MBTA’s mobile ticketing program gathers steam

By Edward Donga, Patriot Ledger

CAMBRIDGE – Commuter rail riders across eastern Massachusetts will soon be able to match the tap-and-go simplicity their subway- and bus-riding counterparts enjoy with Charlie Cards.

The MBTA began a pilot program recently in which owners of smartphone – iPhones, Androids or BlackBerrys – are able to download a free application allowing them to buy train tickets electronically. The mobile ticketing program started last month with about 100 riders on the Old Colony and Greenbush lines.

Masabi, a British company that has produced similar apps for English rail systems, has developed the app for use in Massachusetts. It allows users to purchase one or more tickets on their smartphones using a credit card. After a ticket is purchased, an onboard train conductor verifies it.

“People can essentially buy a ticket in 10 seconds,” said Josh Robin, director of innovation for the MBTA.

“The vast majority of people who participated had extremely positive feedback,” Robin said. “They self-identified as satisfied or very satisfied.”

The MBTA is hoping the new app will solve some long-standing complaints from commuters.

“With folks on the commuter rail, one of their biggest complaints for years was, ‘Why do I still have to use paper tickets? Why do I have to pay cash onboard? Why is it so difficult to get my ticket on the commuter rail?’” Robin said.

The app will not solve those problems for all riders; surveys found about 30 percent of riders don’t own smartphones, but the new product is a start, he said.

Link to the original article: http://www.patriotledger.com/topstories/x1278986715/MBTA-s-mobile-ticketing-program-gathers-steam

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