VRE looking at mobile ticketing instead of paper

Local,Virginia,Transportation,Kytja Weir


Virginia Railway Express is looking into letting commuters use smartphones instead of paper tickets to ride their trains.

The commuter train service is seeking advice on how to start using mobile ticket applications, VRE Chief Executive Office Dale Zehner said Wednesday in an online chat with riders.

“We have six companies coming in next week to present their ideas that could work in our ticketing structure,” he said.

The train service that ferries riders from as far as Manassas and Fredericksburg into downtown D.C. has had problems with riders not validating their tickets before boarding, leading to a crackdown with scores of fines issued each month. The service says it is battling fraud, but some riders say they merely forget to validate tickets or don't have time as they are running to catch the trains. Smartphone tickets could make boarding easier and faster for riders.

Last month, Amtrak announced plans to allow riders to show tickets on iPhones to conductors instead of paper tickets. Long-distance bus companies have allowed electronic tickets for a few years. 

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