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MBTA to Launch Smartphone Ticketing App That Uses QR Codes


The Massachusetts Bay Transport Authority has announced that they are working with Masabi US Ltd. to bring mobile ticketing to MBTA commuter rail lines. The new ticketing system is expected to be operational in the fall.

For commuters, this means that they would no longer have to rummage through their bags, pockets or purses for change. Nor do they have to look for prepaid passes to get on the train.

Commuters would be able to buy tickets on their BlackBerry, Apple or Android devices and use their smartphones to display the tickets for entry. So basically, they now have the ticket machines in their hands.

Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary Richard A. Davey said that this is to deliver convenience to their customers without additional costs on their part.

The mobile apps are linked to the commuter’s debit or credit card, allowing for easy and fast payments. Those who have monthly passes may link a plastic CharlieCard to their passes so that they could just tap it to pay for their fares.

It now includes a QR code for the ticket image to be checked. But a majority of commuters is encouraged to just activate their pass when the conductor is approaching and show the temporary image to the conductor. The temporary image would last long enough for one ride and cannot be used for another ride.

What’s more, the new system is expected to bring down the costs for MBTA because it will do away the need to purchase more vending machines and would also lower cash handling costs.

The MBTA is currently inviting interested commuters to participate in focused group discussions and a small pilot testing. This will enable the MBTA to streamline and fine-tune the new system before launching it to the public in the fall.

The transactions on the new system are guaranteed to be secure and safe, duly encrypted by the encryptME system that has previously been certified to meet government standards.

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