Transportation professionals talk MBTA moblie app over lunch

Young Professionals in Transportation meet with MBTA mobile app team to discuss new technology.

The minds behind a new MBTA mobile ticketing app for commuter rails met with over a dozen young transportation professionals yesterday to fill them in on the new technology, which is set to launch in the fall.

The presentation happened at a “brown bag lunch” with The Boston chapter of Young Professionals in Transportation, which was formed in September 2010 to enhance professional development among young transportation practitioners and future leaders.

After getting a run-down of the mobile ticketing app, the group asked questions about when, if at all, the mobile ticketing app will be available on the T, how commuter rail conductors feel about the new technology, and what the policy will be for people whose phones die.

“The bottom line is if your phone dies, it’s just like anything else,” said MBTA Director of Innovation Joshua Robin, who was one of the presenters. “If you lose your wallet and don’t have a credit card, then too bad, you’re going to have to use another way to pay. But I don’t think it will be an huge issue.

Most smartphone folks know their phone  is only going to get them to 4 p.m., so they better have a charger.”

As for when the mobile app will be available to the rest of the T, Robin said “that is years away.”
“It is something that is doable,” he said. “This is just the beginning. It is the first effort to bring mobile payments to customers.”

Conductors, he told the group, “have been tremendously supportive of this project,” which will save them time because they will deal with less on-board cash transactions.

Over 100 Greenbush and Old Colony Line commuters have already signed up to have the first chance to use the application on-board the trains, Robin said.

The mini-pilot will formally launch in early September 2012 with customer information sessions rolling out over the following weeks.



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