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MTA Metro-North Railroad pilots mobile ticketing app

The company has partnered with Masabi US Ltd. on the mobile initiative. MTA Metro-North Railroad will test mobile ticket using iPhone, Android and BlackBerry handsets.

“This will give passengers a much more convenient way to pay for tickets,” said Ben Whitaker, CEO of Misabi.

“Instead of waiting to buy the tickets from a conductor, they can just take out their mobile phone and buy it right then and there,” he said.

This technology will allow customers to use today’s phones to quickly and securely buy and display electronic tickets thereby avoiding queues at ticket machines or having to use cash on-board trains.

Mobile ticketing
During the pilot, select users will be able to download the free mobile app to their iPhone, Android or BlackBerry device.

Using the app, consumers can buy any type of ticket, one-way, round trip, 10-trip or monthly.

The time and date stamped electronic ticket shows up on a consumer’s mobile screen as a secure image that a conductor can validate visually.

Additionally, the electronic ticket also shows as a bar code that can be scanned by a conductor’s hand held device to verify that the bar code is valid.

Initially, the MTA Metro-North 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.

The company will also be testing efficacy and anti-fraud measures.

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

Making strides
Mobile ticketing is becoming all the rage.

The technology presents consumers with a quick and easy way to make purchases.

Nowadays, consumers are increasingly turning to their mobile device to make purchases.

Therefore, testing a pilot mobile ticketing app is a smart move for MTA Metro-North Railroad.

“I think the really fun thing about trends like mobile ticketing is that it’s going to move from payment and digital goods to real physical world payments,” Mr. Whitaker said.

“It’ll get you in the habit of making a daily payment you have to make,” he said.

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York