Employees on the New York MTA's Metro-North Railroad are testing paperless ticketing using a free app

Employees on the New York MTA's Metro-North Railroad are testing paperless ticketing using a free ap
Next month, employees on the New York MTA's Metro-North Railroad can do their part in keeping the city beautiful by taking part in a trial that will replace paper tickets with a scan of their personal smartphone screen. Using their own Apple iPhone, BlackBerry or Android model, the employee will buy a ticket which will be validated from the phone itself. To take part in the trial, MTA employees will download a free app on to their smartphone and this app will allow for the purchase of any type of ticket and its display on the user's phone.. Whether it is a one-way, round trip, 10-trip or monthly trip coming from and to any location served by the railroad, the app can be used to buy the ticket using a credit or debit card.

After payment is made, the ticket, time and date-stamped electronically, appears on the users smartphone display as a secure image. The conductor can then  look at the image and visually validate it. There is also a bar code on the smartphone screen that can be scanned using the conductor's hand held device to make sure that it is valid. When the trial starts next month, railroad staff will do some studies such as time measurement, comparing the speed of using the smartphone ticket vs.the current method of selling tickets to customers on-board the train, collecting and inspecting them. Also being tested will be efficacy and anti-fraud measures. If successful, Metro-North will seek to expand the program to its customers

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The company behind the technology, Masabi US Ltd, is also testing a similar paperless ticketing system this fall for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). The company's technology also supports future use of NFC as a way to let riders tap their phone against a gate to validate an electronic ticket and open the gate to let them onto the train. 

It was 25 years ago when Ticket Vending Machines started to be used and were a smashing success as it reduced the number of employees needed to handle the ticketing of riders. Metro-North President Howard Permut noted how quickly the TVM became the preferred method of purchasing tickets for the railroad and he sees the same thing happening with the paperless method being tested.

source: MTA, TheVerge via Engadget

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