BY ANTHONY O’REILLY
There’s an app for everything, even taking the train.
The MTA recently announced that it’s seeking a company to help develop digital tickets for passengers to use when boarding the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North trains.
According to the transit agency, the issue for proposals was sent out on January 22 and responses will be due by March 15. A contract is expected be awarded by July of this year with the winning company beginning the pilot program by the spring of 2014 and a full initiative in the early fall of 2014.
LIRR President Helena Williams hopes the initiative will make travelling easier for those taking the train.
Mobile ticketing will offer customers the convenience of print-at-home ticketing as well as onboard payment using credit and debit cards,” she said. “It also will provide many efficiencies for our operation, including reducing onboard cash sales and fare disputes.”
The MTA had tested out the program during the Barclays PGA Tour last year in Bethpage, in which close to 6,000 fans using public transportation bought tickets. Riders bought their tickets with an free app on their smartphone and either printed out the ticket or downloaded it to their smartphone. The app allowed conductors to simply look at the ticket in order to validate it, or scanned the special bar code.
“The LIRR’s successful mobile ticketing pilot last summer for the PGA TOUR at Bethpage showed customers are eager for mobile ticketing,” said Williams. A survey of more than 350 of the participants showed a 99 percent satisfaction rating with the e-tickets.
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