Friday, May 18, 2018

NJ Transit launches modern fare collection system

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NJ Transit launches modern fare collection system File photo

New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) announced May 17 the launch of a new, modernized fare collection system for its trains this week.



The agency is kicking off a pilot program through which some train crews will use handheld mobile devices to scan and validate tickets.

"As part of our effort to restore NJ Transit as a national leader, we are utilizing the latest technology to improve our processes and ultimately improve the customer experience," said NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett. "Not only will these handheld devices scan and validate tickets, they'll also have the capability of giving crews real time information to enhance customer communication."

As part of the pilot program launch, a small number of train crews on multiple rail lines will use the handheld mobile devices. Crews will use the devices to scan the barcodes on all paper and electronic tickets, NJ Transit said. After a ticket is scanned, a crew member will immediately be informed about whether a ticket is valid.

One-way tickets would have their barcodes cancelled electronically to ensure they are not re-used. Crews typically inspect electronic tickets visually, using manual punches to cancel paper tickets.

By scanning all ticket types, NJ Transit said it will be better able to gather and evaluate data regarding fare collection and ridership trends. Electronic scanning is also expected to combat the use of fraudulent tickets.

"The handheld devices will support future applications including providing real time communication with conductors to enhance the flow of information to customers," NJ Transit said. "Electronic scanning also provides future capability of enabling offline electronic ticketing, which would no longer require customers to have internet access to activate electronic tickets."

Officials said the pilot program is set to collect feedback on the handheld mobile devices and make any needed modifications before starting a phased, systemwide rollout.