The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority’s (MBTA) mTicket is a first-in-the-nation mobile ticketing app which supports an end-to-end smartphone ticketing system and serves all commuter rail lines and ferries across the state.
mTicket is comprised of customer-facing apps for both iOS and Android phones, conductor validation apps for staff, a management console, secure payment integration, and a cloud-based back-end for customer service and support.
Commuter rail and ferry customers can now buy tickets anywhere, anytime, in seconds, with their own smart phone acting as both vending machine and ticket. Riders select tickets using intuitive from/to menus and then pay with a credit or debit card. Repeat users can make purchases in as little as 15 seconds as the app remembers previous selections and securely stores payment details. Riders can buy tickets any time before riding and keep them in the app’s “My Tickets” section until needed. Riders can purchase single-ride, round trip, 10-ride tickets or monthly passes.
When riders board a train or ferry, they “activate” the ticket they wish to use. A dynamic, color-changing code appears on the phone’s screen, acting as the customer’s visual “flash pass.” mTicket holders show their phone screen to the conductor, who visually validates the ticket at a glance. In addition to the flash pass functionality, the app also supports advanced barcode scanning.
Of the state’s 135 commuter rail stations, only a handful have ticket vending machines, meaning that, in the past, the only option for many travelers was to buy a ticket with cash once on-board. The option to buy at any time with their phone and credit card adds an unprecedented level of convenience for these riders. A significant added benefit is that this frees up valuable conductor time en route as staff spend less time handling cash transactions and more time on other priorities.
Buying an mTicket can also save riders a bit of cash and aggravation in some scenarios. When ticketless riders race past an open ticket booth or machine in a busy station and then use cash to buy a ticket on-board, they incur a $3 surcharge. Now those riders can buy an mticket instead, avoiding the surcharge (and long lines at the station) while sparing conductors a time-consuming cash transaction.
Mobile ticket sales grew steadily – from zero to an impressive 16% of all ticket sales – while cash-on-board sales dropped. Through August 19th, over 1 million tickets were sold, reaching $10 million in sales. This rapid and growing adoption speaks to the early and continued success of mTicket.
Ultimately, both commuters and the MBTA benefit significantly from use of mTicket. Commuters enjoy more flexibility in their ticket-buying options and MBTA staff gain valuable time during travel thanks to the drop in cash-on-board transactions.
The MBTA Mobile Ticketing Project has also been named one of the top ten transportation projects in the country and will be competing for top honors in the 2013 America’s Transportation Awards.
More information about mTicket can be found here.
Visit here to learn more about the 2013 America’s Transportation Awards, and to submit your vote for mTicket to win the People’s Choice Award for the best transportation project in the country.