NJ Transit deploys new fare collection technology on trains

NEWARK, NJ — NJ Transit is going high-tech with fare collection on trains. A pilot program is launching in which select 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,” NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett said in a press release. “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, which launched mid-May, a small number of train crews across multiple rail lines began utilizing the handheld mobile devices. Crew members use the devices to scan the barcodes on all paper and electronic tickets, including monthly passes. Once a ticket is scanned, a crew member will instantly be able to determine if the ticket is valid. One-way tickets would have their barcodes canceled electronically to ensure they are not used again. Without this handheld device, crews must visually inspect all electronic tickets and paper passes and use manual punches to cancel paper tickets.

By scanning all ticket types, NJ Transit will have improved capability to collect and analyze data, including fare collection and ridership trends. Electronic scanning is also intended 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. Electronic scanning also provides future capabilities, such as enabling offline electronic ticketing, which would no longer require customers to have internet access to activate electronic tickets.

The pilot program will collect feedback on the handheld mobile devices and make refinements before initiating a gradual systemwide rollout.

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