While it's not the first US use of an iPhone app to substitute for a paper ticket on a rail line -- Amtrak has been doing this for several months -- the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) has just rolled out the new mTicket app (free) to allow the purchase and display of digital tickets on the South Shore line.
The MBTA notes that about half of its 140 commuter rail stations don't have ticket booths or machines, so riders have to resort to the time-consuming task of purchasing a ticket onboard. By putting a virtual ticket booth into the pockets and purses of riders, MBTA is providing a way to streamline the ticket purchasing and validation process on its trains.
The app rollout today comes after a limited trial on the South Shore line and at this time all rail trips out of the Boston North Station can be paid for using the app. Later this month, the MBTA is expected to expand use of the app for riders going south of Boston and for those riding commuter ferries. The mTicket app still won't replace the "Charlie Card" tickets on the Boston subway and bus system, although that's entirely a possibility for the future.
[via The Verge]