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New York MTA hops on mobile ticketing bandwagon with new app

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May 19, 2016

The MTA eTix app is forthcoming for LIRR and Metro-North customers

The MTA eTix app is forthcoming for LIRR and Metro-North customers

The New York MTA is leaving the era of paper tickets behind by rolling out the eTix application for select Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North lines this June, enabling commuters to purchase transportation tickets anytime, anywhere via their smartphones.

The MTA has teamed up with mobile ticketing and fare management platform Masabi for the rollout, which is expected to reach several train lines this June, with a more comprehensive introduction scheduled for the end of the year. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo revealed the app’s successful field test earlier this week, and claimed the initiative will improve millions of New Yorkers’ daily commutes and reduce overcrowding in transit hubs.

“Mobile ticketing offers a considerable benefit to riders while reducing an agency’s requirements for investments in heavy, expensive vending machines,” said Chris Dempsey, vice president, North America at Masabi. “It makes travelling more straightforward for riders and keeps pace with the growing ‘on demand’ culture.

“Travelers expect to be able to get from A to B using their phones, and agencies around the world are embracing mobile ticketing to offer that experience,” he said. “Agencies that adopt mobile ticketing are offering a customer experience that is faster, more efficient, and more convenient.

“Globally, the trend is for increased ridership of public transit and mobile ticketing is certainly playing a role in this shift.”

Reimagining the transportation industry
Per Governor Cuomo, the MTA is seeking to reimagine its offerings for the twenty-first century and develop a transit system that will better meet the needs of tech-savvy New Yorkers.

Consequently, consumers riding trains on select LIRR and Metro-North lines will be able to leverage the MTA eTix app this June. All railroad customers will have the ability to use the app by the end of 2016.

Approximately 150 individuals who ride the Metro-North Hudson Line and Long Island Rail Road Port Washington Branch have participated in the app’s beta test. These customers have leveraged the app to purchase train tickets in real-time and display their tickets to train attendants, eliminating the need to carry around a paper ticket that can easily be misplaced or lost.

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The MTA eTix app

Consumers will be able to access the mobile-first platform via the standalone MTA eTix app or through the Train Time app, where users can also view schedules and check service status.

The MTA eTix app provides account management tools as well, allowing individuals to receive refunds for unused tickets, manage their linked credit cards and request duplicate receipts.

The app was developed by Masabi, the developer behind mobile ticketing programs in cities including Los Angeles and Boston.

Mobile ticket takeovers
The era of the paper ticket is slowly ebbing away, only to be replaced by a proliferation of mobile ticketing apps designed to augment commuters’ experiences with convenient ways of purchasing transportation tickets.

The flurry of mobile ticketing innovations seen by marketers in a slew of industries suggests transportation companies will also begin investing more heavily in these solutions, due to the sheer convenience and last-minute purchasing ability they offer (see story).

This past January, Southern California’s commuter rail service Metrolink was one of the latest public transit system to board the mobile ticketing train, as the transportation industry as a whole moves towards untethered digital systems (see story).

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The Train Time app will also integrate mobile ticketing capabilities

“Simply put, mobile ticketing means riders will never again have to wait in line at a ticket window or vending machine,” Mr. Dempsey said. “And they’ll never again have to fumble for change or pull out a credit card every time they want to buy a new ticket.

“These are frustrations that anyone who rides public transport around the world has experienced,” he said. “With Masabi’s mobile ticketing system, JustRide, the purchase process is as easy as a few taps of the screen of your device.

“There are no queues to wait in and no cash needs to be handled. Easy, quick and secure transactions that lead to stress-free journeys.”

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Alex Samuely is staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York. Reach her at alex@mobilemarketer.com.

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