones also have the ability to report service and maintenance problems. Amtrak will be streamlining many separate processes with the introduction of a single iPhone-based solution.


In other train-related news, May 12 is National Train Day. MNN Family Blogger Jenn Savedge has all the information you need to plan out a fun, train-filled day on Saturday: National Train Day festivities pulling into a station near you.