Detail from Amtrak train

Weekend round-up

Some stories you may have missed last week: Amtrak sells out its eclipse train in less than a day, Lyft and Amtrak team up for trips to and from stations, and Ventra mobile app hits a milestone.

Amtrak sold out all 409 seats on its special eclipse train in just 22 hours. The Eclipse Express will travel round trip between Chicago and Carbondale via Champaign.  The train will leave Chicago at 3 AM on August 21, pick up riders in Champaign, and reach the southern Illinois city of Carbondale in time for a day of eclipse-related festivities.  The return train will arrive back in Chicago at 10:45 PM.  Each rider will receive eclipse viewing glasses. Amtrak partnered with the Illinois Department of Transportation and CN railway, which owns the right-of-way, for the service. Link to full AP story via Bloomberg News.

Amtrak has teamed up with ride-hailing company Lyft to help rail riders access stations. Customers can now use the Amtrak mobile app to request a ride with Lyft. “We are focused on improving the customer experience, and this is one way we are working to make your entire journey as seamless and enjoyable as possible,” said Jason Molfetas, executive vice president for marketing and business development for Amtrak, in a statement.  First-time Lyft customers will receive $5 off each of their first four Lyft rides with a promo code.

People have downloaded the Ventra mobile fare payment application more than 2 million times since its launch in November 2015.  Designed to provide a seamless payment option for the three Chicago-area transit systems — Chicago Transit Authority, Metra, and Pace — the app has been used to purchase nearly $250 million in fares.  “The Ventra app has proven to be extremely popular with Metra customers in such a short time,” said Metra executive chairman/CEO Don Orseno in a statement. “Already, more than a third of our customers are buying tickets through the app, making it our largest sales channel in terms of ticket sales.”

Photo credit: Susan Mara Bregman

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