“This upgrade gives our customers an additional, convenient way to pay fares, and gives conductors another way to sell on-board tickets that is easier and simpler than using cash and counting change,” said MBTA General Manager Luis Manuel Ramírez in a press release. “As we plan for the future of fare collection that is fully integrated across all modes, this new technology shows that we’ll continue to look for improvements under the existing system.”
The payment system works with an app on the conductor’s company-issued smartphone, allowing the conductor to select the station-to-station information to calculate the zone and fare, and process the transaction. The smartphone is paired with a handheld Bluetooth printer, which enables passengers paying with a credit card on board to receive a printed ticket receipt with their trip details, including the date, station of origin and final destination.
Right now, around 46 conductors — 10 percent of the total conductor workforce — are using these systems and accepting credit card payments on trains.
“This is a feature our passengers requested, and we’re pleased so far with the rollout of the technology,” said David Scorey, CEO and general manager of Keolis. “It’s just as fast as processing alternative payment options onboard trains, it offers a new feature for our passengers and it provides us with more detailed ridership data. This is a positive modernization initiative for commuter rail riders that we plan to have fully available this fall.”
Launched in February, the program has processed thousands of on-board credit card transactions, and received positive feedback from passengers who call the service a fast, easy and convenient option.
Passengers can still pay onboard with cash or the mTicket app, as well as purchase a ticket through a Ticket Vending Machine or at a ticket office.