MBTA Commuter Rail m Ticket app

I had to go into Boston during the day yesterday and took my preferred means of transport, the MBTA commuter rail from the Gallagher Terminal to North Station. While I’ve made that journey many times, this was the first chance I had to use the new MBTA “m Ticket” cell phone app for purchasing my ticket. Available for the iPhone and Androids, you just download the free app to your phone and when you’re ready to buy your ticket, you register with some personal info like your name, address, phone and email then you enter info from a credit card and you “buy ticket”. Purchasing a ticket consists of selecting one way, round trip, or multiple ride; next you pick your departure station from a drop down menu and your arrival station from a similar menu. I picked round trip from Lowell to North Station. The app calculated the price ($18.50, I think) and had me confirm that’s what I wanted. Once I did, the “my tickets” section of the app was populated with two tickets. They sat there just as they would sit in your pocket. When I boarded the train and found my seat, I re-opened the app, selected one of the tickets, and touched the “activate” button. This caused the screen to turn into one screen-sized image that looked like a ticket except it had constantly changing colors and a numeric ID code that marched back and forth across the screen. When the conductor came by, I just showed her my phone screen (she looked closely, presumably to confirm it was an active ticket) and then moved along. The other passengers in my vicinity all seemed to have traditional paper tickets. The “ticket” stayed active on my phone for an hour and then the colors and movement disappeared and were replaced by a “this ticket is used” message. I repeated the process coming home with the same result. Overall I thought this app was excellent. It was easy to use and convenient. I do suspect that it used a significant amount of battery power since that drained down faster than usual during the day. I’ll wait until I use the app a few more times to draw any conclusions about battery usage. It is an important point, however, since part of the terms and conditions is that you have a working cell phone when the conductor gets to you. If your phone is dead, you do not have a legitimate ticket. But other than that one caveat, the app worked great and I urge commuters to try it out. Following is a quick MBTA video that shows the various screens I’ve described above:

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