MTA mobile ticketing app to be launched by end of August

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Stacey Sager has the story.

Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday announced the accelerated rollout of MTA eTix, a free MTA app that will allow Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad customers to purchase train tickets anytime, anywhere with their mobile devices.

The app, which was scheduled for completion by the end of 2016, will now be available to all riders of both railroads by the end of this summer.

"This new app puts riders first by eliminating the ticket line and helping New Yorkers and visitors get where they need to go with more freedom and convenience than ever before," Cuomo said. "We will continue to create a 21st century transit system that embraces innovation to ensure that we are building a stronger, more competitive New York."

LIRR and Metro-North customers can check schedules, see service status, and purchase tickets without waiting in line. The app also offers account management tools, giving railroad customers the ability to secure refunds for unused mobile tickets, request duplicate receipts and manage profile info such as password and linked credit card numbers.

"With the launch of this new app, riders can buy their tickets wherever and whenever they want," MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast said. "And that means more choice and greater convenience."

MTA eTix will first debut on the LIRR's Port Washington Branch and Metro-North's Hudson Line Tuesday. After introducing the app on these two rail lines, the MTA will make e-ticketing available to all LIRR and Metro North customers by the end of 2016.

MTA eTix can be accessed as a stand-alone app or through the popular TrainTime apps and can be downloaded for free for iPhone and Android phone users. Customers who prefer paper tickets will be unaffected by the new app.

The eTix app will be available for all lines on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad in the following weeks:

June 30: MTA eTix available on LIRR Port Washington Branch and Metro-North Hudson Line.
Week of July 25: MTA eTix becomes available on Metro-North Harlem Line.
Week August 22: Full system wide implementation of MTA eTix, as the app becomes available on the rest of LIRR and Metro-North's New Haven Line.

With MTA eTix, customers who download the app will sign up for an account, select the ticket they wish to buy, and enter credit or debit card information. They will then be able to ride the train in three simple steps:
1. Buy a ticket by entering information about origin and destination, and selecting the type of ticket (one-way, 10-trip, weekly or monthly). The ticket is then saved in an electronic "ticket wallet" feature in the app.
2. Prior to boarding the train, pull up the ticket from the ticket wallet and activate the ticket by tapping on the "activate ticket" button.
3. When a conductor comes through the train to ask for tickets, have the activated ticket displayed, and simply show the smartphone screen to the conductor. Conductors will visually validate the mobile ticket by looking at the screen. As the rollout proceeds, conductors will use a handheld device to scan mobile tickets.

The MTA eTix launch follows a successful field test, during which 150 customers who ride the LIRR Port Washington Branch or Metro-North's Hudson Line tested the app. Both conductors and participating customers monitored the app's performance, and reported any problems they encountered to the app development team.

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