This August, Metro-North Commuter Railroad launched a mobile-ticket platform in the New Haven, New Canaan, Danbury and Waterbury communities to enhance the commuter experience.
“MTA eTix,” the Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road servicing application that launched Aug. 22, features an easy-to-use interface with an e-ticket booth, a ticket wallet reminiscent of Apple Wallet and an information menu linking customers to regional travel services, maps, schedules and MTA policies. The electronic ticket simplifies and economizes the transportation industry by allowing users to show the digital ticket on their device to the conductor. The new e-ticket system will bring Connecticut transportation up to date with similar systems used around the country, New Haven Department of Transportation, Traffic and Parking Director Doug Hausladen ’04 said.
“The rollout of the new mobile-ticketing and train information platform delivers major new functionality and convenience for New Haven Line customers,” said James Redeker, the commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation. “Eliminating any need to go to a ticket machine or a ticket window or even to process a monthly ticket by mail facilitates [and] simplifies getting a ticket, and not having to carry a ticket or get it punched makes train travel a far more enjoyable and hassle-free travel experience.”
The application became available for download on June 30 for a brief pilot period, during which the service was active for LIRR Port Washington Branch and Metro-North Hudson Line riders, which ended Aug. 22 when the application opened to all Metro-North and LIRR commuters.
Gov. Dannel Malloy emphasized the utility of developing more convenient and time-efficient commute tools in New Haven in following the initial rollout. He further noted the New Haven Line is the most employed commuter line in the United States, with 2015 setting a new ridership record exceeding 40.3 million passenger trips.
“This is another step forward in customer service and convenience for Connecticut’s commuters, who rely on a modern and effective transportation system to get to work and go about their daily routines each and every day,” Malloy said in a statement.
Hausladen agreed, highlighting the directly proportional relationship between broadening mobile payment options and increasing customer satisfaction. He further touted the Elm City’s Department of Transportation, Traffic and Parking’s pre-existing mobile payment options for parking and expressed his enthusiasm for MTA expanding their mobile ticketing.
Hausladen added that the mobile-ticketing announcements of Malloy and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo were met with a raucous response from urban planning professionals.
“Mobile payment is not newsworthy, not in 2016,” Hausladen said, speaking to the reaction of urban planners on social media.
Hausladen stressed the importance of utilizing modern technology in transportation, pointing to E-ZPass’ interoperable open payment system as the forefront of the transportation industry. In this system, the same purchased credit can be used at any E-ZPass location across the midwestern and northeastern United States. He further articulated his hope the future will see an increase in similarly standardized transportation systems.
Masabi, Ltd. developed the MTA eTix app, which is also responsible for the mobile-ticketing platforms for Boston’s MBTA Commuter Rail, Long Island’s NICE Bus and Los Angeles’ Metrolink.