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MBTA and Masabi To Launch First Smartphone Rail Ticketing System in the United States
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and Masabi US Ltd, a pioneer in transit mobile ticketing, jointly announced that they will be bringing mobile ticketing to MBTA commuter rail riders this fall. With applications for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry, customers will be able to seamlessly purchase commuter rail tickets and passes. Once tickets are purchased, customers will be able to use and display directly via their phone screen.
Less than half of MBTA's 140 Commuter Rail stations have fare vending machines, forcing many customers to pay for tickets on board. But that will soon change as riders will be able to purchase tickets via credit or debit cards directly from their phones. Monthly pass holders will be able to seamlessly link a plastic CharlieCard to their pass allowing them "tap-in" instead of using magnetic tickets for the MBTA subway and bus systems.
The new solution will help the MBTA reduce costs by eliminating the need for additional vending machines and lowering cash handling costs. To help combat fare evasion, all mobile tickets will have barcodes allowing for validation. Throughout the pilot program, smart phone-equipped train conductors will be checking tickets to ensure their validity.
Masabi will provide a comprehensive mTicketing solution including; consumer-facing applications, backend servers, payment integration and scanning/validation software for train conductors. All transactions are secured using the encryptME security system that has been validated to U.S. Government standards.
In the coming months, the MBTA will be inviting customers to participate in designing the new applications via focus groups and a small group pilot which will roll out in late summer. The full deployment to all MBTA customers is expected this fall.
"MassDOT and the MBTA are striving to bring our customers convenience without added costs. We are delivering just that with this project and this technology. With this new and innovative approach, we are putting a ticket machine right in the palms of our customers' hands," said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey.
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