Frequent patrons of Starbucks are no doubt familiar with the Starbucks app that allows the user’s smartphone to act as a virtual gift card that customers can use to pay for their drinks. Baristas will just scan the code on your smartphone’s screen in order to deduct the appropriate value. Now it looks like a similar form of technology will be making its way onto Boston’s commuter rail service.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has teamed up with Masabi (a company who has been involved with providing this technology to other countries around the world) to launch the new pilot program and is expecting full deployment by the fall. Similar to the Starbucks gift card app, commuters will be able to purchase fares on their smartphone devices and to show their proof of purchase, these virtual fares will be displayed with a color to indicate that it is valid for the day.
However for further inspection, a barcode can be called up and can be scanned by MBTA staff via their smartphones. This pilot program is expected to be available for a range of smartphone devices including the iPhone, Android and Blackberry handsets.
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