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MTA to deliver smart ticketing for smart New Yorkers.

Posted by Emily O'Dowd on Oct 11, 2016

mPayment_500.jpg"Now you can skip the line entirely to buy train tickets right on your iPhone..." 

According to 2015 research, 80 per cent of New York residents own smartphones which can now be taken advantage of by ticketing services. New York has entered the 21st century by putting their smartphone technology to good use on the metro lines. It has been announced that passengers on Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Railroad can now pay for tickets with Apple Pay, Apple's digital wallet service whilst Android users will be able to download the Mastercard app, Masterpass to make quick and simple payments.

Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo said: "We have worked tirelessly to rebuild and reimagine New York's transit system for the 21st century and a key part of those efforts is to incorporate the amenities that modern day riders demand…By adding the use of cutting edge technology like Apple Pay and Masterpass, we are not only making mass transit easier to use, but are also improving the overall experience of riders."

These plans have been brought forward from the end of the year to this month to help make New York a smarter city and to create a smarter metro.

The metro is the busiest commuter rail line in North America. Now for the first time, ApplePay and Mastercard are bringing the 8,764,983 weekly commuters a quick and easy way to ride the Metro North and LIRR journey through contactless payment options. These tickets can be purchased anywhere at any time to increase customer convenience and reduce queuing time at the stations. This application will cater for all ticket types including singles, returns, weekly or monthly tickets.

MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said, "We're pleased to welcome both Apple Pay and Masterpass to the eTix experience. We believe that the addition of these secure payment options will help us to do an even better job of meeting the needs of our customers, and we look forward to further building the user-base for the app in the weeks and months ahead."

This technology was first introduced on a public transport network by Transport for London (TfL) in 2014. It is as simple as:

  1. Create an account
  2. Top up your account
  3. Choose a journey
  4. Tap to complete that journey

This innovation was kick-started to reduce paper tickets and cash handling which to make large potential savings for TfL. Not only are contactless payments easier to track, but they will also provide useful information for collecting transport usage data to schedule trains, buses and trains effectively. After two years of operation, the contactless payment options have delivered results for the London rail and tube service which hope to be achieved in New York:

According to the UK Card Association, they have produced the latest figures for July 2016 in London:

  • As of July 2016, there are a total of 92.1 m contactless cards in issue in the UK. These cards are split between debit (64.7m) and credit / charge cards (27.4m). This is an increase of 29.9% over the year.
  • £2,105.6 was spent in the UK in the month using a contactless card. This is an increase of 11.8% on the previous month and an increase of 239.7% per the year.
  • On average, each contactless transaction is for £8.76. This is split £8.75 on a debit card and £8.79 on a credit / charge card.

So why have New York taken two years to catch up? Although banks have fully promoted this technological advancement, part of the challenge has been due to the lack vendor support. Although Apple Pay was launched in 2014 in the US, in-app support is easier to develop than in retail because it avoids having to upgrade point-of-sale terminals.

Apple Pay and Masterpass eTix will eliminate the hassle of re-typing credit card numbers, billing information and security codes to make a transaction. However, do not fret because these apps have in-built security and privacy. Each payment that is made will hide your card detail information, and once the payment has been authorised your apple device will create a single individual security code.

Apple Pay Vice President Jennifer Bailey said, "The New York commute just got that much easier thanks to Apple Pay in the MTA eTix app. Now you can skip the line entirely to buy train tickets right on your iPhone."

Similarly, Mastercard North America President Craig Vosburg added, "Mastercard is working with the world's leading cities and industry partners to remove the friction that slows down how people move around them. The integration of Masterpass into the MTA eTix app is a tremendous showcase of progress on this commitment as we look to build out a seamless user experience for commuters in New York. In today’s fast-paced, always connected world, people expect to have access to payment solutions that deliver a simple and secure experience and this collaboration truly delivers on that."

The eTix will have an added feature where the user will be able to check schedules, operational statuses, refunds and receipts. As New York is the first for this type of technology in the US, it is expected that it won’t be too long before other subways are making the same upgrade. 

Michael Salvato, Director and Program Executive, Enterprise Information, Asset Management and Strategic Innovation, Metropolitan Transportation Authority is an expert speakers confirmed for SmartTransit in New Jersey on 25-26th October 2016. And remember, if you work for a Railroad, Transit Agency, Metro or Government Agency, you can attend for FREE! 

Read other latest news for the US transit and metro systems:

Miami Beach light rail / streetcar project gets green light.


Topics: IT and WiFi, Ticketing

Emily O'Dowd

Written by Emily O'Dowd

On graduating with a degree in English Literature at Royal Holloway University of London, Emily joined the editorial team. When she isn't writing articles for the website or interviewing experts in the industry she enjoys reading, running and sailing.

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