Commuter rail riders will soon have another way to pay their fares onboard.
Beginning this fall, passengers will be able to pay their commuter rail fare onboard with a credit or debit card, the MBTA announced Wednesday.
This is a first for the commuter rail network, according to Keolis, the MBTA’s commuter rail operator. The new mobile point of sale system (like Square and LevelUp, POS systems are smartphones or tablets that perform transactions) will be expanded over the next two months to all conductors.
“This upgrade gives our customers an additional, convenient way to pay fares, and gives conductors another way to sell onboard tickets that is easier and simpler than using cash and counting change,” said MBTA General Manager Luis Manuel Ramírez in a statement. “As we plan for the future of fare collection that is fully integrated across all modes, this new technology shows that we’ll continue to look for improvements under the existing system.”
Here’s how you’ll be able to pay your commuter rail fare onboard: conductors will have an app on their already existing company-issued smartphones, as well as a Bluetooth printer. Using the mobile app, the conductor will select the station-to-station info in order to calculate the commuter rail zone and fare, and then process the transaction.
Riders will receive a printed ticket via that Bluetooth printer with all their trip details, like the date, station of origin and final destination.
This option to pay onboard with a credit or debit card doesn’t replace the other ways to pay your commuter rail fare. Passengers can still purchase tickets onboard with cash or the mTicket app, or before boarding at a Ticket Vending Machine or ticket office.
“This is a feature our passengers requested, and we’re pleased so far with the rollout of the technology,” said David Scorey, Keolis CEO, in a statement. “It’s just as fast as processing alternative payment options onboard trains, it offers a new feature for our passengers and it provides us with more detailed ridership data. This is a positive modernization initiative for commuter rail riders that we plan to have fully available this fall.”