Mobile payments make their way to LA

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Los Angeles’ Metrolink commuter railroad has stepped into the digital age as it launched the first version of its mobile ticketing app, which will allow its riders the option to purchase their ticket on a smartphone, tablet or other mobile device.

The app will be work on iPhones and can be downloaded from the Google Play store.

“The Metrolink Board of Directors is pleased to finally offer our riders this technology as an overdue option,” said Chair of the Metrolink Board of Directors Shawn Nelson.

The public can also use the app to buy tickets and connect to local bus operators at no extra charge. This will allow Metrolink to test the app and make any improvements before the app is implemented system-wide.

“Our riders can look forward to continuous improvement of Metrolink service, including mobile ticketing,” said Metrolink CEO Art Leahy,

In early April, the mobile ticketing service will be expanded to the whole of the Metrolink system and include free transfers to participating bus operators including Metro.

Metrolink also said that it plans to introduce a range of new services to allow more people to use mobile ticketing. This autumn, barcode readers will be installed on the Metro Rail fare gates, allowing passengers throughout the Metrolink system to purchase tickets through the Metrolink Mobile App and continue their commute on dozens of city bus, shuttle bus, light rail and subway lines at no additional cost. Metrolink is also working with Amtrak to allow mobile tickets to be scanned by Amtrak conductors.

 

Are mobile payments the future?

In the UK, mobile is used more and more frequently as a method of paying for transport. Since July 2015, more than 3.2 million journeys have been made using mobile devices on London’s transport network. Transport for London predicts this figure will increase even more throughout 2016 as more devices come onto the market and more people adopt them and other contactless technologies such as watches and wristbands with Near Field Communication (NFC) capabilities.

In the US, whilst the country, in all its vast glory, is still working out the kinks of EMV, it has adopted mobile payments without much hassle. More people now use mobile to do their weekly banking and 81 per cent of adults in the US will use mobile banking by 2020, according to research published in January.

The report also said that one in ten US adults started to use mobile banking for the first time last year.  That won’t sound like a significant amount of people until you consider what that one per cent represents 25 million people. So 25 million people started using mobile banking last year. That’s not something to turn one’s nose at.

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