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
National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Local

Mugger uses chokeholds in Central Park attacks: NYPD

Cops are searching for a Manhattan mugging suspect tied to at least two attacks near Central Park this week.

News

Ditka calls Redskins team name critics 'politically correct…

Mike Ditka, the 74-year-old 11-season coach of the Chicago Bears and 3-season coach of the New Orleans Saints, may be endangering his position as an…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…