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 FatNoah » Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:39 pm

The pass/tickets will have color coding that will change as the month goes moves along.


I wasn't sure what this meant at first, but apparently the "ticket" will feature an animation with colors that change based on the day. The conductors will be informed each day of what the expected colors for the day are. That also explains why the conductors would need smartphones, since that's the vehicle used to send the validation information to the conductors. They wouldn't have to use them to validate every ticket, though they could validate individual tickets if they needed to.

Here's an example of what a generated "ticket" could look like:
Image

So the good (and expected) news is that fraud will be much harder to accomplish. I still think it's not impossible, since colors change on a per-day basis and the nature of smartphones allows easy sharing of such data, but the level of effort required would move it to the "not worth it" category.

I also looked a little more for the Charlie Card issue, and the press releases state that the pass can be "linked" to Charlie Cards, so I think it means that I could buy my pass in the app and use the pass for bus/subway via my linked Charlie Card. This isn't explicitly stated anywhere I could find in a couple minutes of searching, so I could be guessing wrong. Of course, all of this means nothing if you don't have a smartphone.
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby Teamdriver » Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:39 pm

Why they need to get this right....
Three plead guilty in massive MBTA fare scam
'' Three people pleaded guilty today to selling millions of dollars worth of fake MBTA passes in a massive fare evasion scheme that was undone when an alert conductor spotted a funny looking pass last year, police said.''
http://bostonherald.com/news/regional/v ... ion=recent
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby Ron Newman » Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:03 pm

Will single-use commuter rail tickets bought on smartphones be usable for 14 days, like ones bought at fare machines?
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby sery2831 » Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:08 am

Not sure how far in advance you can purchase the ticket. But the ticket will be valid for only a certain amount of time(minutes) once activated. Basically you are punching the ticket once you activate it and the conductor will check to make sure you activated it.
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby boblothrope » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:12 pm

Any idea when the smart phone ap will be available to the general public?

News articles say maybe some time this fall. So much for the claim that the ap will allow people to avoid the on-board surcharge, which starts July 1.
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby sery2831 » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:44 pm

I agree it should have been rolled out with the new fares. But they are actively working on it, and hopefully it will be rolled out before the Fall.
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby Teamdriver » Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:43 am

I think that without the ability to access the CR with the T' s own C card ,and yet access with the iPhone gadgetry, which should be supplementary to , and not the actual mode for off site ticket purchases, is grounds for some sort of discrimination action.The $3 differential for on board, favors the gadget crowd, while the non-gadget crowd has no means to remotely buy access, even though the T spent $ 98.5 million to develop the all purpose Charlie Card, that now wont be CR friendly. This is just too much money wasted to be accepted by the riding public, and the deflection to the outsourced iPhone mode should be questioned by authorities beyond the not too in touch T cheeses. And some Senators have the scent on the case ( Senate OKs MBTA bailout, rejects leadership change
http://www.enterprisenews.com/topstorie ... hip-change) ,if not now but maybe later.
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby saulblum » Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:37 pm

There will be focus groups starting next week (I'll be attending one) where we're supposed to see an early version of the app.
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby sery2831 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:26 pm

Focus group meetings are taking place with both passengers from the survey and crew members in two different types of meetings. I attended a crew member meeting yesterday and was very impresses how well thought out this APP is. They are looking for to launch the APP hopefully in November and the pilot program sometime next month for focus group members. For monthly pass riders that have been wanting to use the Charlie Card on the T, this will be the answer.
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby Arlington » Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:54 pm

I was a focus-group participant too, as a test "non-pass" rider (I buy a mix of singles, round-trips, and 10/12 rides). I thought it looked pretty good too from a usability standpoint (saving my favorite trips/zones, saving a payment method, etc). I would definitely switch 100% of my ticket purchases to the app (I tried the iPhone version), from a mix of onboard (inbound) and TVM (from North Station).

While they've made it as much like a paper ticket as they could (including, sadly, expiration dates), they're only doing that to ease the transition. In the long run, they'll be glad to be unfettered by paper.

And goodness knows, as it is there are a number of new things to wrap your head around, like the need to "activate" a ticket on your device, which is an act that is a hybrid of "printing" a ticket for yourself, and "punching" a ticket for yourself, neither of which can be literally done in app-space on your phone. That's going to take some communication effort.
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby Diverging Route » Wed Aug 29, 2012 5:06 pm

For comparison purposes, here's what the Long Island Rail Road is planning.
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby MBTA3247 » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:29 pm

I wonder if this will work with the new Passbook feature in iOS 6.
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby lkitch » Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:23 am

ooh, ooh, maybe there will be some sort of discount for purchasing a smart phone! I'll wait to see...
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby sery2831 » Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:17 am

It's an APP and is visual for the crews collecting fares, so the Passbook will probably not work until every Conductor gets a handheld reader.

As far as a discount go. Right now there will not be any. But down the road the possibility is going to be explored. Also the possibility have new fare options will be on the table, like a Commuter Rail only monthly pass.
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Re: Commuter Rail Tickets Via Smart Phone Discussion

Postby boblothrope » Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:44 pm

sery2831 wrote:As far as a discount go. Right now there will not be any. But down the road the possibility is going to be explored.


I would be rather offended if they offered a discount that was only available to people who can afford an expensive piece of technology.
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