U.S. Gets First Smartphone Rail Ticketing System

In what amounts to a major mobile breakthrough for the mobile industry in the United States, on Tuesday, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and Masabi US, the transit mobile ticketing company, announced a new joint endeavor that will bring rail travel up to speed in the mobile era.

MBTA and Masabi will bring mobile ticketing to MBTA commuter rail riders this fall. With applications for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry, customers will be able to purchase commuter rail tickets and passes.

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.

Analogous to digital movie tickets, once commuter rail tickets are purchased, customers will be able to use and display directly via their phone screen.

“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,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey.

“With this new and innovative approach, we are putting a ticket machine right in the palms of our customers’ hands,” confirmed Acting MBTA General Manager Jonathan Davis.

Are you open to the practice of smartphones being used to buy commuter rail tickets via smartphone?