From Amtrak Begins Random ID Checks on Trains:
“It is a ticket verification program, which is not intended to determine a person’s identity, but to make sure the person who’s traveling with the ticket is the person whose name is on the ticket,” Black said.
When I read the above, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it, so I decided to bring it here for dissection.
Okay, so what we have so far is:
a ticket verification program
not intended to determine a person’s identity
intended to verify that the name on the ticket
matches the name of the person who is travelling with the ticket.
First of all, whatever happened to the days when all that people cared about was that you HAD a ticket? I actually am too young to remember when the “you must have a name on the ticket” policy was implemented, but frankly, it’s really stupid. When I step on a bus, I drop a token in the slot – nobody cares if my name is on the token. The important thing is that I am transformed from a rotting vagrant to an upstanding citizen with the right to ride the bus.
But more importantly, this whole premise is shaky. First, if you can’t verify that the name of the person matches the name on the ticket at the time of the ticket purchase, then frankly something is wrong with your ticket purchasing process (although the argument could be made that if you find it necessary to put names on tickets, there’s something wrong anyway – but I digress). Secondly, if your ticket verification process requires a person to produce identification so that you can confirm anything about them, regardless of the motivation for doing so, then your process is at heart an identification process intended to confirm a person’s identity. Perhaps it’s not solely for that purpose, but to state unequivocally that it isn’t is misleading at best and flat-out deceptive at worst.
Anyway, I’m sure that suicide-bent terrorists ride Amtrak everyday, and this will prevent thousands of lives being lost. In addition, it will ensure that nobody can just mug some old lady and ride Amtrak on her ticket – that happens often enough to make this a worthwhile addition to the struggle of the upstanding American corporate citizen against a world full of greedy, selfish, wayward consumers (*cough*terorrists*cough*).