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Ticketing app for LIRR and Metro-North trains will be available by the end of summer

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Photo: Shutterstock

A new app, which should make life for Queens commuters much more convenient, will be coming sooner than expected.

The MTA eTix app, a free app that will allow Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and Metro-North Railroad tickets to be purchased on customers’ mobile devices, was announced Tuesday by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Customers on the LIRR Port Washington Branch can purchase tickets through the app now, and the entire LIRR system is expected to be made available by the end of the summer, as opposed to its original end-of-the-year release schedule.

“Our administration remains committed to building a transit network that is responsive to the needs of travelers who rely on mass transportation,” Cuomo said. “We will continue to create a 21st-century transit system that embraces innovation to ensure that we are building a stronger, more competitive New York.”

When Cuomo asked the MTA to finish the app as quickly as possible, MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast said the authority responded “with an aggressive rollout schedule that will make MTA eTix available to all LIRR and Metro-North riders before the end of August.”

The new app has a lot of convenient features for LIRR and Metro-North customers such as the ability to purchase tickets without waiting in line. It will also be easier to secure refunds for any unused mobile tickets. Customers can also use the app to get an update on train service.

After its debut on the LIRR Port Washington Branch and Metro-North’s Hudson Line, the MTA will expand the availability of the app to all LIRR and Metro-North lines by Aug. 22.

In order to alleviate any doubt on the app’s functionality, a field test was conducted during which 150 customers who ride the LIRR Port Washington Branch or Metro-North’s Hudson Line tried it out. Surveys after the test indicated satisfaction with the app, with 92 percent of the participants stating that they were somewhat or very satisfied with the app and 94 percent indicating that they will be somewhat or very likely to use the app again.

By next year, the MTA is going to connect the eTix app to the entire MTA public transportation system, including subways and buses.

Masabi Ltd., the creators of the MTA eTix app, has also created other electronic ticketing programs for other public transportation organizations such as the MBTA Commuter Rail in Boston and the NICE Bus on Long Island.

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