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LIRR’s mobile electronic ticketing app rolls out systemwide

The Long Island Rail Road has rolled out

The Long Island Rail Road has rolled out the new mobile ticketing system eTix app, seen here at the Huntington Long Island Railroad Station on Aug. 22, 2016, on all LIRR lines and Metro-North. Credit: Johnny Milano

The Long Island Rail Road’s new mobile ticketing app is now available for use on all railroad branches, allowing riders to use their mobile phones as a ticket, the LIRR said Monday.

The system, which also rolled out on Metro-North, became available to customers on the Port Washington branch of the LIRR in late June and was not originally scheduled to be available systemwide until the end of December.

But Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Thomas Prendergast said last month that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo “challenged” the agency to move up the rollout, announced in a news release from Cuomo and Prendergast on Monday when they came to Long Island to tout LIRR projects here.

Several riders Monday said they were unaware of the app, or just learning about it.

Birdie Kwan, 48, a garment importer from Jericho, didn’t know about the eTix app, but said it’s a good idea and she plans to use it in the future.

“It will be easier,” she said at the Hicksville station. “Everything is done on the phone anyway.”

Vivek Gurusamy, 35, a pharmaceutical worker who commutes daily from midtown Manhattan to Ronkonkoma, said he learned about the app Monday morning when he found a flier about it on his seat.

“I think it’s a great initiative,” he said. “It’s good. They are picking up the game now.”

Mike Battelli, 56, said he prefers the monthly ticket he can hang around his neck, allowing him to sleep while he conductor looks at his ticket.

“I don’t want him bothering me ... It’s 1 1/2 hours of sleep I get — and I need that sleep,” said Battelli, a construction worker from Ronkonkoma.

Some other riders said they worried about what would happen if technology failed, and the conductor could not read the eTicket on their cellphones.

Al DiSanto, 64, of Holbrook, a structural engineer, said the LIRR should install Wi-Fi on trains before starting an eTicket program. “I’ll stay with the traditional monthly pass until the technology is proven,” he said.

Bob Strand, 61, who handles taxes and financials for models and has been commuting from Hicksville to work for the last 39 years, also said he won’t use eTix because he doesn’t use his mobile phone that often.

“I am just afraid that my phone will go dead, then I’ll have to pay the higher fare.”

Mobile ticketing lets riders buy and use train tickets anytime or anywhere directly from their mobile devices. Customers can download the free MTA app on their iPhone or Android.

Customers can buy tickets before traveling. Just before boarding, riders can activate their ticket on the app and display it to the conductor.

With Bart Jones and Chau Lam

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