Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby sery2831 » Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:13 am

Yes, the commuter will bring it up and the Conductor will look at it. I am told the single ride tickets will have a scrolling color feature and a time stamp. Not sure how the monthly pass will display and how they will ride the subway.
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby diburning » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:38 am

They'll probably have to show it to a confused CSA who will tap them in with the bypass card.

Unless they offer some sort of discount, I don't see how this would be an advantage from a commuter's point of view with the exception of running up at the last minute and avoiding a surcharge.

I'd rather have a physical ticket in my hand that doesn't run on batteries and can't randomly die.
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby boblothrope » Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:58 am

diburning wrote:They'll probably have to show it to a confused CSA who will tap them in with the bypass card.


I hope that's not the plan. More and more I've been seeing subway entrances with no T employees on duty.

And there's no official schedule that says when entrances will and won't be staffed. I tried to find out for the stations I use the most, and nobody at the T new how to deal with the question.
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby boblothrope » Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:00 pm

wicked wrote:
diburning wrote:Still a potential for fare evasion. Anyone can photoshop in a phony date/time


Which would require exactly matching up fonts (or making it close enough so a conductor wouldn't notice the difference), not always the easiest thing to do. Also, I assume this will be as part of some sort of app where the conductor could ask the user to replicate the screen and switch to other screens in the app. If that's the case you'd have to replicate an entire app, basically. Way too much effort for an $8 train ride.


Unless someone writes a fraudulent app which anyone can download.
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby wicked » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:13 pm

Such an app wouldn't be available through the iTunes store or through Android Market (whatever it's called now), making it difficult to sell. And the person found making such an app would be facing a nice-sized jail term if convicted.

The stakes are rather high for something that won't bring you much material benefit.

It's possible, obviously, but scam artists have more productive ways to rip off Joe Public.
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby Teamdriver » Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:24 am

MBTA announces smartphone ticketing for commuter rail

4/21/12 - 8:25 am
The MBTA announced today that by this fall, riders should be able to use their smartphones as replacements for their current paper passes.

The T's signed a contract with a British e-ticketing company for a system that will let iPhone, Android and Blackberry users hold up their phones to conductors rather than passes.

http://www.universalhub.com/2012/mbta-a ... muter-rail

Boston .com story :
http://www.boston.com/news/local/massac ... News_links
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby Diverging Route » Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:46 pm

And here's the MBTA press release.
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby diburning » Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:51 pm

"We're broke, let's raise fares"
"We've raised fares, let's blow the money on something only a portion of riders will use"

Pretty flawless logic if you ask me.
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby TrainManTy » Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:32 am

diburning wrote:"We're broke, let's raise fares"
"We've raised fares, let's blow the money on something only a portion of riders will use"

Pretty flawless logic if you ask me.


While this is sort of correct, keep in mind that the MBTA is not actually spending money to implement this system, they are merely losing some of the revenue generated by it, lowering their profit per ride. Boston.com reports that the app company, Masabi, will provide the up-front cash, in return for a 2.8% return on fare revenues generated by the app. The T will only have to pay for the marketing campaign. The same article estimates the cost of CharlieCard implementation on the commuter rail at up to $70 million.
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby rethcir » Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:40 pm

diburning wrote:Still a potential for fare evasion. Anyone can photoshop in a phony date/time


If they DID have a validator/QR Code like Starbucks, there's no reason the code couldn't be transaction-based (a new image generated per ride, authenticated "in the cloud" and then discarded) preventing that sort of fraud.

This sort of system works swimmingly on a massive scale at many sporting events, concerts, festivals etc already, using off-the-shelf technology (ipod touches with 3rd party scanning modules) the T has no excuse not to succeed with it.
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby diburning » Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:12 pm

TrainManTy wrote:
diburning wrote:"We're broke, let's raise fares"
"We've raised fares, let's blow the money on something only a portion of riders will use"

Pretty flawless logic if you ask me.


While this is sort of correct, keep in mind that the MBTA is not actually spending money to implement this system, they are merely losing some of the revenue generated by it, lowering their profit per ride. Boston.com reports that the app company, Masabi, will provide the up-front cash, in return for a 2.8% return on fare revenues generated by the app. The T will only have to pay for the marketing campaign. The same article estimates the cost of CharlieCard implementation on the commuter rail at up to $70 million.


True, but I don't see how this system is a suitable alternative to accepting Charlie Cards on the commuter rail. The app will help any tech savy person who can install and set up the app in their spare time before riding, but this doesn't help people who want to use stored value on a charlie card, or even pay with plastic for that matter.

A phone app is not a replacement for a machine where the conductor can swipe someone's credit/debit/charlie card for the fare! So, in the end, you get a few people who use it (like the few who actually use the parking app) and the rest will have to pay cash for a ticket, or pay with plastic out of a terminal station, Back Bay, or a retail outlet.
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby TrainManTy » Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:26 pm

diburning wrote:
TrainManTy wrote:
diburning wrote:"We're broke, let's raise fares"
"We've raised fares, let's blow the money on something only a portion of riders will use"

Pretty flawless logic if you ask me.


While this is sort of correct, keep in mind that the MBTA is not actually spending money to implement this system, they are merely losing some of the revenue generated by it, lowering their profit per ride. Boston.com reports that the app company, Masabi, will provide the up-front cash, in return for a 2.8% return on fare revenues generated by the app. The T will only have to pay for the marketing campaign. The same article estimates the cost of CharlieCard implementation on the commuter rail at up to $70 million.


True, but I don't see how this system is a suitable alternative to accepting Charlie Cards on the commuter rail. The app will help any tech savy person who can install and set up the app in their spare time before riding, but this doesn't help people who want to use stored value on a charlie card, or even pay with plastic for that matter.

A phone app is not a replacement for a machine where the conductor can swipe someone's credit/debit/charlie card for the fare! So, in the end, you get a few people who use it (like the few who actually use the parking app) and the rest will have to pay cash for a ticket, or pay with plastic out of a terminal station, Back Bay, or a retail outlet.


I could not agree more, especially with your last point. I would much rather have CharlieCard implementation or a true credit card machine. I was just clarifying that the T won't be spending huge amounts of cash on this project.
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby wicked » Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:00 am

Even if not full-scale Charlie Card implementation, why not put ticket machines on the platforms like those at subway stations, like a number of other commuter rail systems (VRE, MARC to name two)? That couldn't cost $70 million. Last time I rode the commuter rail I didn't see any. I boarded at JFK/UMass and was able to buy a commuter rail ticket from the machine in the Red Line lobby. I didn't have cash and it made my life much easier.
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby Teamdriver » Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:47 am

It seems to me that this new phone ap is a deflection from the failure of the CharlieCard''s utility for the cr. The T flashes some chrome razzle dazzle high tech application and expects everybody to run out and get a smart phone.I am sure, in the real world ,there are competent people who can figure out this dilemma and make the CharlieCard function with the cr as promised. But i am not surprised one bit, I expected some " are you shipping me " machination a long time ago, keep it consistent you ham and eggers !
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby lkitch » Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:04 am

I'm leery. Why be leery of the announcement that this will be available This Very Year?
Because at the implementation of the CharlieCard the T announced that CharlieCards would be rolled out on the CR within the year, too.
Then every year they said "it's coming, it's coming, it's in planning."
How many years now? And what updates have we been given since then?

-another smartphone-less customer
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