15 Sep 2014
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MBTA Commuter Rail Riders Get Smartphone Tickets

Commuter rail customers of four lines north of Boston can now use smartphones to buy train tickets.

MBTA Commuter Rail riders from Hamilton-Wenham station  can now use their smartphones to buy train tickets.

Starting today, riders of the Newburyport line that serves Hamilton and Wenham, plus the Lowell, Fitchburg, Haverhill and Rockport lines in and out of North Station can use the MBTA mTicket app for iPhone and Android to purchase single or 10-ride tickets, according to an MBTA statement.

The system works by displaying the tickets on the phone’s screen as a digital “flash pass” barcode, according to the statement.

“Customers will now have the ability to purchase tickets without waiting in lines meaning they get more time back in their day and more control over their commute,” said Richard A. Davey, secretary and CEO of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation in the statement.

Customers will also benefit from not having to pay the on-board surcharge. Less than half of the 140 Commuter Rail stations have fare vending machines forcing customers to buy tickets on the train, the statement says.

Initially, the T had planned to charge riders from Hamilton-Wenham station a $3 surcharge per ticket in they did not get on board with a ticket. But there was nowhere in the two towns to buy a ticket and the T backed ofd that plan.

The second phase of the program, which will be rolled out later this month, will include the Worcester, Franklin, Fairmount, Providence, Greenbush and Old Colony lines going in and out of South Station plus commuter boat services, which don't serve the North Shore. In this phase, riders across the system will also be able to purchase monthly passes on their phone.

The first-in-the-country commuter mobile ticketing program will reduce MBTA costs as less ticket machines will be needed, the statement says.

The system uses the JustRide mobile ticketing platform from Masabi US Ltd.

“By placing a personalized ticket machine in the pocket of commuters, they can now buy tickets wherever they are,” Kevin Mansfield, JustRide project manager, said in the statement.  

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