MBTA launches US’s first ‘train tickets by smartphone’

Customers can now purchase and then display rail tickets and passes using the The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s mTicket app for iPhone and Android (Blackberry coming soon). The tickets are displayed as an encrypted barcode and as a ‘human readable’ ticket.

They can buy the tickets with their phones too, via credit or debit card, thus avoiding the need to buy at a station (fewer than half of MBTA’s 140 Commuter Rail stations have fare vending machines).

To combat fare evasion, all mobile tickets also have cryptographic validation. Train conductors check tickets using their own smartphone app rather than a custom scanner.

“By placing a personalised ticket machine in the pocket of commuters, they can now buy tickets wherever they are, faster than ever before,” said Kevin Mansfield, JustRide Product Manager. “MBTA will also see significant benefits in terms of reducing costly cash handling charges and the cost of additional ticket machines. We are delighted to have launched our first JustRide end-to-end mTicketing system.”

The solution is based on Masabi’s JustRide system, which is also used in the UK by Virgin Trains, CrossCountry Trains and Chiltern Railways.

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