And conductors are as enthusiastic as passengers, because it will allow them to spend more time opening and closing doors, making announcements, and answering questions.
The MBTA spent years and invested more than $150 million to create and deploy the CharlieCard payment system for subway, trolley, and bus. Though officials promised to extend it to commuter rail, they abandoned it over the estimated $70 million cost of outfitting all stations with vending machines and giving conductors hand-held readers.
This app cost the T nothing up front — save for an in-house marketing campaign and staff time — while Masabi will retain 2.8 percent of sales, the same percentage that brick-and-mortar partners receive for selling tickets and passes, Robin said.
As with the introduction of next-train countdown signs at subway stations and the release of data for software developers to create real-time apps for customers, the T is rolling out mobile ticketing in phases, to manage expectations and quality control, Robin said.
For Willis, the South Station commuter who participated in the two-month pilot, the only downside was that it ended. “I’m going to miss it until it starts up again,” she said.
Eric Moskowitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.