BOSTON, MA — Keolis Commuter Services (Keolis), the MBTA’s operating partner, and the MBTA recently announced that, beginning this fall, commuter rail passengers will be able to pay onboard with a credit or debit card. A first for the network, a new mobile point of sale (POS) system has been tested and refined and over the next two months will be expanded to include all conductors.
“This upgrade gives our customers an additional, convenient way to pay fares, and gives conductors another way to sell onboard tickets that is easier and simpler than using cash and counting change,” said MBTA General Manager Luis Manuel Ramírez. “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 technology consists of an app on the conductor’s existing company-issued smartphone, which is now paired with a handheld Bluetooth printer. Using the mobile POS app on his or her smartphone, the conductor selects the station-to-station information to calculate the zone and fare, and processes the transaction.
Passengers paying with a credit card onboard will receive a printed ticket receipt that provides trip details, including the date, station of origin and final destination. Passengers can continue to pay onboard with cash or the mTicket app. They can also purchase a ticket through a Ticket Vending Machine or at a ticket office.
“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, 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.”
Since it launched in February, the program has processed thousands of onboard credit card transactions, and passenger feedback on this new feature has been very positive. Most riders say it is a fast, easy and convenient option, and it allows them to keep money in their pocket for purchases that require cash. Today, approximately 46 conductors, or 10 percent of the total conductor workforce, are using these systems and accept credit card payments onboard trains.
(NOTE: The above press release is from Keolis.)
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