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Project Dates
09/15/2015 - 06/30/2017
Principal Investigators
Project Status

In the last few years, there has been a push toward utilizing new fare payment technologies in the transit industry, particularly mobile ticketing systems in which passengers purchase tickets directly on smartphones. Numerous transit agencies in the United States have launched mobile ticketing applications, beginning with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)’s commuter rail program in the fall of 2012. Shortly thereafter, in the spring of 2013, NJ TRANSIT launched its mobile ticketing application, MyTix, to customers on the Pascack Valley Line, and over the next year and a half, the application was expanded for ticket sales on all NJ TRANSIT rail lines and to limited parts of the bus market. In the fall of 2013, TriMet in Portland and DART in Dallas also launched mobile ticketing programs for their rail and bus services, and other agencies are quickly following the example of these innovative transit authorities.

This movement toward mobile ticketing is occurring for many reasons. Mobile payments linked to credit/debit cards can help reduce the number of cash transactions at ticket windows and onboard trains, which can potentially reduce operational costs and simplify the fare collection process for rail providers. They also provide rail operators with valuable planning data that are currently not available in cash-based systems (i.e., disaggregate origin and destination information). Furthermore, mobile payments can improve the rider experience by replacing prepayment at ticket windows or vending machines, which typically require some amount of waiting in line, thereby saving passengers travel time. In addition, mobile ticketing applications can provide transit customers with a comprehensive payment and information platform, including account management capabilities, transit service alerts, real-time vehicle/arrival location information, and position-based advertising.