Ticket inspector scans a barcode (credit Masabi)

Mobile ticketing trial planned for New York

The largest commuter rail network in the US is about to begin trials of a smartphone ticketing app developed in the UK by Masabi.

Passengers on New York’s MTA Metro-North Railroad will be able to use their mobile phones to buy and display electronic tickets quickly and securely, avoiding queues at ticket machines or having to use cash on-board trains.

During the pilot, select users will be able to download the free app to their iPhone, Android or Blackberry phones.

The app will let them buy any type of ticket, one-way, round trip, 10-trip, monthly etc., with any origin and destination, using their credit or debit card to make the purchase.

The time and date stamped electronic ticket shows up on the purchaser’s phone screen as a secure image that a conductor can validate visually, and also as a barcode that can be scanned by a handheld device to verify that it is valid.

Next month, railroad staff will begin testing the mobile ticketing technology including a time measurement study to compare the new method to current on-board ticket selling, collection and inspection.

Efficacy and anti-fraud measures also will be tested.

If successful, Metro-North Railroad will seek to expand the pilot to its customers.

Masabi US Ltd is also working with Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to introduce smartphone rail ticketing system this autumn.

The technology is already used by 13 train companies in Britain.

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