Metro-North announces mobile ticketing pilot program

21e0e75cb3061e260851227a7760b771

Some New York commuters may soon consider paper railroad passes and lines at ticket vending machines annoyances of the past now that smartphones can be used to pay for the train to work.

Metro-North Railroad, the nation’s second-largest commuter rail line, said on Wednesday that next month it is starting a mobile ticketing pilot program that allows passengers to buy and display tickets on their iPhone, Android or BlackBerry smartphones.

Participants in the trial – initially just railway employees – will be able to download a free app to their smartphone and, with it, use their credit or debit card to buy a digital ticket.

Train conductors can then check the screen of the phone in the passenger’s hand and validate the ticket either visually or by using a hand scanner to read the ticket’s barcode.

Metro-North, which is run by the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority, said that if the pilot is successful it will expand it to include customers. Metro-North carries roughly 141,000 passengers each day, most of whom take two trips daily.

“We are as excited to begin testing the next generation ticket selling technology as we were when we introduced ticket vending machines a quarter of a century ago,” Metro-North President Howard Permut said in a statement.

The MTA said that it was too soon to say whether it would consider expanding the service to the New York subway, a much bigger transport network with millions of daily riders.

As part of the test, New York railroad staff are comparing the time it takes to use the digital tickets against the current on-board paper ticket selling, collection and inspection. They will also test anti-fraud measures, Metro-North said.

New York is following the lead of Boston, where the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority plans to offer the same service this fall. Both cities are working with U.K. transit ticketing provider Masabi Ltd, which has already sold its technology to 13 transit systems in the United Kingdom.

If employee and customer trials are successful, Metro-North will use a competitive bidding process to choose a technology provider to be its partner moving forward.

While cellphone ticketing has been widespread in Japan for several years, it has been slow to catch on the United States.

The trials comes at a time when smartphones such as the Apple Inc iPhone and phones using Android software from Google Inc are widely used.

While the popularity of BlackBerry phones from Research In Motion, has waned, many New Yorkers, particularly those who work in finance, still use BlackBerrys.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

'Five Star': A coming-of-age story about Brooklyn's gang…

'Five Star' tells a coming-of-age story about Brooklyn's gang culture at the Tribeca Film Festival.

National

New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…

Local

NYPD detective shoots partner: DA

A New York City Police detective was arrested early Thursday and charged with driving under the influence while on the clock.

Local

Judge strikes down NY limits on donations to…

A federal judge on Thursday reluctantly struck down New York's limits on donations to independent political action committees as unconstitutional, potentially ushering in a new…

Movies

Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

Movies

'A Brony Tale' documents men who are into…

Ashleigh Ball, a voice actress on "My Little Pony," speaks to us.

Movies

Tribeca: Nikki Reed on going funny for a…

"Intramural" star Nikki Reed talks about being the straight person in a broad comedy, spending time in Austin and how "Thirteen" was a "miracle."

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

MLB

5 infamous pitcher ejections for cheating

Never fear Yankees fans, Michael Pineda is far from the first MLB pitcher to be thrown out of a game for cheating.

MLB

Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda ejected for using pine…

Pineda was thrown out of the game against the Red Sox Wednesday for having pine tar on his neck -- for all the world to see.

NFL

Giants 2014 regular season schedule

The Giants will play five prime-time games — against the Lions, Redskins, Eagles, Colts and Cowboys.

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.

Style

MAC & Proenza Schouler collection unveiled

MAC Cosmetics is releasing a new collection with Proenza Schouler.