Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority opens new Wickford Junction station, announces smartphone ticketing system

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BOSTON – The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority this week opened a new commuter station at Wickford Junction in North Kingston, R.I. The station extends the agency’s Providence/Stoughton Line south from Providence’s T.F. Green Airport on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. The new station is located on a short siding, which connects to the southbound mainline track at Stony interlocking. The siding allows Amtrak trains to pass while a commuter train is stopped at the station.

Ground was broken for the new station on Aug. 18, 2010. Primary construction work on the station platform ended in December 2011, and a test train ran to the station last month. The new station is part of a $336 million project that included commuter service to the new T.F. Green Airport station, which began on Dec. 6, 2010. The project received $59 million in federal funds, including $25 million from the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts Capital Program and more than $4 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It is served by 10 northbound and southbound trains on weekdays and is expected to serve as many as 1,500 riders a day. Commuters will have access to an on-site garage with bike racks and ten charging stations for electric and hybrid electric vehicles.

Commuting time from Wickford Junction to Providence is about 35 minutes, and 100 minutes to Boston.

The agency also announced it would be bringing mobile ticketing to rail passengers this fall. The authority is teaming with Masabi US Ltd. to develop applications for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry electronic devices to allow passengers to purchase tickets and passes. Once tickets are purchased, customers will be able to use and display them directly via their device’s screen. All mobile tickets will have barcodes for validation, and smart phone-equipped conductors will check tickets to ensure their validity.

The agency said it would be inviting customers to participate in designing the new applications via focus groups, and a small group pilot program in late summer. Full deployment to all the agency’s customers is expected this fall.

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