MTA testing out apps to let riders buy train tickets
Need to buy a train ticket? There may soon be an app for that.
A pilot program is starting next month on Metro-North trains to let riders use their cellphones to buy train tickets. Employees will download the app to iPhones, Android and BlackBerry devices so they can try it out.
The transit agency hopes riders will soon be able to use the app to buy tickets with a credit or debit card on commuter trains.
The Long Island Rail Road is currently having riders test a different service that has them tap their phone at their departure and ending locations.
The MTA hopes to have "tap-and-go" technology replace its current MetroCards by 2015. Straphangers could use anything with an RFID chip -- including a cellphone, credit card or a new MetroCard -- to tap, instead of swipe into subway stations, according to officials.
However, the ticket-buying apps could hurt the cash-strapped agency's bottom line, since they charge at least $5 for each fare bought on board.
But an MTA spokeswoman said the agency would deal with that later.
"We're more concerned with technology rather than policy," the spokeswoman said.