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Long Island Rail Road seeks developer for mobile tickets

A Long Island Railroad train pulls into the

A Long Island Railroad train pulls into the Ronkonkoma Station for the morning commute in Ronkonkoma, N.Y. (Sept. 30, 2011) (Credit: Ed Betz)

The Long Island Rail Road is on the hunt for a developer to create new mobile tickets that customers could download to their smartphones or tablet devices or print at home.

The LIRR last week partnered with sister MTA railroad Metro-North to issue a request for proposal for a new mobile ticketing system. Proposals are due back by March 15.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials said the technology would give railroad customers a faster, more convenient option than waiting on lines at railroad stations to buy tickets from a clerk or a vending machine.

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As part of the plan conductors on LIRR trains would use modified iPhones to collect fares by scanning the bar codes on customers’ electronic devices or printouts.

The LIRR tested 19 such devices last year, and plans to expand its pilot program to 50 devices this summer.

Railroad officials said Monday that they expect such a system to be in place throughout the LIRR by the end of 2014.

“In the next 18 months, there’s really going to be a dramatic change to the customer experience,” LIRR chief financial officer Mark Young told MTA board members at a meeting Monday. “It’s really going to revolutionize their experience.”

MTA New York City Transit officials also Monday outlined their plans for a new fare system on buses and subways to replace the aging MetroCard.

They said they are looking for an account-based system that would allow riders to “tap on” when beginning their trip and “tap off” when finishing it. The system is expected to be in place within the next three to five years.


Tags: LIRR , Long Island Rail Road , mobile , tickets

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