Commuter rail adds on-board payments

BY Grant Welker

Photo/Grant Welker
Photo/Grant Welker
Commuter rail passengers prepare for boarding a train to Boston at Worcester's Union Station.

For the first time this fall, all commuter rail trains will feature a capability for passengers to buy tickets on board with credit cards.
The new service, announced Aug. 28 by the MBTA's commuter rail operating partner, Keolis Commuter Services, will expand upon a program first started last spring and expanded to cover 60 percent of conductors who now accept on-board credit card payments.
Cash will continue to be accepted as well.
The system consists of an app on the conductor’s company-issued smartphone, which is now paired with a handheld Bluetooth-enabled printer, Keolis said. Using the mobile point-of-sale app on his or her smartphone, a conductor selects the station-to-station information to calculate the zone and fare, and then processes the transaction.
Passengers paying with a credit card on-board receive a printed ticket receipt providing trip details, including the date, station of origin and final destination. Passengers can continue to pay on-board with cash or the mTicket app. They can purchase a ticket through a ticket vending machine or at a ticket office.
More than 150,000 successful credit or debit card ticket sales have been transacted on-board already, Keolis said.