The Long Island Rail Road announced this week it is launching a pilot program using wireless, hand-held Ticket Issuing Machines (TIMS) that will allow customers to purchase tickets on board trains with all major credit cards and with a ‘debit-as-credit’ card.
Beginning Aug.16, LIRR conductors assigned to trains running between Ronkonkoma and Greenport will be carrying an Apple iPhone 4 equipped with a PaySaber cradle device that uses an application designed by the LIRR that enables train crews to make credit card sales and ‘debit-as-credit’ sales and print out tickets in one easy transaction, according to the LIRR.
The LIRR said customers who opt to buy tickets onboard will still be required to pay an extra fee of up to $6.50 per ticket if they board at a station which has a ticket machine and/or a ticket window that is open.
"This device uses the latest technology to offer a real convenience to customers," said LIRR President Helena E. Williams in a statement. "Credit card and debit-as-credit card transactions will allow customers to pay for their LIRR fares even when they don’t have enough cash on hand. It also will help the LIRR to speed up end-of-tour accounting of onboard transactions.
“We live in a time that is more and more a cashless society. Our younger customers in particular often don't carry cash. Smart phone technology is offering new improvements and efficiencies almost every day. It's time for the LIRR to explore how these applications can help provide better customer service."
During the pilot, the electronic, hand-held devices will replace the familiar "duplex" paper ticket and ticket punch system that conductors have been using for decades, the LIRR said.
As part of the pilot, customers will also be able to use credit cards to make bar cart purchases on the North Fork Wine Train departing Ronkonkoma for Greenport at 5:21 p.m. on Fridays.