GLOUCESTER — Whether you sprint to the bank for cash before jumping on a commuter rail, or try to remember to purchase tickets from a fare vending machine at your regular destination, your commuter fare shuffle could come to an end if you download a new smartphone application that allows commuters to purchase and load tickets on Android and Apple smartphones.
The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) his week became the first commuter rail system in the United States to host a mobile ticketing option, when the MBTA launched their mobile application, called MBTA mTicket, this week. The application has been the source of $3,500 in ticket sales on the Newburyport/Rockport Line since its Nov. 12 launch, according to Acting MBTA General Manager Jonathan Davis.
“We’ve gotten a considerable amount of favorable feedback from our customers,” Davis said. “We’ve worked closely with our conductors and they were very supportive, too.”
With the closest ticket kiosk to Cape Ann located in Lynn, riders in and out of stations at Rockport, Gloucester, West Gloucester and Manchester have, to this point, been excused from the normal $3 fee for purchasing tickets while aboard the train. Davis, however, said that — even as the smartphone application picks up steam — the MBTA will continue allowing commuters at stations without the fare vending machine to pay cash without the $3 surcharge.
“That won’t change. But, it’ll be much more convenient for them. They won’t have to deal with cash,” Davis said. “I see it as a very good convenience to our customers that they don’t have to be concerned with having the currency or the cash to pay their fare.”
Using the application, a commuter clicks a big “buy tickets” button, selects where to travel to and from, then selects whether to purchase a round-trip or one-way ticket. The user enters a credit or debit card number, which they can choose to save or not, then activates the ticket with a unique bar code. The large, simple buttons add ease for users, and the process is favorable not only to users but to the MBTA operational system as well.