Mobile ticketing coming for LIRR, Metro North riders

Sandra Bookman reports on app being developed that would allow Metro North and LIRR customers to purchase tickets on their cell phones. (WABC)
April 29, 2014 7:07:22 AM PDT
Commuters already attached to their mobile devices could soon have one more reason to keep those gadgets close at hand.

A new app would allow Metro North and Long Island Railroad customers to buy their train tickets on their smartphones and tablets.

"That's very good. I think I'll go for that," commuter Colleen Davis said.

And that's exactly what the MTA is hoping to hear from most riders about a service it says it will be easier, faster and more convenient.

In fact, the service is already up and running in several other cities.

"It's in use in Boston, where they designed it, and Nice bus in long island is about to get it in a month or so. So, we're confident what we're getting is a well-tested and good product," Aaron Donovan of the MTA said.

The company behind the mobile ticketing app says it's simple: click buy ticket, choose your origin and destination, decide how to pay and confirm the payment.

When you board the train, the conductor will be able to see the ticket displayed right on your screen.

"This is all about taking the friction out of commuting," Josh Robin of Masabi said.

And who doesn't like the idea of no longer having to wait in a long line to buy a ticket, or being able to avoid often cranky ticket vending machines.

"That would be good. That would be a lot better because half the time these things don't work. This morning I was banging on it, trying to put money in it. It wouldn't take. I had to go to the booth anyway - so this is easier," LIRR commuter Pete Wolfinger said.

The firm behind this new mobile ticketing app says it could be up and running within months, not years.

The full MTA board will vote on the mobile ticketing app contract later this week.